Art in Paradise

After visiting Sri Lanka, it changed me as a person and as an artist. The majority of Sri Lankan's are happy people. The land is plentiful, providing many delicious exotic fruits. Then there is the crazy traffic with the constant sound of horns honking, tuk tuk (open-air taxi) drivers whizzing by, weaving in and out of traffic. All these things are what make me smile when I reminisce about this paradise with its abundance of coconut trees. Colorful wildlife, gorgeous flowers, fresh tropical fruit, beautiful beaches and the most amazing sunsets, all attributed to a floodgate of creativity for me, as a visual artist, upon returning to daily life in Japan.

These flowers are called araliya in Singhalese. Plumeria plants grow in tropical regions and have a beautiful floral scent.

These flowers are called araliya in Singhalese. Plumeria plants grow in tropical regions and have a beautiful floral scent.

I feel that I can never repay the kindness that the local people showered me with when I visited Sri Lanka. I experienced things that I never would have, had it not been for locals helping me without expecting anything in return. When I heard that many people lost their homes and belongings during the floods and landslides in May, 2017, I sent a package of hand-painted t-shirts that I had designed to help cheer people up. Unfortunately, due to a postal strike, my t-shirts never made it in time to be hand delivered to the victims of the flood. Instead, the t-shirts were distributed amongst surf instructors in both Arugam Bay and Hikkaduwa, two very well-known surf spots in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka is the place where I surfed with sea turtles and fell in love with surfing and the wave energy. Even though the flood victims did not receive the t-shirts, Im happy that surf instructors are wearing them. I hope it makes them smile and that they can feel the creative energy flow through them when they walk down the beach with the sun shining and coconut trees swaying in the wind. As long as we continue to help one another, even if things don't go as planned, we are creating a movement to a more positive, peaceful world. We can't give up. Im happy when I create art because it helps me recycle something that might have been thrown away and make it new again. We must continue to be the change we wish to see in the world.