In February 2019, a second edition of the Creating Heroines regional workshop was organized in Kathmandu, Nepal. This 5-day workshop involved artists from the UK, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Irushi Tennekoon a children's picture book illustrator and animator was the Sri Lankan artist selected for this project and with the grant provided to her, she is currently working on her animation project titled Animate Her where she is animating the recorded stories of six exceptional women living and working in Sri Lanka.
The Animate Her series features the animated interviews of marine biologist Asha de Vos, author-illustrator Sybil Wetthasinghe, Architect and archivist Amila de Mel, lawyer and activist Ramani Muttettuwegama, traditional dancer Thaji Dias, and founder and CEO of her own ICT firm Lakmini Wijesundera.
These women were chosen for the role they have played in being trailblazers in their respective fields and for inspiring younger generations by being the real-life heroines we need.
The first three films from this series will be screened at an exhibition on 14 and 15 March 2020 at the Harold Peiris Gallery, Colombo 7.
Creating Heroines is a collaborative international project initiated by the British Council which brings together female artists to spark debate, challenge stereotypes and share women's stories. It explores themes of female role models, encouraging crowd-sourced conversations and sharing women's stories in cartoons and illustrations.
Challenging the issues faced by Women and Girls – Arts for Social Change Projects
The ambition to reach gender equity and eliminate disadvantage is at the heart of our Women and Girls work recognising that the key issues for Sri Lanka are a very high rate of domestic violence, sexual harassment, social media exploitation, suicide rates, over-protection of girls, and under-employment despite good educational achievements. Whilst addressing some of these issues directly, in the longer term our interventions are aimed at attitudinal change, tackling gender norms and attitudes among women and girls, as well as men and boys, and thus enabling the former to participate fully in society.
Our current and future programmes focus on reducing violence, creating role models, and tackling social media harassment through community-based interventions, as well as raising awareness, increasing aspirations for career opportunities and stimulating attitude change through providing a voice, a choice and agency for female empowerment and change.