Hiruni Hansini Mathangadeera/ interview by black dog bone

Hiruni Hansini Mathangadeera ( හිරුනි හංසිනී මතඟදීර ) / sri lanka / interview by black dog bone

you do a lot of self portraits and you said you paint yourself to bare the pain you feel. and you use a lot of blue in your paintings to represent death and loss. I like to be free and do my art. that's all I want, like a bird I want to be free. I want to listen to my pain. I still use the color blue when I paint, I haven't stopped painting in blue. speaking about my paintings, I fell in love when I was 16 years old with a boy who was also a relation and was serving in Sri Lankan army. I adored him and loved him to the core, also I trusted him. I was feeling the purest of love towards him. but he cheated on me and moved on with another girl. that broke my heart. it was too much to bare, and the only way I distracted my pain was by painting. to be honest I was loving him and it was destroying me bit and pieces. for eight years I was in love with him, when I look back, I still can’t face the fact that he is not there anymore. that's what made me paint myself, do self portraits. I painted myself to bare the pain. through that I wanted to find the truth behind this bitter pain.


I feel that the color of blue can demonstrate the pain in a soul. I think you have heard that blue color has been used to demonstrates death or a dead souls. I used that color to paint my dead soul, I think my soul is dead. thats why I keep using the color of blue to demonstrate that.

I feel that the color of blue can demonstrate the pain in a soul. I think you have heard that blue color has been used to demonstrate death or a dead souls. I used that color to paint my dead soul, I think my soul is dead. that's why I keep using the color of blue to demonstrate that. I don’t have a rule that I only paint self portraits, I paint what I feel like. I paint my feelings. I love to live with colors, I like to give a voice to these colors, when I paint I always listen to music. I see it as as a voice to different colors. I don’t know whether I am artist or not, I just paint what I feel and I enjoy it.

when did you start painting yourself. before those paintings were you painting different things? I started to draw from the time I was little. I don't like to do the same thing over and over. I want to draw my feelings, what is going on day to day, what I experience every day.

I don’t have a rule that I only paint self portraits, I paint what I feel like. I paint my feelings. I love to live with colors, I like to give a voice to these colors, when I paint I always listen to music. I see it as as a voice to different colors. I don’t know whether I am artist or not, I just paint what I feel and I enjoy it.


you use a lot of black lines, in the drawings you sent me recently. they seem more strange, more twisted, more dark, very mysterious. is that what you're doing now? do you know a raw mind creates raw thoughts, mysterious thoughts? I like black because my life is dark. I feel it a lot. black has a sound. Nggggggggggggggg, like that. it comes from the heart. it's a dark time in my life, so that's why feel I feel it. I don't have a specific way to express my feelings, I use whatever way to show the pain that I feel, to express what I feel inside. what’s crowding my mind. I do whatever I want, Im free.

there was fruit trees near the river, I liked the smell of the fruits more than the taste of it. I still remember the smell of it. those days we were not allowed to eat those fruits. however as we already know that I was a stubborn kid I used to eat them when others are not there. once I almost drowned and I will never forget that experience.


can you tell us something about your school life? speaking about my school life, I have studied in three different schools. first I studied at the Sri Knanissara Budhist school, Willoruwatta, Moratuwa. during this time period of my life I lived with my grandmother and I was away from my mother and father. I think during that period of time, I was somewhat lonely because my parents were not there and I went through few bad experiences during this time period. I want to mention that my grandmother looked after me well and she loved me to the core. but at the same time there were people who used me to get their work done and I went along with it because I didn't understand and me being a kid back then. I studied at this school until grade four.

do you know a raw mind creates raw thoughts, dark thoughts? I like black. because my life is dark. I feel it a lot. black has a sound. Nggggggggggggggg, like that. its comes from the heart. its a dark time in my life, so thats why feel I feel it.



I think i was a stubborn kid back then. I was good at singing and dancing during this time and my teachers at my school encouraged me all the time. I remember I learned to ride a bicycle during these days. there was a river down the lane and I always loved to go there and spend time. I was always scared at my uncle, but when my mother and father came to visit me I used to go to the river with my father. my father liked to watch the river. we used go down the river in a boat. I remember I used to act like I'm on a boat to make my father happy. even when my father was not there I used to go with my brother to the river to fish. I ended up not only fishing but also plucking flowers.


I don't have a specific way to express my feelings, I use what ever way to show the pain that I feel, to express what I feel inside. what’s crowding my mind. I do what ever I want, Im free.



I still remember how we used to run back to the house when we heard the sound of my uncle’s bike. there were times I never ran when he came to hit me with a stick and I used to be that stubborn. so he could just hit me once and walk away. I liked flying kites too, during the season to fly kites, we used to make big kites and fly them near the river. there were fruit trees near the river, I liked the smell of the fruits more than the taste of it. I still remember the smell of it. those days we were not allowed to eat those fruits. however as we already know that I was a stubborn kid I used to eat them when others are not there. once I almost drowned and I will never forget that experience. I used to play cricket and some other sports until I get tired or ended up with bruises. after sometime I moved in to Kaluthara with my parents and sister, which is away from the urban city. I believe it was the corner stone in my career as a painter. the surrounding environment was absolutely beautiful, even though life there was much harder, there was no proper transportation. we had go back and fourth to school and home by foot. There was a paddy field next to my house where I used to spend much of my free time with my sister. during the flooding I used to go there with a small boat with my father and I loved it. moreover I used to sing with my sister.


my second school was a small rural school which is knows as Sri Wimalasara School, Palathota. during my time there I used to do a lot of extra curricular activities. I used to participate in running events, high jump and I have won the first place in these events. but my favorite sport was volleyball. at this school there wasn't music or dancing. either you like it or not. we had to do go ahead with arts. as I mentioned earlier I was talented in dancing even though I had a soft spot for singing as well. I have won many events at school stage. my father being a artist himself, he encouraged me to become one, but my principle as well as my teachers encouraged me throughout my school days. even then they identified my talent. however I should like to mention my art teacher, Prithirathna sir, who was my mentor and who helped me to build my painting talents step by step. but then I had to say goodbye to that school and moved in to Sripali School, which was also attached to Sir Ravindranath Tagore. I could say it was one of the major turning point of my life where I was given countless opportunities to participate in national school level events. and also during this time of my life I used to distance myself from other activities and focus myself on arts which ultimately paid off with me being selected to the university of performance and visual arts Sri Lanka. I don’t think I was lucky enough to enjoy pure love. I was a stubborn kid when I was small.

I remember I learned to ride a bicycle during these days. there was a river down the lane and I always loved to go there and spend time. I was always scared at my uncle but when my mother and father came to visit me I used to go to the river with my father. my father liked to watch the river. we used go down the rive in boat. I remember I used to act like Im on a boat to make my father happy. even when my father is not there I used to go with my brother to the river to fish. I ended up not only fishing but also plucking flowers.


do you believe that all forms of art can help us to be better? I think there are no good people or bad people in this world. every person will have good qualities as well as bad qualities. i think life is based on suffering and joy. i think art can make a person good and bad both. it depends on how that certain individual look at it. at the same time I would say that it doesn’t mean anything just because a painter just apply colors in to a painting, but what matters the most is having a meaning with every brush stroke and that makes a painting a valuable piece of art. who was the teacher who first taught you art? after my father my first teacher is Preethirathna Sir. what is the most important moment in your career as an artist? I am looking forward to paint all my life. what I liked the most was one time when I put one of my portrait on Facebook and another strange artist, Sujith Rathanayake, liked it and put a comment on it after understanding my painting and the meaning behind that.











what kind of medium do you prefer to use in your art? right now I like to use acrylic but I am looking to add more mediums in the future. what can you say about the artist that are happening now? I think every artist should have his/her own style, a unique one. and I think every artist has something to learn from other artists. and shouldn't be scared of painting what you feel like. what are some sri lankan artist that you like? I mean the artist that are happening now. Dumith Kulasekara, Kingsley Gunathilaka, Prageeth Rathnayaka, Jagath Rawindra, H.A.Karunarathna. you said you like to read stories where the hero is a girl, what are these books can you name some? Kantharaye kusuma, Ranjith Kuruppu., Guru Geethaya/ ගුරු ගීතය by Chingiz Aitmatov/Translator - Dadigama V. Rodrigo









about your name kumbi/ant: you said that one of your teachers at school gave you that name from a cartoon on TV called kalu kubichi/ black ant. do you feel like that, that your character is similar to kubichi? I like to be called kumbi, mostly my friends call me that, but that name is only know to a very few. only the friends from my higher grades.


I still remember how we used to run back to the house when we heard the sound of my uncle’s bike. there were times I never ran when he came to hit me with a stick and I used to be that stubborn. so he could just hit me once and walk away. I liked flying kites too, during the season to fly kites, we used to make big kites and fly them near the river.


you said you like Willem de Kooning, Frida Kahlo, Edvard Munch, Vincent Van Gogh what do you like about them? as far a Willem de Kooning paintings, I like the way he uses colors. the way the colors clash in his paintings. I got to know about him in school. it's important to have intensity when you're painting, also to feel slow. Vincent Van Gogh's paintings are simple and tranquil, it's like a river flowing. it's wonderful the way he used primary colors. it amplifies his feelings. and Edvard Munch I can feel his darkness. he painted people like they were dissolving. I feel him. there is a lot of mystery in his painting. I like how Frida Kahlo incorporated her life story in to her paintings. she knew how to show her pain, her longings, her feeling in her paintings. I like painters who show their true feelings. I can feel them.









Hiruni Hansini Mathangadeera

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