“I don’t have a solid idea of who I am yet because I’m on a journey of discovering myself. Others may see me from different perspectives; in love, they may see perceive me as a different person, and friends view me in another way but for me, I still seek to discover the self in different paths; whether it be poetry, cinema or art, it’s a journey to find myself.” Pawan Anjana shared with Teen Inc, when asked to introduce himself.

Pawan, 21 years old, having passed G.C.E A/L in the Arts stream with the district rank of 12, is now studying at the University of Peradeniya. He identifies himself mostly as a poet while he continues to try various other forms of art such as painting, graphic designing, font designing, and cinema, as his form of expression.  “However I haven’t been engaged in drawing for a long time now as I am busy with studies and everything. Currently, I am practicing graphic designing or book cover designing and font designing on a professional level from which I have an income, but I hope to pursue cinema further in the University.” Pawan added.

Taking the path of his father

“I don’t remember when I got into the field of arts and literature, but I remember being engaged from an early age as my father was a professional artist. He used to design handmade banners and posters for commercial purposes. So I got to see him design beautiful fonts and stuff and develop artworks step by step.  Also, my father found the art of creating pieces of art with dried banana leaves. So, I tried those arts on my own” says Pawan, mentioning his source of inspiration to become a person of arts and literature. Starting from drawing with his father, he had discovered many paths in the wide vista of arts and is now practicing them with various approaches.

Becoming a writer, filmmaker and a poet

Talking about his journey as a poet, Pawan shared an interesting story with Teen Inc. “I was been a nasty type of a kid during early grades. I used to quarrel with other kids and start fights and what not” he traced back to his school days. “But once I started reading and engaging in literature, my character changed entirely. I remember an incident that had a great impact on me; there was a teacher who wasn’t on very good terms with me when I was in grade nine. However, once she got to read a poem written by me and she highly appreciated it. I was like, great! Poetry has power! Indeed, it inspired me to dwell more and more in poetry. It was a life-changing moment for me.” He further stated.

“I took my first step as a writer by writing the teen novel, Gimhana Niwaduwa (The Summer Vacation) when I was in grade nine. Then I published it from Godage Publishers when I was in grade 10” he reminisced. “It is after O/L s that I took it to the cinema by producing a film adaptation of my novel named Sudanamwa Sitimu (Be Unprepared) amidst various challenges and obstacles. It should be the second time in Sri Lanka that a schooling child produced a full-length film as per my knowledge. Nevertheless, I couldn’t get it to the theatres yet due very unfortunately due to many reasons. The support I received from the authorities was next to nothing except for my school community who always encouraged me to do more.” Pawan shared his experience.

“When I came to A/L classes, I started to write a column titled Pawanella for Resa newspaper under the guidance of journalist Thmbiriyagama Bandara. So, time flew by with all these things and I had written many poems by then. So once I got to know about the North-Central Province Arts Festival 2019, I thought of submitting a poetry anthology and did so. I had no expectations of winning since it was submitted under the adult category and many well-experienced poets had submitted their works. Anyhow, rather surprisingly I won first place for my poetry anthology called Sulanga Thuru Agissaka. It was then published with a cover designed by myself.” He looked back at his achievements as an emerging poet. In fact, this poetry collection drew much attention to Pawan Anjana as a poet with great potential.

Graphic and font designing

Pawan shared the story of becoming a graphic artist too. “As I mentioned before, I used to watch and help my father in his artistic works as a child and then practiced and excelled in art on my own. It is from that experience I got the first idea of designing a font implanted in my mind. About book cover designing, I started it after O/L s and that’s how I designed the cover for my poetry collection also, but I didn’t have time and space to excel in its art. Then, during the time of COIVD, when I had plenty of leisure time I took back to font designing and book-cover designing through self-studies. So, now I am designing book covers as a business and earning an income.”

Wind for the ship to sail through rough seas

Everyone needs backup and support from behind to go to such extents in the fields of arts and literature at a very young age like Pawan. So we asked him about the support he receives from near and dear ones.

“I have always received enormous support and backing from my family through both good and bad times. Especially my father, being an artist, has been a great strength for me, aiding me in every possible way. He even economically supported me in making my debut film. The support and guidance I received from my school, Central College, Anuradhapura, is just the same. I was always encouraged to do more at school. I might have given up in the face of difficulties if it wasn’t for my parents and the school. So, I must make this a point to acknowledge my heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped me in this journey so far.” He shared with us.

A piece of advice

“The advice I wish to give anyone who wants to take the path of literature or art is to study. Study whatever form of art or literature you hope to pursue because you can’t produce a full and creative piece of art without proper knowledge and understanding. But at the same time, it is the biggest challenge I faced too, as not many resources are available to study font and book-cover designing. So I had to learn them through self-studies and I assure you that self-studying is just more than academic learning. The next thing is to be true to yourself and your creation, since all forms of art at one point, are media of self-expression; first, make sure that you yourself enjoy whatever the creation you produce. Then you will be creating amazing works of arts and literature!” Pawan shared with the readers of Teen Inc.

By Induwara Athapattu