See the various portfolios
When I was a child, my favorite time of day was when I was allowed to draw and paint. As I got older, this love never faded and eventually I went to college to study art. Currently, I am working on my doctoral degree in art education and women's, gender and sexuality studies at Penn State University. But as a Sri Lankan-American, a brown woman, one who was sexually assaulted at age 11, raised in poverty in a single parent home, getting here was quite a challenge.
But with the help of a wonderful, strong woman as my mother, and other incredible people who have loved, supported and encouraged-- I am victim-survivor-thriver. What I have realized in my years of making art, researching, consulting and teaching- is that I am not alone--you are not alone. I am not alone in my experiences, nor in my passion to overcome, protect children, promote inclusion in professional practices of the globe.works make
Working as a painter and teaching artist in marginalized communities around the globe before coming to Penn State, I have always been interested in artmaking as a method to share the counterstorytelling of our lives. My professional art works make connections between the role of women specifically single parenthood enacted by mothers and grandmothers in marginalized communities, to the lived experiences of elephants on the wild, the matriarch and the aunties that nurture, protect, lead, and raise within various herds. My work is in personal and corporate collections gobally and I have shown in museum, corporate, and gallery spaces. I am currently in the doctoral programs of Art Education and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at the Pennsylvania State Univiersity, University Park Campus, USA.
My research focuses on the making processes of women of color who have experienced trauma and endured institutional or social oppressions.The desire is to see how the similarities found in the various creative practices of these women can be used to help folks out within a creative or artistic setting deal with their own trauma by making and creative enactments.
Additionally, I research representations of women and gender roles as suppresional to socially reiforced normative expectations of behavior, dress, and emotional representations within Korean, Chinese, and US tv shows that reinforce social norms.
After women get through all the emotional content of trauma, we need to remember, what we have to offer this world has value, and the creative practices we experience can change lives be it through the visual arts, music, film or small screen.
Currently a Doctoral Student in Art Education at Penn State University
Master's of Art--University of Michigan in Arts Administration, 2012
Master's of Art--Eastern Michigan University, 1999
Bachelor of Science--University of Michigan-Flint, 1997
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting--University of Michigan-Flint, 1994
As a teaching artist and educator I use many different mediums, such as clay, acrylics, welding, sewing, oils and pastels. I believe that working in a single medium is restrictive to my artistic processes and success. Each idea manifests in its own individual style and medium, currently watercolor is Queen!
I really think my inspiration comes from love; learning how to lift others, understanding people, understanding our connections to each other, the earth and animal--it all comes down to love. If we care, we change, if we change, we influence the lives of others.
Recipient of the 2018 Judy Chicago Art Education Award. This award is given for excellence in art educational encounters that promote use of the Judy Chicago art Education Collection at Penn State as inspiration.
Support, for which I will always remain so grateful for, allowed me to bring incredible creative experiences to my students in Flint, Michigan, who were expected to make art with trash, 30 year old supplies and ill equipped studio spaces. Dreaming Zebra made making art, dealing with feelings, anger, overall communal oppression for students an incredible experience. THANK YOU!
A grant from the NEH allowed me to get more contextual information for teaching about the contributions of artists of color in the United States. I was awarded a position to participate in the "Crafting Freedom" Landmark Workshop to immersively learn about artisans, craftsmen and artists that were free, enslaved and formerly enslaved African Americans during the Civil War Era.
I was awarded funds to attend "Remaking Monsters and Heroines: Adapting Classic Literature for a contemporary Audience "which included A two-week institute for thirty-six schoolteachers on Frankenstein, Cinderella, and the adaptations of these classic texts.
at the University of Arkansas in 2018.
Through re-granting programs and support from the National Endowment for the Arts, I received funding to develop as a professional artist. The development activities have allowed me further show my art, share what I have learned with other arts professionals and has supported the increase showing of my own artworks.
Through support of the HURON ECONOMIC COUNCIL and MCACA I have been awarded grants to further my professional development as an artist, arts educator, and activist for women and girls within the visual arts settings where I work.