Camillus Perera’s father was so impressed with his son’s sketches and cartoons in his younger years that he told him: “One day you will capture the attention of the world.” The comment proved prophetic.
Now Perera, a devout Catholic, is one of the most famous cartoonists in Sri Lanka — a country in chaos as it reels from a constitutional crisis inspired by a power play by President Maithripala Sirisena and two competing prime ministers.
The artist, whose pictures are often inflected with political messages, now ranks among the top four cartoonists in the country, joining the elite ranks of compatriots Aubrey Collette, Wijesoma and S.C. Opatha.
He lives in Negombo, near capital Colombo, and has spent more than half a century perfecting his art.
His vocation began when he was a schoolboy as he liked to draw cartoons and caricatures of his friends and teachers.
Even though his principal disapproved when he first saw Perera’s caricature of him — sitting by a table with a bottle of liquor on it — the older man was wise enough to recognize the boy’s talent, and he encouraged him to keep developing his skills.