Happy pastime now a livelihood | Sunday Observer

Happy pastime now a livelihood

Creative caricatures are Raveesha Srihari Wickramasinghe’s ’s forte but she is also a talented painter and calligraphy artist. What was a happy pastime as a toddler and child has now become a passion and livelihood.

Now, at 28 years of age Raveesha has her own brand Sri Arts , the word Sri being the first part of her second name Srihari. This was done on the advice of an aunt, Geetha Wanigasekara, knowledgeable about numerology and such matters, who declared that Sri is a lucky name. Under the brand name, Raveesha has another tag for her cards Say it with cards with the Sinhala translation as PathakinKiyanna- these names were coined by her late maternal grandfather with whom she had a very close relationship and who excelled at this kind of linguistic coinage.

Raveesha creates cards and wood framed caricature pictures that are beautiful and individualistic. What makes her creations unique are her caricatures which are realistic (but do make a person a laughing stock) and humorous. The subtle use of pastels interspersed with vibrant hues, delicate floral artistry; clear lines all go to make eye catching works of art. The pictures are drawn on art board (250gsm) very suitable for water colours, the chief medium with which Raveesha works. The wood for the frames are treated for long shelf life but retain their natural look and compliments Raveesha’s works of art to a T.

The themes of the cards are repeated on wedding cake boxes if requested by clients. Wedding cards and boxes are customised for each order. For bulk orders Raveesha creates the original painting and then gets it printed.

Raveesha’s annual calendar is a delight to behold. The 2019 one has a squarish cover of dark green foliage with the year printed in a muted gold. This tasteful cover is the precursor to the cute little paintings of animals which adorn the inner pages. An adorable one of a giraffe caught my eye and touched my heart.

Tote bags made with high quality amuredi with striking paintings sell like hot cakes, especially at pop up stalls. The same goes for her pencil cases made out of the same material and embellished with cartoons or drawings. Other attractive items are metal badges, some of which depict Girl power and bookmarks. She is currently working on several new products.

Raveesha sources her materials locally as well as from overseas. The foreign materials are most often obtained on line or brought down by friends or family members at her request.

Her marketing is done mainly online and at popup stalls. In another two years or so she hopes to have her own space to market her products.

Being a calligraphy specialist Raveesha is into conducting calligraphy workshops.

It was mum, NishaWijewickrama, (now a Muncipal Councillor for Moratuwa) who recognised the awakening artistic talent in her toddler daughter and encouraged her to draw and paint. Nisha’s firm belief in her little daughter’s talent made her give the best of materials for the budding artist to experiment with. Soon, little Raveesha was making cards for special events for family and friends. Father Mahesh Wickramasinghe is a banker working for the Hatton National Bank and there was the bank’s annual calendar being brought home. This was a boon for Raveesha as the calendar indicated all special events and she could design and make cards for each and every occasion.

Raveesha who hails from Laxapathiya, Moratuwa was enrolled at the Princess of Wales College, a leading girls’ school in the area and studied there till Grade 11. However, she did not showcase her artistic talents in college but remained as an artist in demand among family and friends.

After sitting for her O/Levels Raveesha joined a leading school in Colombo, Visakha Vidyalaya. Here, her artistic talents came to light and she was much in demand among students and staff, for her creative art work.

Visakha Vidyalaya was also the launching pad for Raveesha’s hobby being turned into a commercial enterprise. She had to do two projects and submit them before the A/Levels. While she and her friends were tossing ideas back and forth for the individual project, her good friend Sarani Gunathilaka suggested that she, Raveesha does a project on cards as she was already into making them. Raveesha jumped at it and during the long weekend that followed made around 25 cards as her project. It was for these cards that her maternal grandfather picked out the brand name Say it with cards (Sinhala- Pathakin Kiyanna). From then on Raveesha did not look back.

Raveesha’s first caricature was of her best friend Naomi Karunaratne and when she uploaded it requests came flooding in for her to do similar ones for others. Raveesha says Naomi is her daily dose of inspiration and one of her greatest strengths. Anuradha Senanayake, another best friend who was also Rotaract Director for Sri Lanka and Maldives has also being of tremendous help to her. Another closefriend whose generous support she values very much is musician Sasith Gamage (I clown and Mad Scientist).

In her daily doodles Raveesha minimises herself and these doodles form the basis for her works later on.

Having completed her secondary education in Sri Lanka Raveesha took wing to A.E.C College in Singapore having received a partial scholarship to study Hospitality management pecialising in Food and Beverages. This was in 2011. She considers this period as one of the best times in her life. Her batch mates included Sri Lankans, Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese, Malaysians, Indians and Mongolians among other ethnic groups. She shared an apartment with the other Sri Lankans in Queenstown.

She had to do two internships as part of her course and the first one she did at J.Co Doughnuts&Cofee for six months as a frontliner and earned for herself the title of the FrontLiner of the Month. Her second internship as a trainee was at the Singapore Marriot. Here she earned herself the title of the Most mentioned Employee for months of June, July , August and September 2013.One guest writing to trip advisor as Hongkongful said “Special thanks to Raveesha at the Pool Terrace/Restaurant “and called her a stand out employee.”

On her return to Sri Lanka Raveesha worked as Assistant Sales Manageat the Lavinia Breeze in Mount Lavinia and then at the Cinnamon Grand, Kollupitiya. Here she joined as a management trainee and rose to being Assistant Manager Tea Lounge and Coffee Shop.

From here Raveesha moved to the UAE in 2018 and worked at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, Abu Dhabi Grand Canal temporarily putting her creative work on the back burner. Home drew her after a while and she returned in 2016 and took up her creative enterprise in earnest making waves in the Sri Lankan creative industry as well as overseas. Her clientele includes customers from UAE, Singapore and India.

Raveesha lives with her parents, elder brother Shehan Wickramasinghe, sister-in-law Shashikala Jayawardene, younger sister Dimithri Wickramasinghe and grandmother Sirimal Feranando support her in all her ventures.

The world of creativity will be hearing more of this highly talented young lady who is very empathetic to her clients and Youth Observer wishes her the best of everything!