Himali Delpala’s portrait of Tissa Hamy was displayed first at the 2008 State Art & Sculpture Festival. As of last month, it hangs in Temple Trees, as part of the President’s collection. A large piece, measuring approximately 44'' by 30", the portrait is an oil on canvas. It won a merit award at the festival which was organized by the Department of Cultural Affairs and conducted in collaboration with the Art & Sculpture Panel of the Arts Council of Sri Lanka.
Though she always harboured a love for painting, Himali says she took a long break to study and practise as a fashion designer in Australia and Singapore; she has had barely any formal training in art. However, her talent as a child was undeniable and she won several prizes during her school years. “In 2007 I quit my job wanting to pursue my career as an artist, hence I had my maiden art exhibition in ’08,” she says, adding that she considers herself a “naturalist.”
Today, she continues to dabble in portraiture and is also researching the Kotte period to create a set of paintings based on the epic poem ‘Salalihini Sandeshaya’. The set, which she hopes to complete by next year, is meant to recreate the island described by its author, the Ven Thotagamuwe Sri Rahula Thera.
“It's rich in every aspect of art - from its theme to its story and depiction style,” says Himali, adding that she considers it “a very intellectually rich piece.” Explaining that the poem was set in Kotte between 1412- 1467, she says that it depicts a golden age under King Parakramabahu 6th. “It is about a glorious past that any Sri Lankan would be proud of and would like to live in again.”