About

Irushi is an illustrator, animator and educator based in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Her illustrations have been published by organizations like Room to Read and Unicef Sri Lanka, and her animated films have been screened in local and international festivals, winning several national awards. She also regularly conducts workshops on storytelling through illustration and animation. Through her collaborative projects with various subject experts, she seeks to highlight important issues ranging from gender and health to the environment and climate change. Her illustrated and animated projects thus educate and entertain in equal measure. She recently graduated with an MA in Animation from the Royal College of Art in London, supported by a Chevening scholarship. Her previous education was in English Studies and she taught undergraduate English for about a decade before pursuing her studio-based artistic practice full time. Irushi also currently works as a lecturer of Motion Graphics and Animation at the Academy of Design in Colombo.

Her most recent film titled ‘is this an architectural documentary?’ (60 min | 2023) based on Architect Minnette De Silva’s (1918-1998) Watapuluwa Housing Scheme, made in collaboration with architects/filmmakers Sumedha Kelegama and Sumudu Athukorala is currently being screened at the ’88 Acres’ exhibition at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Sri Lanka until July 2024.

Her award winning animated series titled Animate Her (2019-2022) features the animated interviews of a group of exceptional women living and working in Sri Lanka. Through modes of stop-motion and experimental animation the Animate Her series brings to life the stories of a marine biologist, a children’s author and illustrator, a wildlife conservationist, a lawyer and activist, a traditional dancer, an architect, and an ICT entrepreneur.

Through her work she highlights everyday stories from Sri Lanka and South Asia with the hope of adding to a wider global discourse on storytelling through illustration and animation.

Gallery Exhibitions and Animation Screening

– ’88 Acres: The Watapuluwa Housing Scheme by Minnette De Silva’, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Sri Lanka (November 2023 – July 2024)
– Brighton International Animation Festival, April 2023 (Nominated for the Best International Short Film Award)
– Tricky Women/Tricky Realities International Animation Festival, Vienna, March 2023
– Dhaka Art Summit, Bangladesh, March 2023
– ‘Animate Her’ Film Screening and Exhibition, Colombo, March 2019 & August 2023
– Jaffna International Cinema Festival, 2022 (Won the Best National Short Film Award for ‘The Girl in the Rainwater Tree’ – Dir. Yoshitha Perera)
– Agenda14 Short Film Festival, Colombo, 2022 (Best Animated Short Film, Green Award)
– Beyond Borders Feminist Film Festival Dec, 2022 (India, Online)
– Screen Power Film Festival, London, 2022 (Best International Short Film Award, Best Editing Nomination, Best Music Nomination)
– Jacaranda Tales Film Festival organised by Bangalore Film Society, India, 2022
– EyeMyth Media Arts Festival, India, 2022
– Jaffna International Cinema Festival, 2021 (Won the Best National Short Film Award)
– Agenda14 Short Film Festival, Colombo, 2021 (Best Animated Short Film Nomination)
– Colombo International Women’s Film Festival, 2021 (Special Jury Mention)
– Tricky Women/Tricky Realities Animation Festival, Austria, 2021
– Rising Gardens Film Festival, New Delhi, 2021
– Agenda14 Short Film Festival, Colombo, 2020 (Green Award, Best Animated Short Film Award)
– Women of the World- WOW Global24 Online Festival, 2020
– Creating Heroines Pavilion, Women of the World Festival, Nepal (2019), Southbank Centre, London (2020)
– One Hundred Thousand Small Tales, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Colombo, 2019
– One Hundred Thousand Small Tales, Dhaka Art Summit, Bangladesh, 2018
– Agenda14 Short Film Festival, Colombo, 2016 (Best Animated Short Film Award)
– Passion, group exhibition at the Sapumal Foundation, Colombo (2012)

Contact

Get in touch for commissions, facilitating a workshop, or just to say hello! 🙂

Email: irushi@irusdedoodles.com

Education

MA Animation – Royal College of Art, London (2023)
MA English Studies – University of Colombo (2020)

Animation

+ ’83 – A Very Short Film (2016) in collaboration with Sumedha Kelegama and Sumudu Athukorala
+ Girl in the Rainwater Tree, funded by the British Council and Agenda14’s Female Filmmakers First Grant (2021)
+The Animate Her Series, supported by the British Council (2019-2022)
– Asha de vos on Studying Blue Whales
– Amila de Mel on Archiving Architecture
– Sybil Wettasinghe on the Umbrella Thief
– Thaji Dias on Traditional Dance
– Lakmini Wijesundera on Building Global Tech Brands
– Ramani Muttettuwegama on Advocacy for the Disappeared
– Anya Ratnayaka on the Colombo Wetlands and the Urban Fishing Cat
+ Dancing in the Void (2023), collaborative performance of animation, electroacoustics and opera performed at the Royal Academy of Music
+ is this an architectural documentary? (2023) in collaboration with Sumedha Kelegama and Sumudu Athukorala, commissioned by the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Sri Lanka, supported by the British Council, research and development support by Forensic Architecture, UK

Illustration

Selected Published Illustrations
– Art Class Manual for ‘Let’s Build Great Things’, published by Yarl IT Hub, Jaffna (2023)
– The benefits of mangroves, collaboration with Lukas Edbaur, published in the UNDRR Report (2019)
– ‘Rescue Mission’ written by A. Pushparaj, published by Room to Read Sri Lanka (2018)

Workshops and Talks

Participated:
– British Council ‘Creating Heroines’ International Residency and Workshop for female artists, facilitated by Dr. Nicola Streeten (Kathmandu, Nepal, Feb 2019)
– Film screening and talk for South Asia Heritage Month at London House, Goodenough College (August 2023)
– Speaker, Galle Literary Festival (January 2024)

Facilitated:
– Iru’s Studio Workshop Series (June 2022)
– ‘On The Animate Her Series’ – Virtual Guest Talk for the EyeMyth Media Arts Festival, India (March 2022)
– ‘Connecting to History Through Graphic Novels’ virtual panel discussion organised by Historical Dialogue.lk and the European Association of History Educators (September 2021)
– ‘Stop-motion animation workshop’ at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Sri Lanka (January 2020)
– ‘Ocean Heroes Animation Workshop’ marine themed workshop in collaboration with Dr. Asha De Vos of Oceanswell, Colombo (February 2020)
– ‘Stop-motion Animation Workshop’ based on ’83 A Very Short Film conducted for the MENASA Film and New Media Students from the New York University in Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) (Colombo, 2018) 

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