Sculptor seeks market for his products
By Eunice Ruth and Samantha Rathnayake
L.R. Siripala is just one of many, who earn a living from tourism, who are now suffering due to the prevailing situation in the country.
However, he now has come to the roadside in a bid to earn a living by putting his inborn talent to good use.
“We, who survive with our daily earnings which we earn through tourism, are suffering and the Government should consider our plight and provide us compensation so that we don’t end up hungry,” he said.
The 65-year-old sculptor from Belihul-Oya, who has been in this profession for 52 years, said that they are facing many difficulties and struggle in their daily life due to low incomes and sometimes with no income. He said previously they survived with the income which they earned by selling their sculptures and carvings to tourists and now, due to the decrease in tourism their business activities have been affected and it is extremely difficult for them to survive. He said it has been his profession for so long and he has nothing else to move on to. He said that he has started sculpting at the age of 13 and he has made so many different types of sculptures and carvings using granite, including Sandakadapahana (moon stone), Koravakgal (wing stone), Muragal (Guard stone) which are at Halpe Marangahawala Temple.
“A few days ago, I designed a Sri Lankan map using black stone carvings and I wanted to present it to the President and Prime Minister. However, I never got an opportunity to do so and I request the authorities to create an opportunity for me to present it.
Also, I don’t have a separate shop for my carvings and sculptures and I use small roadside spaces for my business activities which creates so many problems for those living around me,” said Siripala. He further requested the Government and relevant authorities to help him to continue his work at a decent venue and also he urged the Government to create an opportunity for him to meet the President and Prime Minister.
Speaking to an Official of the Ministry, in this regard, he explained that in the past they had conducted programmes to uplift entrepreneurs where the public can submit their creations to receive assistance.
In the past we have had public days for talented individuals to showcase their creations to the relevant authority who in turn help them to register their products as a business and they then provide them with the raw materials and other supplies needed for their business, he added.
However, as a result of COVID-19 and the restrictions that have come in the government has been unable to conduct any tangible programmes and it is expected to resume such programmes once the threat of COVID-19 goes away. Additionally he said before thinking of owning a brick-and-mortar shop to exhibit his products the sculptor should consider exhibiting his products at a central location where the public is free to view and if interested purchase his products. He also suggested the sculptor exhibits and sells his products at Diyatha Uyana, a place the Prime Minister occasionally visits to witness and support individuals who have talents.