Irushi is an artist and educator from Colombo, Sri Lanka, and currently a Chevening Scholar (2022/23) pursuing an MA in Animation at the Royal College of Art in London. She has a background in English Studies and taught English to undergraduates for almost a decade before pursuing her artistic practice full-time. From 2019-2022 she directed and animated a series titled Animate Her, with funding from the British Council, which featured the animated interviews of a group of exceptional women living and working in Sri Lanka. She is also currently one of the leading artists commissioned by the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Sri Lanka to create a feature length documentary on architect Minnette De Silva’s (1918-1998) Watapuluwa Housing Scheme in Kandy. Through storytelling and documentation, she strives to bring light to stories from Sri Lanka and South Asia.
My RCA grad film in progress titled 'The Banyan Song' is about a woman's friendship with an ancient banyan tree. The story takes place between the woman's home on a small village on the water, and a nearby island upon which the banyan tree has spread its roots and taken over, not allowing anything else to grow on the island. The woman visits the tree daily and collect samples of water, moss and other elements that inhabit the island. On one of her visits she realises something different in her old friend, the tree, and life as she knows it is about to change forever.
At the RCA I have been exploring darker, more uncomfortable themes that I usually avoid in my practice, such as human vulnerability when caring for another being, and the deep hollowness felt when we lose those we love. I have also strayed away from my comfort zone of vivid colours and limited myself to telling my grad film story in black and white, using the limited mediums of ink and charcoal.
Documentation has been a big part of my creative journey and I love recording things in my sketchbooks, and instagram. I even journal about the moods I am - good or bad - in on specific days when filming and it feels surreal to look back at these recollections months or even years later.
I have also loved taking pictures of my animation cohort at the RCA, including the studios and work in progress of my classmates who have been hugely inspirational in the making of my own MA film.