Coming from the chaos of Bali’s ever expanding area of Canggu, to the low-key, mellow pace of Ahangama in Sri Lanka was a deep breath of fresh air… like taking life down a few notches for a little while. Waking up to the whistling of the birds and the bread trucks, a sunrise yoga or surf, followed by a beautiful breakfast spread and lots of coffee, we could get used to this…and we definitely did.
That is pretty much how every morning began for the 12 days we spent at SunshineStories, with the rest of our days kind of mixing and matching to the beats of our own drums. We were in Weligama back in October for Raskal’s artist residency at Ceylon Sliders, the modern, boutique hotel/shop/café in Weligama and the sister property to Sunshine…and this time, since Sliders was fully booked, we were happy to switch it up and stay at SunshineStories. I had never been and was super excited as I was able to join the camp for the first week, with the hope of improving my surfing, meeting new people, and to reestablish yoga into my daily routine. Crille (raskal) was focusing on surfing and filming with Lachlan, – SunshineStories’ resident filmer/photographer, for his portrait video and was eager to get to work building the frames for his first photo exhibition.
He’s had this vision for a few years to create light boxes from recycled wooden palettes, so after being invited to do an exhibition at Sliders, he decided it was time to make his old vision a reality. He printed the photos in Bali on backlit film, a semi translucent, durable material that allows the image to be illuminated from behind with evenly distributed light.
After a few days of surfing, filming, and scoping the area for wood, he found some old palettes and brought them back to the beautiful Sunshinestories villa. I was somewhat perplexed at how he was going to pull it off without an exact plan, but from that day on until the exhibition, he was out there in the garden workspace he created, taking apart the palettes one by one. Sometimes singing, sometimes swearing, occasionally stepping on a rusty nail, (he actually did twice) and essentially just enjoying the process of building and creating something new. I came in and helped however I could between the routine and actually found it kind of therapeutic to sand the palettes and see the process unfold from A to Z. There’s something to be said about observing someone in their creative flow state, especially if that someone is someone you love, and you’re watching them create something they love. It’s pretty sweet to see and I was happy to be a part of it.
By day 3, most of the palettes were already transformed into frames and the final product was becoming clearer to envision with a few roadblocks here and there, which kept the progress more exciting. (for me, haha.) Meanwhile, I was gaining some serious knowledge about surfing and could actually feel the stress melting away with each shavasana. (the relaxing corpse pose at the end of each yoga session)
Thanks to the crew and guests at the villa, the overall vibe during the time we spent at Sunshinestories was relaxed, happy and playful. Things just unfolded in a way that made life feel easy, made us feel looked after, and at the end of each day, we felt a deep appreciation for the simple reminder to be present, be focused, and be thankful.
The palettes and prints came together in the form of 16 beautiful light boxes just in the nick of time to be hung for the exhibition on the 27th of March. To walk in after the sun went down and finally see them lit up and to feel how they transformed the space was a really nice feeling. The pieces created a surreal and dreamy atmosphere, and added a vivid expression of the colors and tones in each photo. It was a great night of sharing stories, smiles and hugs and was cool to see this cycle completed from start to finish. I guess that’s what life is in a way…a series of cycles, and this was just a really enjoyable one.
Some of the light boxes are currently still displayed at Ceylon Sliders and SunshineStories and limited light boxes and prints are available now for purchase.
At the moment we’re offering 40% discount on our surf and yoga retreat – use the code “THISISSUMMER” – valid on new bookings, on trips from now until 22 September. Code valid until 30 June 2019. Book here (click).