WITH a love for nature, art and, most importantly, giraffes – artist Gayani Ariyaratne has been in her element painting a sculpture for Worcester Stands Tall.

Originally from Sri Lanka, she was born in the Matale district, central province. She said the best thing about growing up in Matale was learning about spices and cooking. Miss other passions include flowers, she had her own florist shop once in Melton Mowbray.

The 49-year-old artist – who now lives in Birmingham – has decorated an 8ft tall giraffe for the art trail that Worcester has enjoyed this summer. Her giraffe, along with 29 others will be auctioned to raise money for St Richard's Hospice.

Miss Ariyaratne's sculpture, An Outstanding Source, is jointly sponsored by The Hopmarket Charity, Fisher German and Fortis Living.

How do you feel to be a part of this project?

I feel really privileged to take part in Worcester Stands Tall as I love giraffes and Worcester. It’s one of my favourite places and I am a charity fundraiser, so it’s nice to do this project for St Richard's Hospice.

Have you painted a sculpture for a Wild in Art trail before?

Yes, I painted a sun bear for The Big Sleuth Birmingham.

Tell me a little bit about your background as an artist

I have been an artist since early age as my father is an artist/sculptor. I studied art for O Level and A Level, and went to a university of visual and performing arts. I also studied for a Multidisciplinary Design Major. I studied multimedia textile design at Loughborough College of Art and Design. In between, I work as mural artist and glass painter/crafter producing painted glassware. I have done a one-man art exhibition in Sri Lanka.

How would you describe your work?

My work is inspired by nature. I am a keen gardener and small grower of British cut flowers. Most of my paintings are nature related and educational – for example, I

paint lot of plant materials related to spices and herbs creating an awareness of healthy living through my other day job as a chef. Since I was little, I was curious of where ingredients come from and how they grow.

What was it like decorating an 8ft tall giraffe?

It has been an amazing experience painting the giraffe. I’ve made a ‘talk of the town’ sort of impression where I live. Everyone was curious.

To find out more about Gayani’s work, find her on Facebook at @gayaniskitchenHQ, on Twitter at @gayanigoldust and on Instagram at @ethicalfloralhq_ or @gayanigoldust

Worcester Stands Tall is a Wild in Art project, brought to the city by St Richard’s Hospice. The money raised will go towards the hospice’s Build 2020 Appeal to extend and redevelop its building in Worcester.

Find out more about the art trail at worcesterstandstall.co.uk or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.