The month January was named after the ancient Roman mythological god called Janus, who happened to be the deity for transitions, time, duality, pathways, gates and most importantly, beginnings and endings. It so happened, the month of January 2023 brought forth a period of transitions, endings and beginnings for the Trinity community as well, where they formally concluded an extraordinary 150th Sesquicentennial Anniversary year, celebrated with solemnity, and welcomed another era with renewed vigor and hope.
January 17th 2023 recorded a very special day in the Trinity almanac, that marked the ending of its T150 anniversary celebrations and placed the College at the threshold of hailing its 151st year of service – a period of true transition, where the Trinity community now look forward to changes with purpose, progress with inclusion, contribution with dignity and victories with appreciation.
Guided by the core values of service, humility and charity, geared towards achieving human excellence, Trinity College, established as a Christian missionary school in 1872, with the passage of time, has become a beacon to the community in guiding and lighting the way in education and fostering the craft of life among the young students who walk through its gates.
Trinity Community opportunely celebrated her T150 Sesquicentennial Anniversary in 2022 amidst a myriad of adversities that emerged due to the unprecedented challenges 2022 posed as a result of the continuing global pandemic, the local economic melt-down, and political upheavals within which the College had to steer ahead, redefining her path into an unknown future.
The anniversary celebrations were woven around four noble pillars of action, i.e., celebrating the past, mapping the future, serving humanity and caring for our common home. It amounts to a commitment to a quality of purpose and a 360-degree sustainable vision of the past, present and the future of the College. Despite the formidable challenges 2022 posed, the yearlong celebrations bonded the four-fold Trinity community; namely students, staff, old boys and parents. These events reinforced the time-tested Trinity ethos of persistently pursuing wisdom, virtue and victory, while preserving the past, embracing the present and building for the future.
The success of these events called for a grand finale in wrapping up the Sesquicentennial Anniversary celebrations in 2023 and the First Day-Cover that was issued on the 17th of January 2023, simultaneously to the Thanksgiving Service was the full blossoming that embellished the painstaking and heartfelt efforts of the Trinity community in making their cherished school’s jubilee year a memorable one. It articulates the “greater scheme of life” driven by the pioneering vision of the founders of Trinity that resonates amidst many socio-economic pitfalls, distresses of mediocrity, and the superficiality of the consumerist society.
This historic First-day Cover is a product that has been painstakingly crafted by a selected group of imaginative individuals mostly consisting of passionate Trinitians and few committed non-Trinitians, present and past students, who have meticulously worked around-the-clock over the last few months to create unique memorabilia, celebrating the crossing of yet another milestone in the long and resplendent history of Trinity College.
The inspiration for the painting on the stamp is from the first verse of the Trinity College hymn written by Rev. Walter Stanley Senior, who was the Vice Principal of the College from 1906 to 1916.
“Where river, lake and mountain meet – Our boyhood’s home surrounding, A path behold for youthful feet – The path of life abounding; Still up it climbs by cliff and crag – The mount of truth ascending, Though oft thereon the pilgrim flag – It leads to life unending.”
The focus of the stamp is the world-renowned Chapel of Trinity College, where the journey of a Trinitian begins and ends! The path of a Trinitian is carved by the lessons and values learned at Trinity. The values of a Trinitian emanate from the ‘Heart of Trinity’ – the Chapel. It stands to date as a stark reminder to all Trinitians that their lives ought to be shaped after the example of Christ and lived as a transforming presence in the world. The Chapel also stands as a testimony of the idea “unity in diversity” which Trinity strongly propagates, with Kandyan architecture and artifacts flawlessly blending with Christianity, emulating how the universal principles of humanity can dwell side-by-side in harmony.
The painting of the chapel that has been transformed into a stamp, was drawn by Mr. Pulasthi Handunge, who also happens to be a past pupil of Trinity College of the batch of 2014. Pursuing a career in Architecture, Pulasthi engages in painting as it is his passion and has his own unique style where he highlights the depth of the object with a minimum use of colour. The painting in the stamp has been carefully articulated giving meticulous attention to its depth which is a significant attribute of the Trinity Chapel, and details of the chapel and the life that surrounds it. For example, the two choristers at the Southern entrance are a testament to Pulasthi’s eye for detail. Being the enthusiastic old boy he is, Pulasthi volunteered to conduct an art appreciation workshop for the Trinity students, in order to add value to the First-day Cover project.
In addition to the painting on the stamp, Pulasthi also drew the image for the First-day Cover capturing one of the most vibrant locations in the College – the Quadrangle.
Through his painting Pulasthi brings to life the Quadrangle – a space of congregation for Trinitians. He carefully depicts the place with energy, vitality and competition; joy and laughter. The cascading corridors of the Napier building and the evocative dining hall, with their quintessential architecture reverberating the manifold memories of the joys of a Trinitian’s childhood is juxtaposed in Pulasthi’s painting, reminding the owner of the FDC that life should be lived in its fullness encountering head-on its high calling and the deep anguish.
The Trinity First-day Cover project was not just another stamp and an envelope affair; the tastefully designed folder contains 06 colourful postcards giving value to the buyers’ money.
Among the contributors to these postcard drawings is Ms. Manjula Samaratunga. She is attached to the Middle School, and is the present Teacher-in-Charge of the Art Circle at Trinity College, and has been with the College since 2011. An ardent fan of water-colour paintings, she attends workshops to upskill herself and conducts periodic art exhibitions. The theme of her painting is “The beauty of nature at Trinity College” where she has captured the lustrous greenery in the College as seen from the AJ block.
Another contributor for the postcard collection, Mr. Rasanga Dissanayake is also a past pupil of Trinity College, from the Batch of 1995. A photographer by profession, Mr. Dissanayake blends art with new trends, focusing on human emotions, to create unique captures. The collage he has contributed to the postcard collection is themed, “A cross section of Trinity College – past, present and future.”
It’s not only the adults and past pupils who contributed to the First-day Cover project with their creative skills. The project was conducted as a competition open to all art enthusiastic students who were invited to make their contributions by providing paintings for the postcards.
Master Charith Ekanayake is one such student who took part in the competition. He is a grade 11 student at Trinity College and has been an enthusiastic painter from his childhood. With a painting style slightly influenced by the characters of the famous cartoon series “The Simpsons”, he has brought to life the love Trinity has for sports and, his painting is termed as, “A tribute to Trinity Sports.”
Another student who contributed to the postcard collections is Master Menath Kahapola. A grade 10 student Menath’s painting is inspired by the historic milestones and novelties the College is enjoying today, and is themed, “Trinity in a Nut-Shell.”
Last but not the least of the student contributors is Master Ravidu Manthrinayake, the youngest of them all. At just 10 years old, Ravidu’s imaginations has wondered back 100 years in time, to the period when the Chapel was being constructed. He has captured the magnificent stone pillars of the Chapel and has themed his painting as, “The Chapel under constructions.”
Creating the elegantly designed folder for the FDC was by no means was an easy task. It had to provide the necessary safety for its content, while encapsulating time immemorial Trinity insignia and embellishments, while maintaining a sophisticated contemporary appearance. This challenging task was undertaken by another old boy from the Batch of 1995, Thilina Dassanayake, a fashion marketing strategist and a Design Thinking lecturer. In addition to the FDC folder, Thilina has also contributed in designing the “Anniversary Postcard” with the College crest and logo.
Last but not the least, is Mr. Amila Duminda Perera, an ardent Philatelist who collaborated with the College team to coordinate the project deliverables with the Department of Post and the Philatelic Bureau and his classmates from the batch of 1997. The contributions they made in cash, kind, resources and expertise, especially with Amila becoming the link between the College and the Department of Posts for nearly 03 month, made the Trinity community realize a yearlong dream at the dawn of its 151st anniversary year.
A special note of thanks to the TCK PROMWEB [Promotions – Media Unit – Website] for their untiring efforts in coordinating this unique project.
What is exclusive about the First-day cover issued in commemoration of Trinity’s 150th anniversary celebrations is, issuing a “Mint Stamp” with a FDC for the first time in the Postal history of Sri Lanka. In addition to this the Department of Posts also granted a special approval to Trinity to enhance the image on the commemorative envelope up to 50% whereas the standard approved size is only 35% of the envelope surface.
The First-day cover and the stamp you are owning is unique indeed. Unique because not only it was issued at a very auspicious milestone of your beloved College. But also, because in keeping with the Trinity pledge of being “the best school of all” it has managed to issue the most exclusive First-day cover ever to be issued in the history of Sri Lanka!
Review by Ms. Lalanthi Rajapakse
Event Photographed by the Trinity College Media Unit