Dillai Joseph Rodrigo
Dillai Joseph Rodrigo

Innermost desires, awakened feelings, beastly hungers and dormant daydreams are what Dillai Joseph Rodrigo’s painting exhibition is all about. In her exhibition she depicts the woman’s soul in her barest form. Here she looks at the deep nature of the woman within, beyond a body of just flesh and skin.

Daily News speaks to Rodrigo who is donating all the proceeds of her exhibition to LEADS a child focused national NGO and charity that has been serving vulnerable communities in need in Sri Lanka for over 35 years.

LEADS is a child focused national NGO and charity that has been serving vulnerable communities in need in Sri Lanka for over 35 years. LEADS child protection division ‘ESCAPE’ (Eradicating Sexual Child Abuse, Prostitution and Exploitation) was set up in 1995, to combat the increasing cases of child sexual abuse in the country.

ESCAPE also operates the only government approved residential care and therapy centers for child survivors of sexual abuse in Sri Lanka’s Northern and Western provinces. ESCAPE’s work offers a range of services including therapy, counselling, family follow-up, legal aid, awareness and training as well as policy advocacy working with like-minded agencies to combat all forms of child abuse and make Sri Lanka a safer place for her children.

Rodrigo being a mother of two knows what it is to worry about her children as all mothers do. We all know how terrible and horrifying child abuse is, and the devastating impact it can have on the life of an innocent child. She wants to do her best, to make society a safe place for children to grow up in.

“To begin with I have two small kids. I always think about my children’s safety. As a mother you always worry for your children. When children are abused, it has a lasting effect. As an adult your relationships and how you behave is governed by your childhood. This is why I feel for this cause.

There has been a sharp rise in Child abuse cases in the recent past. In Sri Lanka people push things under the carpet, they don’t address it and there is no place for it to be addressed in the correct manner. There are very few places that provide such a service. Funding is badly needed to run Counselling centers, Residential therapeutic programs with qualified psychologists, house parents, family follow up officers to coordinate medical and legal needs of the child,” said Rodrigo.

Rodrigo is undoubtedly talented and she wants to use that talent and gift of painting to make a difference in society. She wants to use that talent to do her part in making society a place where children can grow up as children should grow up. Where children can realize their potential and enjoy life the way they should enjoy life.

“Upcoming exhibition Soulscapes, explores more than just the human form in its theme – It is an artistic exploration of the human soul where I particularly depict the woman’s soul in her barest form. The innermost desires, awakened feelings, beastly hungers and dormant daydreams find their place on canvas in my portrayal of the ‘I’ within every woman. My work speaks of an aim to provoke a sense of exploration of oneself; I look at the deep nature of the woman within, beyond a body of just flesh and skin. My paintings in general try to portray as much nature and connect it to humans as much possible. Interestingly, I use a lot of trees, as source of security and companionship. My first solo exhibition was titled People, Puddles and Paradise,” explained Rodrigo.

Peoples’ lives and nature inspires her to paint. She points out that their inner feelings and how they connect to the rest of the world gives her enough subject matter. In her words - Everything that surrounds me. There is no one person or thing.

“When it comes to painting, I feel it’s my way of expressing my feelings and thoughts, and I use this as a medium. I would say it comes from within. I want to share my work. This time’s theme concentrates on celebrating the woman and her deep nature. I admire the painting styles of Caravaggio and Picasso’s early days,” points out Rodrigo.

Thanks from Rodrigo goes out to her teacher Nadine David for having faith in her work and guidance with technique, and her parents for being open minded. She also would like to thank her husband and kids for being her greatest fans and critics.

“I want to continue to paint. Better myself with technique and continue learning different skills. I want to explore different subject matter that drives human behavior. I also want to be part of projects such as this, to see how I can use my skill to better people’s lives. To me, I will want to use my creativity in whatever form to make something original and close to the heart,” added Rodrigo.

Rodrigo comes from a family that gave her the freedom to explore. She was never inhibited by anything and her talent was given free reign. It was an environment that was very conducive to the development of her gift of painting.

“I come from a family that nurtures creativity. From my younger days I have been painting and experimenting with colors and techniques. My grandfather spent quite a bit of time with me on object drawing. I learnt how to observe things and draw from it even as a kid. I consider painting to be my calling in life and I consider it to be like another child of mine. I am in advertising. That’s my job. But I am very much into music and singing,” added Rodrigo.

The exhibition will feature up to 30 exhibits drawn on Acrylic on Canvas, Dry Pastel on paper. October 5 is the exclusive preview and October 6 and 7 will be for the public at the Lionel Wendt.

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