An artist with a gift she loves to share

By Ayesha Inoon

With her exceptional gift for painting and desire to share this gift with children, Nadine David is not only a talented artist but also a dedicated teacher of Art. Currently the Department Head of Art and Design at Asian International School and also an invigilator for the London O/L Edexcel examinations, Mrs. David believes that with love and encouragement, Sri Lankan children can excel in the field of art.

Having begun her career as an artist under the guidance of David Paynter at the Government College of Fine Arts, she was determined that the knowledge and techniques that he taught her should be passed on. As she began teaching the subject of Art and Design for the London O/L Edexcel examinations in 1993, she came up against a surprising bias that local students could not succeed in this subject, and that few, if any, gained admission to international universities for Art and Design.

"It's a tough exam, with very high standards," she admits, "but with the right guidance and training, our children can do exceptionally well - and this has been proved."

Children who have excelled under her teaching include Anuska Anton, of Asian International School who won an Edexcel Award in 2001, went on to graduate from Suny Plattsburg College in USA, and is currently working in the field of Art and Design in New York. Rasika Dodanwala, also of Asian International School won an Edexcel Award in 2003 and ranked among the top 10 in the world, going on to enter Warwick University in the U.K. Luke Tidball, of Elizabeth Moir won the Edexcel Award in 2006, getting the highest marks in Sri Lanka and ranking third worldwide. Another student, Erandathie Kiridena of Asian International School got the highest marks in Sri Lanka in 2007 and ranked fifth in the world - in fact, Edexcel asked to keep her work as an example of excellence.

"What's important is not just that these young ones have passed an exam," she says, but that they have shown much talent and proved that given the right training, Sri Lankan children are among the best in the world - moreover they can have successful careers in Art and Design."

Mrs. David herself is currently planning an exhibition of her paintings, on the theme of 'gems'. In these paintings, beautiful girls are merged with gemstones, such as one appearing to be inside a diamond, and another blending with the exquisite shades of an opal. This too was an idea that came from studying crystals as a subject for the Edexcel examination, where students had to explore the facets of the gem through a microscope. "Teaching," she says, "is part of my painting. I just love children, and am happy to see them grow in confidence."

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