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Wildlife Whispers: The Artistic Journey of Sri Lanka’s Wildlife Muse, Maria Abeyesekere

This is an article published in MEDIUM by Heidi Marty an unexpected visitor, a writer who has now become one of my art collectors.


Artist Maria Abeyesekere is painting a leopard
Arist Maria Abeyesekere

Before the pandemic hit in 2019, I had the opportunity to visit the breathtaking paradise island, Sri Lanka. While hiking through the highlands, I stumbled upon a scene that would forever change my perspective on art. A sambar deer stood gracefully in its natural habitat, while an artist sat a few yards away, skillfully capturing its essence on canvas. Intrigued, I approached her, and what followed was a truly remarkable experience.

Meeting the Artist

I was in search of original art in the bustling capital of Colombo when I came across this gifted artist. Her passion for wildlife was evident in every stroke of her brush. I was invited to her residence, a colonial planter’s bungalow dating back to the 1800s, nestled amidst lush green tea fields. The tranquil surroundings served as the perfect backdrop for her creativity to flourish.

Discovering Maria’s Background

Delving deeper into her background, I discovered that Maria Abeyesekere hails from a prominent Sinhalese family with a long line of native chiefs, up to her great-grandfather, who have passed down invaluable heirlooms and paintings to her. These artefacts, which include portraits of her ancestors painted by European artists during the Colonial era, served as Maria’s first inspiration as a young artist.

Inheriting a Talent

Maria believes that her artistic talent was inherited from her family, passed down through generations. Maria’s grandma was too an artist, sculptor, and overall creative spirit. As a child, she would spend hours drawing and painting, using any available materials — whether it was charcoal from the woodstove or her tiny fingers on the ground. This early exposure to art and creativity nurtured Maria’s natural abilities and laid the foundation for her future as an artist.

Artistry in Wildlife:

A Childhood of Inspiration

Maria Abeyesekere is a remarkable individual with a heart full of love for animals. Her childhood was filled with the wonders of wildlife, thanks to the visits to her grandma’s coconut estate in the northwestern part of Sri Lanka. The estate was a paradise teeming with a variety of animals and birds. The seagulls and whistling ducks that soared gracefully in the sky mesmerized Maria, igniting a deep love for nature within her. But it was her dad’s bed time stories, family pets specially her grandma’s mischievous monkey who was always up to some antics that truly captured her imagination.

Life Amongst the Wildlife

Years passed, and Maria found herself drawn back to nature. She decided to make a significant change in her life. Tired of her hectic career and the fast-paced city life, she made the brave decision to leave it all behind. Seeking a simpler and more fulfilling lifestyle. She settled in the rural highlands of Sri Lanka with her husband, a tea planter and her only son, where she immersed herself in the vibrant ecosystem that surrounded her. For over 20 years, Maria has lived amongst the wildlife that she so passionately portrays in her art. This is where her journey as a full-time artist began by embracing her father’s encouragement to follow her dreams, a moment that holds a special place in her heart.

Capturing the Essence of Nature

As I perused her collection of original wildlife art, I was struck by the lifelike quality of her pieces. Wildlife was her main subject, although she also excelled in floral, still life, and portraits using oils, acrylics and pencils. After delving into the captivating realm of wildlife art in Sri Lanka, it is crystal clear that Maria Abeyesekere stands as the foremost wildlife muse in the country. With her exquisite brushstrokes and unparalleled attention to detail, Maria’s artwork vividly brings the mesmerizing wildlife of Sri Lanka to life on canvas. Her deep connection to nature shines through in each masterpiece, capturing the raw beauty and essence of the country’s diverse flora and fauna. Maria Abeyesekere’s exceptional talent and passion for wildlife art truly sets her apart as a visionary artist whose work resonates with both art enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Her work transcended traditional boundaries and delved into the realm of hyperrealism with ease.

An Artist with a Passion for Conservation

In addition to her stunning artwork, Maria is also a passionate advocate for wildlife conservation. Maria believes that through art, we can inspire others to appreciate and protect the beauty of nature for future generations. Through the eyes of an artist like her, one can truly appreciate the magnificence of the natural world. Wildlife art serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of conservation and preservation, urging us to cherish and protect the world around us.

Maria Abeyesekere truly is the wildlife whisperer, a voice for nature in a world that often overlooks its beauty and importance.

A Visit to Remember

If you ever find yourself in Sri Lanka, a visit to her home-based studio is a must. The experience of witnessing her artistry up close is truly unforgettable. After spending time with Maria, I couldn’t help but feel inspired, leading me to become one of her eager collectors. The joy of witnessing my own pieces from her collection prompted my family and friends to seek her out for commissions, making me proud to see her talent spreading its wings beyond my own circle. Maria’s art has a way of touching hearts and sparking creativity in all who encounter it.

Maria Abeyesekere’s exceptional talent has earned her invitations to showcase her artwork in art exhibitions and to proudly represent her country on a global platform. With awards under her belt, Maria’s unique and captivating artistry continues to captivate audiences worldwide. Visit her official website today to explore her stunning collection and start your journey of collecting her exquisite artworks. 

Remember to cherish art, protect wildlife, and celebrate the wonders of our natural world through the eyes of a gifted artist.



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