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Little Fingers Art Studio: Empowering little hearts with art

Each year, Little Fingers Art Studio, Sri Lanka gives children an opportunity to send their artwork to international child art exhibitions. Their programmes work with three such kinds of exhibitions in France, Japan, and the US. Students from Little Fingers participated in the “Traces and Scriptures in History International Creative Art Competition 2019” in France, organised by the UNESCO Centre. Out of 2,419 participant artists from 65 countries, several students from Little Fingers Art Studio won individual awards for their creative artwork.

  • Lahen Ramitha Abeysekara – first place (gold medal) in the Special category. His award-winning drawing is featured on the cover.
  • Vimasha Samual Perera – second place (bronze medal) in the six to nine age category
  • Mathew Fernando – nominee in the three to five age category
  • Anthriy Chendil – nominee in the six to nine age category y Senith De Silva – nominee in the 10-13 age category

They have also submitted their drawing entrees for an upcoming 2019 exhibition in Japan on environmental protection, as well as for another in the US by NASA on “How Exploring Space Improves Life on Earth”, for which the results are yet to be announced.

Little Fingers Art Studio is a child art development programme founded in 2008. They are based in Negombo and Kotte. Since its inception, the art studio has managed to reach thousands of children in Sri Lanka. The main aim of their programme is to develop children’s creativity without influencing or changing their unique style of creativity and thought. Dilshani Ranaraja is the Founder and Director of Little Fingers Art Studio. She was the President of the Art Club at Bishops College, Colombo back in 2001. Later on, she completed her higher studies at the University of Bangalore. “If kids change their style to comply with the teacher’s thought, then there is no creativity development because that’s the development of a point of view and thinking of one teacher. The diversity and unique style of art are important because if not, we will get all artists with the same artistic style,” said Ranajara, explaining some of the areas of their philosophy at Little Fingers, which they believe has crafted their programme to deliver the best results for mind-balanced development.

“Each kid has their own way of expressing themselves, but most programmes try to teach the kid a different style. We at Little Fingers won’t influence the child to change their own unique way of drawing and colouring; to be honest, I learn from the child on how to draw and combine colours because children already are creative artists, but if the child’s creativity is not properly nurtured at an early age, it could be lost forever. Our programme is a platform towards that development. “The most common question I get from many parents is about the career paths available for an art student. My answer is simple: Creatively in children allows them to think differently when they grow up. Even as an engineer, academic research publisher, community organiser, public service officer, business owner, or artist, creative presentation of work is essential in a uniform world. Most of the inventors of the world had that creative edge developed in their minds to express their ideas on paper; from Leonardo da Vinci, Charles Darwin, and Isaac Newton to Steve Jobs and Walter Disney, they managed to express their ideas on paper in a creative way. That non-influenced development of thought is what we focus on at Little Fingers Art Studio,” she added.

Recently completed projects of Little Fingers

2010 – First international art exhibition “Innocence. Childhood Treasure” in Dalian, China. Little Fingers Art Studio together with Cafe 2Thousand9 in Dalian, China organised the first art show and workshop event. Around 400 paintings by kids from Sri Lanka were exhibited at the art show. The event also included a drama stage that played The Little Prince, creative clay studio, and games such as make my own puppet, felt elephant, group sculpture, and little self-portrait. It was held in Cafe 2Thousand9 on 24 September 2011.

2013 – The cultural exchange programme “Colours of Harmony” together with eight Indian child artists and eight Sri Lankan artists. As the second part of that project, Sri Lankan artists visited Delhi, India. This was aimed at bringing out the common heritage and culture of the nations so as to stand together as young citizens and budding artists of this bubbly region. The “Colours of Harmony” would be evidence of the fact that art flourishes in an atmosphere of harmony and friendship. This is one of the initiatives of empowerment for promoting cultural connectivity within both countries. Eight budding artists from India were sponsored to join eight other young artists from Sri Lanka to take part in this week-long art camp.

Explore the Colours of Nature – a kid’s art camp held at Jetwing Lagoon, Negombo. Around 50 kids participated in the event with their parents. Little Fingers also celebrated their fifth anniversary by cutting a cake. The event included activities like nature drawing, portrait drawing, fun activity with parents, and releasing Little Fingers group lanterns.