Creating Heroines

photo credits to Irushi Tennekoon

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. The lead resource person on the programme is illustrator, Nicola Streeten.

Phase 3 grant project: An unconventional guide to becoming a South Asian woman

The project is a magazine tackling topics on menstrual health, sexual taboos and public harassment with content ranging from comics, poetry and interviews targeted at preteens and young adults by artists, Aadhi Jayaseelan and Amashi de Mel, and currently ongoing. They attended a 5-day regional Creating Heroines virtual workshop in March 2021 and were among participants from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nepal.

Phase 2 grant project: Animate Her film series

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 conceptualised an animation project titled ‘Animate Her’ where she animated the recorded stories of four exceptional women living and working in Sri Lanka, three of the films were exhibited to an audience of 200+ in March 2020. She was given a further grant and is currently producing another two animated films.

The Animate Her series features the animated interviews of marine biologist Asha de Vos, author-illustrator late 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. 

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Phase 1 grant project: This is a box that I don’t fit into

In March 2018, Isuri Dayaratne, illustrator, participated in a 4-day regional Creating Heroines workshop and open studio in Kathmandu, Nepal. The open studio saw 70+ people come into the gallery to look at the works of the participating artists.  Isuri created a mini-zine with illustrations based on crowdsourced ideas and drawings gathered at the Creating Heroines illustration stall held at the Women Of the World Festival in Colombo (2017).

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