In the Kegalle District of Sri Lanka, Pinnawala is a village situated East of the capital Colombo and is mostly known for its elephant orphanage… this is exactly the reason why Pinnawala actually is a controversial name in our colour range.
All of our colour names refer to specific locations in Sri Lanka. Kandalama (green), Nayakakanda (white), Namal Uyana (pink) and the other names have a special meaning to me; either because of my roots, because I was touched by the vibe when visiting them or just because they are incredibly beautiful.
I will never forget the first time I visited Pinnawala in 1998... it was also the first time I went back to my country of birth. At age 17, I made a tour with my parents and a group of other (Dutch) parents and their children, mostly adopted from the island.
Naturally, the elephants in the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage made a great impression on me. I honestly have no idea how the animal welfare situation was in the late nineties, mainly because the general awareness, and my personal awareness unfortunately, was very low at the time for these kinds of things. Looking at the below image I really don't understand why the chains didn't give me any second thoughts though...
Today however, it is no secret that most of these animals in locations like Pinnawala live in very poor conditions, which saddens me deeply. Therefore, I want to be very clear that the Pinnawala reference in our colour range, for the dark grey towels and for the dark grey leaves on white bedlinen, does not mean that we support the current situation in the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage!
For me, Pinnawala refers to the amazing creatures that elephants are and to my childhood memory of touching one for the very first time.
If you like to read more about my background and the origin of Four Leaves; I'm very grateful for the in-depth interview in the June edition of JAN Magazine, which we may share with you online now. Click here to access it, it's in Dutch though ;-)
Shiran and team Four Leaves.