Island Feature, 12 December 2016
The University of the Visual and Performing Arts awarded Honorary Doctor of Philosophy Degree to the Kalasuri Barbara Sansoni Lewcock in the 9th Convocation held at the BMICH on Dec. 08, 2016. Prof. Sarath Chandrajeewa Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies, UVPA presenting the citation said: “I consider it a great privilege and an honour to present to you in this august Convocation Barbara Sansoni Lewcock, an internationally recognized icon in the cultural and wearable art field of Sri Lanka, for the conferment of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). She is versatile with diverse capacities. She has excelled as a Colourist, Illustrator, Painter, Fashion designer and a writer. Barbara Sansoni Lewcock is the founder of Barefoot, which was started in 1964 and the chief designer of the same. It is an organization which employs Sri Lankan women, teaching them hand skill to develop their cognitive powers in colourful weaving on handlooms. :.
Following are her own words: “I have always been drawing what caught my eyes. It was Dr. R.L. Spittel who advised me never to be without a sketch book in hand. … My entire source of inspiration has been this Island. Travelling all over I have been overwhelmed by its wonder, inspired by its colour. Design emerges from one’s daily life; it has for me…. Everything changes with light, between monsoons. Nothing is so magical as a tropical twilight, as natural light fades and artificial light comes on. The colours in the celestial hemisphere are unbelievable.”
Chandrajeewa: “Barbara Sansoni Lewcock is an internationally recognized authority on Sri Lankan textile design industry and wearable art. She has exhibited her works at major galleries all over the world and had participated in many international exhibitions representing Sri Lanka. She is the author of many publications, including her own illustrations in them. She had been a UNDP craft advisor and a resident in the West Indies for two years and had marveled at the colour and beauty of the Island and its people. She has won many scholarships and awards including the Presidential Award (Kalasuri) in Sri Lanka.
“Therefore, I am honoured to present to you Kalasuri Barbara Sansoni Lewcock for the conferment of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in accordance with the nomination made by the Senate and graciously endorsed by the council of the University of the Visual and Performing Arts.”
Barbara’s life and achievements at a glance
1928 – Born in Kandy Sri Lanka on 22nd April
1945 – Studied in Presentation Convent, Kodaikanal, India, at age 6, later final year at St. Bridget’s Convent Colombo, Sri Lanka.
1946 – Drawing practice under the guidence of Professor Amarasinghe and Painter Mr. J.D.A. Perera.
1947 – 1952 – Studied Art at the Regent Street Polytechnic Art School in London.
1952 – Married Hildon Claude Sansoni (who died in 1979).
1964 – Founded ‘Barefoot’ a wearable art company at 704, Galle road, Colombo
1983 – Married Dr. Ronald Lewcock (Architect, Conservater and Scholar)