Charmalee Gunaratne is a licensed architect from Sri Lanka and an architect at BNIM architects. She is a the co- founder of Eco Abet, a not-for-profit architecture firm. Eco Abet's mission is to provide design and architectural services to impoverished, underserved and traumatized communities around the globe.
“I am always mesmerized by the huge smiley faces of children at SMK orphanage and wanted to capture the spirit of the children in the dolls. This years doll came to me with a happy uplifting spirit kind of stating ‘I am on top of the world’. Therefore I did not want to add anything more other that to complement the already happy doll. The theme of the doll is ‘top of the world’. I feel that's what all these children feel when they smile, they are truly happy within."
Sherry Boemmel was born and raised and mostly educated in Chicago where she still lives. She has a Bachelors degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Northern Illinois University. Both those degrees and other studies inform her life and her work because she builds stories from both words and materials.
Her studies as an artist began with tapestry weaving, but she quickly found her bent was sculptural and nontraditional. Her heart has always belonged to fiber, but smashed bits of wire from the street can be as exciting to her as newly dyed silks, ancient quilts, ribbons and laces which she also loves. She has a way of finding stories in her materials, but she also finds materials to illustrate the stories he writes in her imagination.
"My doll is entitled ‘A View of Uganda from Chicago.’ The doll reflects some of the best and the worst about Uganda. The doll herself is Ugandan, and so are the banana leaf mats behind her and the fabric used for her sash. Other fabrics in the colors of the Ugandan flag make up her dress. Assault rifles stud her skirt, and childrens’ hands in the same colors speak of the children in the same context. The outside of the box is stamped with musical notes and more small hands and feet."