Enastin Fernando, Sri Lanka


You work for money for most of the time, and after some time you get fed up and think what am I doing with my life. Now I can sit here and do sewing, crocheting or painting.

My name is Enastin, I am I am third-generation Portuguese and come from Sri Lanka. I have lived in Australia with my family since 1995. My children adapted to the culture really quickly, I found it a little more difficult.

I was struggling a little bit as I had to do a Bachelor of Education, as my own degree was too old and was not recognised here. In Sri Lanka I taught an array of subjects at Secondary School level. Initially I started out at a Tafe college, where a nice teacher from Hong Kong gave me advice on how to get started, and from there I went on to study at RMIT. I took a four-hour entrance exam, which was so difficult as English is not my main language, but I passed! I chose to study the secondary and adult streams of my education course.

I worked very hard and got all High Distinctions in my first year, I thought this is a god’s blessing.

I had some trouble with my husband when we came here. He was into gambling, so I had to move out. But I managed to live, and the welfare system supported me at this time. I also did odd jobs such as in restaurants and in kitchens, to get some pocket money for my kids and myself. We have gotten through all of these things, it is a nice time.

I had previously come into SisterWorks, but it was very busy and I went without any paperwork or asking for schedules. Next time I came in, everyone welcomed me. I have not previously joined as I had to work full time, but now that I am not I came in and joined. You work for money for most of the time, and after some time you get fed up and think what am I doing with my life. Now I can sit here and do sewing, crocheting or painting.

Initially I thought it better to sit down and relax and do some observation, and then I will move forward.

I have been consulting with the SisterWorks Business Manager Emma, about a new project making little cactus’ using a camel stitch. I learnt to do this from researching here at SisterWorks.

I have had two works in the Kingston Art Gallery, I do oil pastel and soft pastel works. I like to paint floral works that have a story. I had previously taken some drawing classes, and in my childhood I tried some artwork, but nothing on a big scale. Now I take part in an open studio workshop for painting and take classes three times a week.

Artistically I love colours, anything vibrant. I also love flowers in nature, woods, I just go outdoors and look for inspiration.

When I work I use everything economically, this is something I learnt from my mum. She used to make thatched roofs with coconut leaves, and did not have a rich life. However with a limited amount of resources, you know how to use them and make the most of them.

I am a little religious, I like to visit Church.

I go to Sacrament, or I take my prayer book in the morning and just sit and listen to what God wants me to do today.

Even though it doesn’t happen in that moment, when you sit still you can think of many things. I mean we dream so much during the night, what about the day? This is a dream time world.