The Arts Circle was the brainchild of a dynaimic group of students from the first batch of the faculty. Established in 1995, it provided medical students with an outlet to express their creativity, while fostering fellowship amongst each other.

Since its early days, the society has evolved and progressed, and now involves a large number of the student body and faculty staff in its activities.

This is a non-profit making society which fund their activities mainly through the financial contributions of companies and organizations.

The spotlight of the Arts Circle calendar is focused on a variety performance bearing the name "Talents". Held annually at the National Youth Services Council, Maharagama, it is an evening of song, dance and drama, where students and staff come under one roof to display their abilities. A highlight of this event is the arts exhibition, held at the same venue, which is the opportunity given for the quieter arts to shine.

The Arts Circle is also instrumental in organizing a number of other events during the course of the year. One such event is the "Gee Pedura", an informal evening of singing at the university's open air theatre. The proceedings from these various events are channeled towards worthy causes aimed at uplifting the standards of the faculty’s teaching hospital or the faculty itself.





It's ironic that five years of medical studies; can bury you alive under books and bodies.
But the magic of music and allure of arts; though not a defibrillator can restart the heart!


The above notion led a group of 3rd years to lay the foundation to what would become one of the most active and influential clubs in the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura: The Arts Circle. 25 years later, we write this article to celebrate its Silver Jubilee to pay tribute to its spectacular journey thus far.

The Arts Circle of the Faculty of Medical Sciences was founded in 1995, a short 3 years after the establishment of the faculty itself, aimed towards creating a hub for arts, crafts, music and dance. Subsequently, under the directives of Prof Ranil de Silva, who graciously agreed to be the first senior treasurer of the Arts Circle, and Prof Maheshwaran, the club's maiden annual general meeting was held. Its inauguration speech was delivered by none other than the present-day Head of the Department of Biochemistry, Prof Rasika Perera, a founding member of the club. With that, the Arts Circle began its mission to harness and polish the hidden talents of medical students at the University of Jayewardenepura for generations to come.

With the subsequent exponential increase of its member base, all that was left to do was to create a platform to showcase their talents. So, under the presidency of Dr Wajira Herath, with Dr Nimantha de Alwis & Dr Indika Jagoda as secretary and vice president respectively, the Arts Circle gave birth to 'Talents', an entertainment extravaganza under the slogan 'A unique blend of art and medicine'. It comprised of an evening of singing, dancing, theatre and instrumental performances. But the festivities didn't end with that night. The following morning was an art exhibition; a stage for our very own Picassos.

From that year onwards, the entertainment sensation that is 'Talents' has been held on a yearly basis at what has become its traditional home of sorts, the Maharagama Youth Center. The students weren't the only gifted artists to walk through the halls of our faculty; the staff has also performed at every single show since its inception.

Although this set of students had ambition and enthusiasm carved into their bones, there was a key ingredient they were lacking: funds. To overcome this obstacle, they conducted two fundraising projects. The first was a carwash, an initiative that is being carried on even today. The second was selling T-shirts. What made this noteworthy was the image of a "homunculus with shorts" being printed on the front; a memory that they still recall upon fondly.

What set's 'Talents' apart from any other musical extravaganza is that it is a non-profit event. The audience was given free entry and all proceedings were invested in fuelling the club's agenda in the form of musical instruments and equipment. Once the club became established, they began donating all financial gains as a charity to the Colombo South Teaching Hospital, a proud tradition that has been continued all the way to 2020, when five Omron automatic blood pressure apparatuses were donated to the hospital.

In its second edition in 1997, the members at the time formulated the 'Arts Circle Theme Song'. The lyrics were compiled by Dr Bodhika Samarasekara, melody by Dr Udayanga Kandanarachchi and music arrangements by Dr Nimantha de Alwis and the late Niroshan Sri Deva. In the subsequent years, the 'Talents' stage took a colossal leap forwards in terms of technology. 1999 saw the use of multimedia projectors for the first time, an initiative by Dr Prasad Ranatunga and Dr Saliya Jayathilake. In the following year, the concept of live editing came into use. While these may seem trivial to us in 2020, they were phenomenal advancements back at the dawn of the millennium in the year 2000. The possibility of using live editing was only but a mere fantasy for a group of university students as the technology was only available to the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Cooperation at the time. The club was lucky to have fallen under the patronage of Dean Prof Jiffry and been sponsored by "JICA", a tech-company that granted access to their cutting-edge multimedia equipment. The academic staff weren't the only pillars of support for the Arts Circle. Mr Munasinghe, Mr Ramanayake and Mr Ananda, all members of the non-academic staff also carried a lot of weight on their shoulder and deserve to be recognized.

Having looked at the origin of the club, let's fast-forward a couple of years to 2013, a year that saw a lot of novelties added to the 'Talents' agenda. The most noteworthy were the attempts to bridge the past, present and the future. In that spirit, the board of officials of 2013 invited past pupils back onto the 'Talents' stage to relive their good old days, and also started the poetic tradition of the first years performing the first item of the evening. Furthermore, they set the norm of giving the victors of the competitions a guaranteed opportunity to have their moment of glory on the big stage. On top of incentivizing students to take part in the annual competitions, it also elevated the prestige that stemmed from winning them. They also initiated a tribute item to felicitate a famous maestro of the field of arts, drama and music in Sri Lanka. Credit for these progressive changes goes not only to the students but also to the dean at the time Prof Mohan de Silva, who extended a tremendous amount of support towards the betterment of the Arts Circle. Following their lead, the succeeding batches went onto instigate additional changes into the event. The 20th batch introduced instrumental and photography competitions while the 21st batch built upon those with art and debating competitions. Finally, the latest edition spearheaded by the 24th batch brought in a dancing and drama competition into the mix. They also replaced the drama item, which had been there from the very first edition, with the critically acclaimed "Vaada Baila", and took our little talent show away from the Maharagama Youth centre for the first time and on to the majestic stage of the Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre in 2019.

In 2017, almost two decades after the debut of the Arts Circle theme song, the 22nd batch went onto take the next step forward by formulating a theme song for 'Talents'. Not only did this allow 'Talents', the crown jewel of the Arts Circle to stand out on its own, but it also set it apart from the other projects the Arts Circle was involved in. The most notable of these was the "Gee Padura", a project pioneered by the 21st batch, with the goal of giving more opportunities to students who had ample vigour but fell just short of the grand stage of 'Talents' to showcase talents of their own. It consisted of performances by individual batches, the staff and alumni. A few years later the 24th batch conducted the second edition of the gee padura under the name "Api" with guidance from their seniors, the 23rd batch. The Arts Circle organized another gee padura in association with the "Back to Faculty" project organized in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the faculty. It featured students from different eras singing and dancing together as one for three consecutive nights.

In addition to these productions, the Arts Circle has also regularly exhibited their skills with guest performances at talent shows of the Universities of Colombo and Kelaniya, functions of the Sri Lanka Medical Association and many more professional colleges and organizations. They have also joined hands with the Buddhist society of the Faculty of Medical Sciences to organize the Annual Bhakthi Gee programme 'Poson Sadeha Gee Saraniya'.

As the old saying goes: "Behind every successful team is a dedicated coach who refuses to let them be anything but the best!". For the Arts Circle, there is an entire team of coaches: Dr Isha Prematilleke, the current senior treasurer and the advisory committee consisting of Prof Rasika Perera, Prof Sampatha Goonawardene, Dr Hasini Banneheke, Dr Jananie Kottahachchi, Dr Sithara Dissanayake, Dr Sajith Edirisinghe, Dr Chamath Fernando and Dr Indika Liyanage. Between organizing events and training students, these dedicated individuals along with all those who came before them, have provided immeasurable support and guidance, without which the club would be a shadow of its present state.

Hoping to build on the phenomenal success of Talents 2019, the 25th batch took office early this year. Under the new leadership of president Lahiru Angammana, secretary Monali Kalupahana, junior treasurer Praveen Sachintha Peiris, vice president Supun Hemachandra and vice Secretary Nawodha Prasadini, 'Talents' was to be taken to an even higher level. Unfortunately, their momentum took a hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this group of enthusiastic, determined students did not let even a pandemic stand in their way. With the whole world embracing the internet as a part of their livelihood, the Arts Circle also took social media by storm. They introduced "J'pura Medicos Online", a web-based programme hosted via the Arts Circle's Official Facebook page allowing students to display their skills and artistry from the comfort of their own homes. They also partnered with the Buddhist society yet again to hold this year's edition of the Bakthi gee via online platforms. With such an ingenious and versatile leadership, I believe it's safe to say that the Arts Circle is in very capable hands and has a long way to go.

This account is only but a glimpse into the 25-year legacy of the Arts Circle of the Faculty of Medical Sciences. Gathering information dating back more than two decades would have been a herculean task if not for the tremendous enthusiasm and cooperation extended by a group of very special individuals; Prof Shyamalee Samaranayake, Dr Hasini Banneheke, Dr Wajira Herath, Dr Prasad Ranatunge, Dr Pramitha Mahanama, Dr Geethal Jayarathna and Amanadee Ariyarathna. We are also immensely grateful to Prof Rasika Perera, who on top of providing the inspiration for this article, took time off of his busy schedule to take us through 25 years of history in a fraction of the time. Last but not least, Dr Isha Prematilleke, for never failing to enthrall the audience with her dazzling performances and for being the light guiding our every move.





Each year the Arts Circle, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Sri Jayawardenapura makes a donation to one of our teaching hospitals.

For the year 2020, a donation of 05 Omron Automatic Blood Pressure Apparatus was made to the Colombo South Teaching Hospital on the 9th of September 2020 at the Director’s Office, CSTH.

The supplies were handed over to Dr. M. Karunarathna, Deputy director /CSTH by Dr. Isha Prematilleke (Senior Treasurer), Dr. Hasini Banneheke (Advisory committee member), Lahiru Angammana (President), Monali Kalupahana (Secretary) and Praveen Peiris (Junior Treasurer) of the Arts Circle.

Dr. A.H. Angammana MOIC/OPD, a Matron and a Nursing officer were also present at the proceedings.

The donated supplies will be distributed among the ETU, VPOPD and OPD of CSTH.

The Deputy Director/CSTH expressed her sincere gratitude and appreciation regarding the donation.