Owen’s dream to become a maritime lawyer

By Kusumanjalee Thilakarathna 

Owen Muthunarachchi is a Grade 8 student from Maris Stella College, Negombo who possesses great drawing skills. He prefers to draw inanimate objects using pastels. He dreams of becoming a maritime lawyer as he says he is greatly inspired by the stories that are shared with him by his father, a merchant navy captain. 

Owen, introduce yourself to us. 

My name is Owen Muthunarachchi. I am 13 years old and attend Maris Stella College in Negombo. I’m in Grade 8. I have one sister. Her name is Oneli. My father, Sampath Anthony, is a Merchant Navy Captain. My mother is Neeliya Fernando. 

I like to play carrom or ride my bike during my free time. I also spend time practising my drawing skills. I am interested in learning computer application designing. I try that out whenever I get a chance. I also design logos for these apps. 

My ambition is to become a maritime lawyer when I grow up. 

Do you have any pets? 

Yes. I have two dogs. I play with them every day in the evening as a habit. Ringo and Dashy are their names. Ringo is a Rottweiler and Dashy is a Ridgeback. They are really fun to play with. 

Why do you want to become a maritime lawyer? 

My father always talks very highly about it. A maritime lawyer deals with legal matters related to the sea. You may have heard maritime lawyers talking about the recent incident of the X-Press Pearl ship. I am very much interested in the sea, the surrounding environment, sea creatures and the occupations related to it. I think this interest is in me because of all the stories my father tells when he comes home. I am very much interested in studying the subject. 

You are a very talented artist. Since when have you been drawing? 

My sister is the reason why I do art. I used to watch her draw when I was a little boy. My school selected me to study art in the upper school too. I became first in a school art competition when I was in Grade 6. 

Currently, I am studying art under my teacher Sanduni Welgama. I was only able to physically participate in this art class for one month. We had to switch to online classes due to the pandemic. But we are successfully continuing the lesson online. I am happy about that. 

What’s your favourite medium to draw: watercolours or pastel? 

Pastel. It’s easy to mix and blend and I find it a very smooth medium to use. However, I am beginning to learn how to use watercolours now. I do not prefer coloured pencils to draw or colour. 

And also when it comes to drawing, I think I like to draw inanimate objects more than I like to draw humans or animals. I like to master my skills as I enjoy drawing very much. 

Whom do you play carrom with? 

Mainly with my sister. My mother and my uncle also join us when they are free. My father taught me how to play. It’s something we like to do. 

You are also a basketball player. 

Yes. I play basketball in school. I started practising in Grade 6. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, I was unable to continue my practices or participate in any competition. I am looking forward to restarting the practices. 

How did you learn to create computer applications and design? 

I learnt it from my uncle. He is a software engineer. The last application I built was a watch face application that helps to read time and available battery level. I have created a lot of small applications like that. I help my mother’s school community to design their tickets too. I think drawing skills help me a lot to do clear designs and choose colours. I use Photoshop to do this and I learnt it myself. 

What is the programming language that you use to create apps? 


What’s your plan in continuing designing and software building? 

I am interested in learning more about the subjects. I am already following an IT course in a private institute and it provides a lot of guidelines on what needs to be done. 

Who are your supporters? 

My father, my mother and my sister mainly. Also, my teachers. 

Being a Merchant Navy Caption your father must be quite busy and you may not get to see him every day. Do you miss him? 

Yes. My father comes home every four months. When he comes we spend a lot of time with him as he is also mostly free. We go on trips and plan fun things. We couldn’t do this lately because of the pandemic and it’s important to stay safe.