Like an Angel sent from God Aunty Shy came to me! I was in grade 14, with A/L's looming in 4 months. My school art teacher had retired and I had...- Read More -
Art means different things to people. To some, it’s a God-given talent, while for others; it’s a form of self-expression and a release from everyday life...- Read More -
Shahdia Jamaldeen, Jr. Architect (2015)
Learning art from Miss (Aunty) Shyamala has been a most rewarding experience, one that has taught me a lot about creativity, expression and thinking out of the box. Even at university level now, these lessons still prove themselves useful over and over again.- Read More -
Like an Angel sent from God Aunty Shy came to me! I was in grade 14, with A/L's looming in 4 months. My school art teacher had retired and I had almost an entire syllabus to cover. Being family friends we bumped into aunty at church and before I knew it, she said "Putha come to me, I'll teach you".
There started our journey of 3 days a week 9.00am to almost always 9.00pm. This was when aunty shy was not teaching full time and had only the Thalawathugoda art school to run. To say that she was a dedicated teacher would not suffice. Not only did she teach, she fed me, clothed me and pretty much took me over as her own. Her philosophy of teaching was not to merely divulge information but inspire..to understand the psyche of the student, and to bring out the best in a student in the aspect that he or she held strength in. Aunty Shy is a master of reading children. She has the uncanny ability to look into your eyes and know what you are thinking, and she has no inhibitions! She has no qualms about dancing the funky chicken [to no music mind you] just to grab the attention of the little ones, to get them out of their shells, to entertain, to ensure that their soul is let loose to explore the creativity and potential within them.
Conversely, she can be very serious, to be firm with the older more rebellious teenagers, being cautious not to confine their creativity, but to instil a sense of discipline necessary to tap their talents and improve beyond all expectation! After 4 months of being under Aunty Shy's wing, night after night, taking a stack of books home to read by the next morning, countless still life's drawn, many jokes shared, some enlightening conversations had and a tear or two shed, the day of the A/L examination dawned. We did not cover the 2 year syllabus, but in her wisdom she taught me what she felt was essential. I remember Aunty Shy praying and also telling me "Putha, pray that the paper will be set for you, just for you". And no other words could better describe the art paper that year, it was indeed set for me. I may stand corrected, but to this day I have remained the only student of Aunty Shy's to receive an A for local A/L Art. She said "Putha, because of you my faith has been strengthened". But I can't reiterate enough that it had very little to do with my capabilities, but more to do with Aunty Shy's dedication, inspiration and love; and of course, the goodness of God.
My relationship with her did not end there. My ultimate aim was to study architecture and till that came through I helped Aunty Shy at the Police park art class, assisting her with the lessons for the smaller ones and later in the evenings, working on my own portfolio. The time in between school and studying architecture was trying one, as things did not go as I planned. And I was on the verge of letting go of my architecture- dream. Aunty shy took that opportunity to show me that sometimes it is necessary to go through the mill, before you are ready for something. She insisted that I hold onto my ambition, that the right time will come, and till then she will still have me under her wing and train me. Because of her, MY faith was strengthened. Things turned out as God had planned, and today I am a 4th year student at City School of Architecture and God willing on my way to becoming an architect!
Aunty Shy has not only taught me 'Art'. She has taught me lessons in life. Some of her pearls of wisdom are etched in my heart, never to be forgotten. Her occasional texts with inspiring verse or even a "kshani...how are you putha?", goes to show that you never really stop being her student, that you never really stop learning from her and she never really stops teaching you and loving you. She has been a source of strength to me and a reminder of how much we are capable of and can indeed achieve, with the right amount of faith, devotion and endeavour. I owe so much to her and hope that one day I can make up for it! Until then, she is still 'teaching' me. God bless you Aunty Shy!
If you ask a random person if they have a class today,most will say "yes,...but i want to go home and sleep!"
but you ask any of Miss Shyamala's students they will say "yes,...i can't wait!" Why can't 'they' wait?...well for one simple reason.....ART CLASS IS FUN!!,you make many friends,and don't always have to work!,
because Miss even lets the seniors grab a bite from fab ,if we get bored.!,and she takes us on trips as well!,either out of Colombo,or within it,where we would find a place to set up,and we study and paint/draw/or whatever our surroundings! All that fun,is good and healthy,but the main reason we come to art class,is to develop our artistic abilities!...personally,i think i have improved my skills hundred fold!,...or more!Miss also likes displaying the students artwork around the class,which amuses me,for i fell like working in an exhibition.
Miss helps us in all aspects ,whether giving us tips on our artwork or coaching us for our exams,or even helping us in personal matters,she is fantastic!,not to forget hilarious,and will laugh crazily at any joke anyone tries to pull off,she also sings her sentences sometimes,which actually helps us loosen up,after a long day. oh!,..and how could i forget!..the class it self,the environment is awesome! Miss has all the materials required for working,as well as a lot of space.for us to move about ., breath,and relax when doing our work.She also has a vast collection of books,ranging from artists to birds of sri lanka,to barbequing stakes!
I have been with Miss for nearly two years now,and i cannot believe it,time has literary grown wings and has flown by. Doing my o levels i feel confident in achieving the desired result!,..for if it wasn't for misses training i wouldn't even be close to achieving my goal.,and i think that Miss Shyamala's school of art is the only place that could have done this so efficiently ,for me.for anybody! To call art class, a class is a massive understatement!,..its more of a second home!,where all the students are your brothers and sisters ,and where miss is the mother,who looks after us all,and where we all love her!
If i was in a room full of geusts,and a glass of champagne in my hand(though i don't drink),i would say "a toast to miss shyamala ,thankyou for all your hard work!"....if i was an athlete i would scream"give me an s!.give me an h!!!...."..you know how it goes,but right now im none of that,im just an art student lucky enough to have found miss Shyamala ,and take refuge under one of her golden wings,as i practiced my art,and developed it.
So instead of shouting or having a toast im going to work hard and make her happy,by making myself even happier,once i get my results!
WOOHOO!!!!!GO MISS SHYAMALA!!!!!!!!!!.....
Art means different things to people. To some, it’s a God-given talent, while for others; it’s a form of self-expression and a release from everyday life.
To me, it’s not about how talented you are, but about how much passion you have - and I believe that everyone has the freedom to express themselves creatively.
The real role of an 'Art teacher' therefore, is not merely to teach you how to draw, but to help you access your emotions, ignite your passion, free your inhibitions, and unleash your creativity! I learned this by watching aunty Shy handle her students.
Her ability to coax even the meekest student out of their shell with her sharp wit; and her ability to drive you to discover your own capabilities is truly amazing. Her passion, her love for what she does, and her intrinsic ability to nurture every student’s talent; makes her the best teacher ever.
I was astudent at the Shyamala School of Art from 2005-2007, where I enrolled just after my O Level examination and continued until I left for university. While I was one of the few students in class who joined ‘just for fun’ with no formal background in art and no plans of pursuing art for my A levels and beyond, I was surprised at how naturally at ease I felt in expressing my creativity and opinion in class. Being a teenager who was quite ‘allergic’ to formal, conventional forms of teaching and guidance, Aunty Shy’s candid humour, kindness, honesty and gentle guidance did just the trick in effectively managing an often boisterous class of 7-10 teenagers and ensuring that we were all comfortable and equipped with the necessary encouragement and skills to reach our optimum levels of creativity. No idea was too big, too small or unattainable- Aunty Shy had the knack of making the impossible possible, which was quite an inspiration to us all!
All in all, Aunty Shy’s was the class I looked forward to every week and I’m happy to say I still carry around a lot of the helpful advice and wisdom that I was fortunate enough to gain from her.
Shahdia Jamaldeen, Jr. Architect (2015)
“Eight years ago my mother picked up a leaflet for art classes at the supermarket. It was probably the best decision at that time.
Learning art from Miss (Aunty) Shyamala has been a most rewarding experience, one that has taught me a lot about creativity, expression and thinking out of the box. Even at university level now, these lessons still prove themselves useful over and over again. With her guidance I completed art at Ordinary level and Cambridge Advanced Level Art and design, and helped me achieve grades good enough to earn me a scholarship into university. Eight years of dedicated tutoring in the field of art helped me easily decide and complete my career course in Architecture. Going for her Art classes was the highlight of my week, and it still is. If there is one thing that she has taught me, it is that however gifted you may be, if you do not share and nurture it with others and instead jealously guard it, you will never be able to fully appreciate your talents. Finally, I cannot stress enough, the importance of following a formal course in Art & Design if one is prone towards the aesthetics. The groundwork provided by the degree or diploma offered by AFA will be a sure stepping stone towards greater career and personal success. If a simple art class helped me rise up professionally, then I can only imagine the unlimited opportunities AFA will be able to provide.
Eight years ago my mother picked up a leaflet for art classes at the supermarket. It was probably the best decision EVER.”