New ZealandView Artist
by Aaron Glasson
Colombo, Sri Lanka – August 2017
Sri Lanka is one of the most biodiverse and unspoiled places I've ever been. However, in the eight years post the Islands long civil war it has been quick to welcome development, tourism, and investment. The country is changing fast, and with that comes many challenges to maintaining its rich culture and incredible environment. Climate change is taking its tole also with rising sea levels, bleaching coral, and unseasonal weather.
The painting depicts three women based on the turn of last century photos I found. Each represents one of the country's major ethnic groups, Sinhalese, Tamil, and Muslim. The Cobra worshipped by the Naga, Yakka, and Veda people is an ode to the indigenous clans of the Island.
This mural is about the intrinsic connection between people and places, land and sea, cultures and environments. Nothing can exist in isolation and life is a constant domino effect unfolding. It's important to remember that terrestrial life affects the sea and vice versa. The planet is one big ecosystem that we all play a part in.
Yakshini are mythological beings, nature spirits that protect the treasures of the earth. Like all gods, deities, and legends I like to think they were created as expressions of the best and worst in ourselves and as Sri Lanka "develops" people will embody their best qualities for the good of the natural world.