Yani and Pawan, two artistic siblings on the quest to save the environment 

By Devini Wettimuny 


Yani and Pawan Senanayake are two siblings who are passionate about saving and conserving the environment for the future generation. Being two gifted artists, together with their mother and father Lalith and Ruwanthie Senanayake, they convey their message of environmental conservation through art and sculptures. 

Tell me a little bit about yourselves, Yani and Pawan. 

Yani: I am Yani Varanasi Senanayake and I am 11 years old. 

Pawan: I am Sega Pawan Senanayake. I am 10 years old, and I am being homeschooled. 

When did you start getting interested in art and sculpting? 

Pawan: When I was a little kid, I had been interested in this type of art. I have been very interested in this type of architecture. I really love this type of art. 

What other art forms do you like and are following at the moment? 

Pawan: I have done sculpting using Legos because with these tiny Legos you can stick them together and build pieces like cars and other things. You can make anything using this type of block. 

Apart from art, what are the subjects you like to learn? 

Pawan: The subjects I like to learn are science, art, drawing sketches and stuff like that. 

Yani: Usually I do my studies based on art and everything I study is with art. So that is how I cover up my studies. 

What is your daily routine like? 

Pawan: I have a timetable. At 5 a.m. I wake up and it shows in my timetable. I then go jogging and be back by 5.30 a.m. Afterwards I get back to my work, reading, art, and I have a lot to do. When I’m done with those then I go and play and have fun with my art and that’s all. 

Are there any specific inspirations for the art you make? 

Pawan: I have been liking people who are artists, Coco Chanel, Leonardo da Vinci, Pablo Picasso, Charles Darwin, Thomas Alva Edison etc. I like everyone from the olden times. And my favourite person out of all of them is Thomas Alva Edison because he is the best artist. 

What do you generally use to make sculptures? 

Yani: My mother and my family made a plastic elephant in the Uswetakeiyawa beach from things that were thrown away and we also cleaned the beach. 

Pawan: For sculpting I use metal, plastics, Legos and clay. 

What is the most recent project you worked on? 

Yani: I made a plastic elephant and I made my own butterfly garden in Suriyawewa, Hambantota. It is located very far from where we are because it is in Down South. 

How do you balance studies with creating art? 

Pawan: There are a lot of subjects in my timetable, but if I just want to do art, I can go ahead and do it. Then I can go back to my studies. I have fun later in the day. 

How has staying home been for the past year or so? 

Pawan: I like staying at home because I can feel the nature and stay with my family and make things, make sculptures and do art. At home I am free to do anything that I like but when school starts I won’t have that freedom to do what I like. 

Yani and Pawan, what are your future aspirations? 

Pawan: Until I get to that part in my future, I really want to think about what jobs I want to do. I want to be a palaeontologist to see the fossils from a quadrillion or trillion years ago. I want to learn about saber tooth tigers, dinosaurs, and everything. And also, being an astronomer to go to NASA. Go to Mars and maybe I might stay there, like a 1000 years. I don’t know what I will do when I’m on Mars or the moon as an astronomer. 

Yani: I want to be a conservation artist because in our world there are a lot of ancient paintings and sculptures being wrecked down, so I want to be like Luciano Maranzi. I want to save ancient and temple art and sculptures in my country. And archaeological sites as well. I like to save those. So, I want to be a conservation artist. 

Is there anything you would like to change when you grow up? 

Pawan: What I would like to do is keep the climate change in control, keep the environment beautiful and stop the pollution caused by the MV X-Press Pearl ship. That is what I want. And never get any bad things in Sri Lanka. 

Yani: I want to change people’s education because I want them to be sensitive about nature and animals. 

Any message you would like to give to the kids who are watching this? 

Pawan: The message I want to give to the kids who are watching this is, come with me to stop the pollution caused by the MV X-Press Pearl ship and the other ships that might burn. That’s what I want. 

Yani: I want to give a message to the kids, stay with nature and do every study using art.