Saker Senaratne at Surrey Art Gallery’s opening reception last fall for our textile exhibitions. (Photo: Pardeep Singh)

Surrey woman marks 30 years as art gallery volunteer

Saker Senaratne received Shakti Award for community service

Saker Senaratne said when she began volunteering with the Surrey Art Gallery nearly three decades ago, she just wanted to be a part of the community.

Senaratne, 82, recently received the Shakti Award for Community Service.

“I was very excited, but I was surprised too,” said Senaratne of the art gallery nominating her for the award.

When Senaratne started volunteering all those years ago, she said it wasn’t her goal to stay for 30 years, “but I always wanted to.”

“That’s the place I wanted to be, always. I felt I just wanted to go on. No, I never thought I would stop unless something happens.”

Senaratne said she began volunteering as a way to be part of the community.

“I like to be part of the community and to give back a little bit of my time,” she said. “I’m interested in art, so I thought it would be good to volunteer at the Surrey Art Centre at the art gallery.”

Senaratne moved to Canada in 1975 after living in England where she said she was exposed to museums and galleries. She also studied fashion design at the London College of Fashion.

“I had done art and art history, as well. So, therefore, I was always interested in art and always liked to be connected (to art),” she said.

“I was always interested in (fashion design) as well, making clothes and all that. Always, always, from the very beginning when I was young.”

With her interest in fashion, Senaratne said one of her favourite exhibitions was the “Art of the Sari” exhibition in 2007.

“That was great, of course. There has been so many, it’s hard to even remember.”

Over the years, Senaratne said, she has learned “so much” as the exhibitions change “quite often.”

“We meet the artists and the educators and also the curators and learn so much from those exhibitions.”

While Senaratne is learning herself, as a docent at the gallery, a post from the Surrey Art Gallery congratulating Senaratne on her work says she has “toured with 20,000 children through various exhibitions.”

Senaratne said she has really enjoyed working with children over the years because she is “getting them interested in art.”

“There are so many different ways of looking at art, as well. They can learn how to look at the art as well.”

Asked how much longer she plans to volunteer at the Surrey Art Gallery, Senaratne said, “As long as I can. I enjoy it.”

“One thing I say for anybody to all the volunteers, to all new people, young people, to join the art gallery and be part of volunteering because it’s so much of learning,” she said. “Over the years, I have learned so much. It is not just giving your time, but it is also lots of your own development and lots of learning and also building friendships with the people as well.

“It’s a valuable experience to have.”

READ ALSO: Surrey Art Gallery needs volunteer tour guides for school groups, Jan. 17, 2019



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Lauren on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Voters in Saanich North and the Islands, here lining up outside Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre on the first day of advanced voting, are among the provincial leaders in getting in their votes early, with some 20 per cent (10,174) of eligible voters have already cast their ballots. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
It’s Election Day in B.C.: Here’s what you need to know to vote

B.C.’s snap election has already broken records for advance voter turnout, mail-in ballots

(Image: CDC)
Fraser Health orders Surrey food-processing facility to close amid COVID-19 outbreak

Staff member at Surrey long-term care facility also tests positive for the virus

Upgrades underway at the Sunnyside Reservoir, adjacent to Sunnyside Acres Urban Forest, raised concerns among some residents Tuesday (Oct. 20), however, stewards of the park say everything went off without a hitch. (Tracy Holmes photo)
‘No issue’ with South Surrey reservoir drainage, despite trail user concerns: urban forest steward

Forest visitor taken aback by ‘unprecedented flooding’ of trails

A reminder to students at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Six Surrey schools reporting COVID-19 exposures

INTERACTIVE TABLE: Search for schools, organize by exposure dates

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

The possibility of the Canadian Premier League expanding to the Fraser Valley has been floated online. (Facebook photo)
Canadian Premier League possibly eyeing Fraser Valley expansion

Soccer league looking to add ninth team to the mix, B.C. markets potentially rumoured

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

The family of Anika Janz, who died after collapsing at school, has launched a GoFundMe to assist with funeral proceedings. (GoFundMe photo)
Family of student who died launches GoFundMe

Rick Hansen Secondary School student Anika Janz, 14, died after collapsing in PE class

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

Most Read