Hi! My name is Minal Wickrematunge. I am an interior designer / visual artist based in Colombo Sri Lanka!

How did you get started?

My journey into the creative world was a long and winding one! I initially completed a degree in Business Management in Singapore and joined a corporate upon returning back home. After three years of working I realised I wanted to pursue a career in design because I realised I couldn’t stop doodling. I’d literally be doodling under the table at work, and then I realised maybe I should be doing something with this. I then enrolled in design college and just completed my degree in Interior Design at Academy of Design a year ago.

Who and what inspires you right now?

Its hard for me to pin point one person that inspires me. Instead I think its honest, often deep, conversations that inspire me to conceptualise something. But right now I’m inspired by strong female forces and energy. I’m inspired by anyone who embraces that femme energy within, irrespective of gender.

What was a challenging aspect to getting started?

I am my worst critic. I’m still so hard on myself and often its my own self censorship or second guessing that gets in my way. This is something that hindered my progress in the very beginning and even today.

Where can others find your work?

You can find me on instagram @minalnaomidesigns or check my website out at



Introduce yourself and what you do

Hello! I’m Neesha Fernando - a freelance Graphic Designer & Illustrator, currently living and working in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

How did you get started?

As a student at the University of Tampa, studying Advertising and Public Relations, I found myself more interested in the design side of the industry. Curiosity drove me to sign up for more and more design classes, which eventually is what led me to my current career path.

After graduation, I worked for the Tampa Bay Rowdies professional soccer team as their Graphic Designer & Social Media Representative. Following a two-year stint, I found myself craving a change of scenery, at which point I moved back to Sri Lanka. Upon arrival, I was drawn to Ruby Studio, particularly for their work on Tripin magazine - given my love of travel and affinity for editorial design. After gaining valuable experience under Subha Grassi there for three years, I decided to venture off on my own.

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Who and what inspires you right now?

With my expansion into the world of freelancing, I've been trying to diversify my scope of work, particularly with experimentation in illustration and typography. Given this, I regularly frequent online resources such as Doodlers Anonymous and Creative Bloq for both inspiration and tips & tricks. Sophie Roach, Barry Lee, Mulga and Steven Harrington are a few of the illustrators I currently follow closely on social media.

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What was a challenging aspect to getting started?

While drawing cartoons was always a fond pastime for me as a child, I never really thought of design as a profession. I was never the master of figure sketching or a genius with a paintbrush in art class. I thought that my lack of formal art education meant I could not venture down this path. As a result, getting past that initial fear and doubt in my skill was probably the most challenging for me.

Art is not just what most people typically think of as “art.” It’s not just sketching, paintings, sculptures and music. I think it’s very important to remember: everyone has creativity within them – even those of us that think they can’t draw a straight line without a ruler.

Where can others find your work?

You can find me online at: and on Instagram @justferyou




Introduce yourself and what you do?

I am Dilushi Prasanna, a Graphic designer and Illustrator. I was born and raised in Kuwait, but decided to venture design as well as devour my motherland, Sri Lanka.

How did you get started?

My father who is a Graphic Designer himself encouraged me to follow his footsteps. Initially as a child I was keen on becoming a Fashion Designer. Later during my 1st year in university I was still skeptical about my Graphic Design major. It didn’t take me long enough to develop an interest in the subject and knew that it was my expertise.


Who and what inspires you right now?

I come from a legacy of artists, all the way from grand parents to my father, mother and brother. At home I was always encouraged to be creative whether it was school homework or getting dressed, so my biggest inspirations naturally came from home itself. Other than family I absolutely love VICE and their entire sub network such as Viceland, Broadly, Munchies etc. Since fashion has also played a major role in my life I try to fuse my interest in it as well my skills in graphics when creating designs. Currently I eyeball on Hypebeast and i-D for fashion related inspirations. I also follow some needle and poke tattoo artists on Instagram that have incredible artwork and have a culture of their own.


What was a challenging aspect to getting started?

The most challenging aspect was being able to visualize an idea and not being able to execute it. It was like I knew everything I needed to know but wasn’t able to prove it. It took me a good while to know Adobe Illustrator for my digital artwork and now it has become my backbone. I still have a long way to go but to evolve from all the terrible fonts and designs I’ve made, I’m grateful!

Where can others find your work?

You can see some projects I’ve done on Behance:

You can also see my daily posts and styling I do as a hobby on Instagram:

AMMA Sri Lanka – mother made, naturally dyed textiles. Handcrafted in the Sri Lankan highlands.

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Here we talk to the couple behind AMMA Sri Lanka - about their project here in Sri Lanka and their plans for the future.

1) Hey guys, tell me a little about yourselves!

I grew up between London and Wales, thinking about it now it was the perfect balance between city and coast. Once I had the chance, I was back to London for university where I studied Textile Design at Central Saint Martins. I specialized in weaving, and spent a lot of time in the dye room experimenting with colors - dyeing yarn to use in my work. Understanding the time and dedication that goes into producing a piece of fabric has given me a new respect for how our clothes are made and the people who make them. I have always been interested in the social aspect of textiles, and how ancient skills like weaving or natural dyeing can be revived and harnessed to create sustainable employment. 

2) How did AMMA Sri Lanka come about? What made you guys move to Sri Lanka?

I first came to Sri Lanka in 2010, which massively influenced my decision to study textiles. I was really inspired by the colors, texture and vibrancy, it was the first time I thought about textiles' place in the world and how fundamental it is to both Sri Lankan heritage and also its economy. 

I have a friend who helps direct a charity called Child Action Lanka, which is based in Kandy. Once i finished university she mentioned that CAL were looking to start various social enterprises to help generate income and rely less on outside funding... and if there was anyway I could start something amongst the mothers focused on textiles that would be great! So myself and my husband visited in 2016 to see if the Sri Lankan lifestyle would work for us... and it (mostly) did!

3) Your website says 'Mother Made' so who are these mothers? Where do they live and how did you get involved with them?

Yes, the best bit! We welcomed two mothers into the workshop last week 'Priyadarshani' who's 23 and 'Chandraleka, 29. Both drop their daughters off at the CAL pre-school, then come downstairs to work with us 9.30am - 12.30am, before collecting them once school is finished. They live on the local tea estates. Its Priyadarshani's first job, but she's picking everything up really quickly and Chandraleka used to be a nurse before having her daughter. The way we work celebrates motherhood, and makes space for them to earn a fair wage and learn new skills whilst also getting quality time with their little ones. 

4) You guys got in touch with Cafe Kumbuk and asked for us to keep aside any avocado stones that we have - what do you do with the stones?

Avocado stones are a great source of natural dye, I started to experiment with them in the UK but was limited as their expensive to buy - so working with you guys is a total dream. Avocado stones are high in tannins which means they produce dyes with good color fastness, you can also use the skins but these are harder to transport and store. 

Once I've collected the stones from you, I soak them until the brown outer layer comes away - this reveals a beautiful orange/peachy color on the inside. I have found the best way to store the stones is to dry them out, this also deepens the color and richness of the dye. Once black marks start to appear i place them in a saucepan, cover with water and gently boil to release the color. Out of all the dyes we use avocado takes the most time to develop. I've also found it one of the trickiest to get consistent (I'm still working on it) as water quality and acidity plays a big role. It takes around 2 hours simmering and another hour the next day to extract the full color once this is done you can add the yarn or cloth - we tend to do this in a bucket off the heat as it saves energy but you can do either. 

If you interested in learning more about avocado dyes take a look at I’ve learnt pretty much everything about avocados from her! 

5) What other foods do you use to extract colour? How did you learn how to extract colour?

We use carrot tops, onion skins, tea waste and pomegranate skins plus some plants like eucalyptus, madder and chamomile, I'm always on the look out for local dye plants next on my list is marigold flowers, bracken fern and indigo. 

I learnt how to extract color at university, its very similar to making tea - the tricky bit is adapting to the changes in each plant. I regret not concentrating in chemistry because its all to do with the water PH. Lots of trial and error, even more so now we are trying to do it on a larger scale. Sometimes something just doesn’t work how you expect - but its nature, its unpredictable. 

6) What are the next steps for AMMA?

A few different things, we are working with some local brands who are interested in using naturally dyed materials in their designs this is a really exciting challenge for us and good opportunity to train our mothers up on the job. 

We also want to start developing our own range, we don't know exactly what this will look like - but we have been so encouraged by people’s reactions to the little steps we have taken so far, its great to see people valuing a more sustainable eco friendly way of dyeing.




Kavan and I got to know each other when we were schooling here in Colombo prior to those ever so important angst teen years. Since I’ve known him he’s always been drawn towards making art. He studied Fine Art at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design in London; after completing a Foundation course in Art & Design he moved onto the Fine Art Bachelor’s degree at CSM’s then new campus in Granary Square, Kings Cross. Here he shares his thoughts with me on his move back to Sri Lanka, his collection of silkscreen prints (one of which is hanging at Café Kumbuk) and the growing arts scene in Sri Lanka.

1) As long as I’ve known you I don’t think I have ever really asked you you’re your artistic journey really began? When did you actively start putting pen/pencil/paint to paper?

I've been scrawling all over the walls of my house ever since I could. Being an artist is an answer I have always given as I've grown up. It is a bit weird, considering I didn't leave much room for anything else. 

2) Cheers for contributing one of your silkscreen prints to the café wall Kavan! It totally fits the space. What was your inspiration for this particular collection?

The collection of silkscreen prints contributed to the cafe is titled as Contact. It's about the physical process of creating colour combinations on the paper surface. Each resultant layer, although premeditated, has an element of unpredictability to it. I attribute feelings evoked in the Contact series as akin to the physiological experience of another person, be it simply to brush past the arm of another, or to wholly realise them. To interpret those moments and present them as a memory. The first print matched the colour palette of the cafe. 

3) When we were graduating from London and figuring out our next moves I remember you were debating whether to move to Berlin or not. What was it that made you move back to Colombo?

I felt the need to change my circumstance and live in the space and difference of opportunity that a place like Colombo - home - could provide. It's been quite fruitful being here and I am happy to have made that decision. But I think it's good to keep on the move. Considering it again. It's also been interesting to use this time as a chance to try different things by putting certain content out there that has been made in different places, to observe and consider reception and build upon that.

4) Yeah I think keeping things on the move allows you to become re-inspired – which is a beautiful thing. How do you observe the Sri Lankan fine art scene? Is there a lot of new talent coming through?

Contemporary art in Sri Lanka has been growing at a steady rate with many young practitioners speaking about a range of relevant topics through different styles and mediums. Most of the upcoming talent are young voices who have a lot of say, and it's good to note the players on the main stage are doing all they can to help bring about progressive change.

5) What are you currently working on?

I'm trying to diversify my practice, so I'm experimenting with graphic and fine arts. 

Can’t wait to see what you come out with next!

If you’re interested in seeing more of Kavan’s work then follow his Instagram handle @studio.bala