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Gamini Ratnavira

                                                     is a Master Wildlife Artist, devoting over 50 years to his profession.  He works in oils, acrylic, acryl gouache, watercolor and bronze.   His paintings depict rare and unique endangered species from the over 55 countries he has traveled to while attaining a bird list in the 4000’s.  He combines his sketches and photography to compose his paintings and occasional sculptures, often dreaming the compositions.

Gamini is a member of Society of Animal Artists and has exhibited in Leigh Yawkey Woodsen Art Museum’s Birds in Art and Animals in Art exhibitions.  He has also exhibited and sold his artwork at Charleston’s Southeastern Wildlife Art Expo, Easton’s Waterfowl Festival, Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Bonham’s Art auctions.  His life size Hyacinth Macaw bronze “Jewel of the Emerald Forest” exhibited from 2005 to 2006 in the National Geographic Society’s Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C. He is the founding artist and former show Director of the Reflections of Nature wildlife art show Fallbrook, Ca formed (1993-2021).

Gamini’s paintings reveal his love for nature and lifelong reverence for animals in the complex images and symbiotic relationships he depicts in his paintings often teaching the viewer about the native plants found with a specific species or a mutually beneficial relationship between them.  His Buddhist background from his native country of Sri Lanka reveals an undying gratitude and respect for the natural world he generously shares with his collectors in the paintings he creates.

His work is internationally collected including the late President of Sri Lanka President J.R. Jayawardene, the San Diego Natural History Museum a collection of 43 paintings depicting the endangered species of San Diego, the late Dr. James Clements author of Checklist of the Birds of the World and Birds of Peru, the Rare Bird Club of the United Kingdom and the Philatelic Bureau of Sri Lanka (He created 38 postage stamps still in use).  He worked with Prince Philip on a Let them Live conservation project creating elephant stamps selling 50% to the World Wildlife Fund before first day issue. 

Gamini was named Sri Lankan/American of the year in 2005 for his contribution in the art world including depicting the logo for the Department of Wildlife and Conservation where he also served as Advisor to the President on Conservation.  His years as a field technician working for the Smithsonian and Natural History Museum of Sri Lanka allowed him many opportunities to observe the flora and fauna he creates.  In addition, he illustrated Birds of Sri Lanka, Mammals of Sri Lanka, and contributed to many University of Colombo Field Guides as well as Brushes with Nature an Autobiography of the artist growing up in this beautiful tropical oasis.

After accompanying David Shepherd on a wildlife expedition throughout Sri Lanka in 1985 David’s words: “Just keep painting the nature you love” propelled Gamini towards conservation through painting as he embarked to the United States and became involved with raising funds for conservation.  He worked with: Parrots International, Vanishing Wildlife of Texas, American Federation of Aviculture, USARK, Fanconi Anemia research, Tapirs of the World, Hummingbird Society, Houston Zoo and San Diego Zoo, Boys and Girls Club, Tsunami and Fire victims, Prithipura Infant Home, and most importantly building the Natalie Ratnavira Education and Nature Center in Sri Lanka with the Wildlife Conservation Society of Galle.

He met his wife and Gallery Director, Lisa working on an elephant conservation project and their mutual love for animals and art became a love affair that continues over 25 years later.  They collaborate her poetry with his illustrations, observe nature and travel, sharing in their commitment to art and conservation.  Their legacy to their children Neil, Beau, Natalie and Brooks lives on in their paintings, books, the Natalie Ratnavira Nature and Educational Center and kind acts done in her memory.  Their sons Neil, Beau and Brooks each honor their sister Natalie, in the work that they do and in their lives.

Gamini is internationally collected, and his artwork can be visited at

Each stroke…
Hurried and researched
Each color
Expertly chosen for depth and value
Each paintbrush
Resembling the tools of eons
Each figure
Reflecting triangles of light
Each sunbeam
Catching the spirit of his laughter
Each raindrop
Enveloping the pain of his sorrows
Each eye
Reflecting the souls he has lived amongst
Each leaf
Reflecting nature as it is full of lessons and wisdom
Each masterpiece…each signature…reflecting the beauty
That only his lifetime could create.

~Lisa Warner Albright~
September 1998

All countries & states in color are places Gamini has traveled to for
shows, reference or bird watching. 

Sri Lanka, Maldives, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Japan, Australia, Tasmania, England, Whales,
Scotland, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Austria, Russia, Bosnia, Serbia, Czech Republic,
Poland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, E. Germany, W. Germany, South Africa, Mexico, US, Canada,
Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Peru, Bermuda, Panama, China, Balkans,
Canary Islands, Spain, Trinidad, Bahamas, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Colombia,

Andaman Islands, Uganda

ratnavira signature.jpg

“No Finer Naturalist”

"Gamini's artwork reflects his deep understanding of nature. I know of no finer naturalist."

~Master artist Carel Pieter Brest van Kempen~

“Nature Through His Painting”

"Gamini Ratnavira is one of the most talented wildlife artists I have known. He is a passionate conservationist who shares his love of life and nature through his painting."

~Michael W. Hager, Ph.D. Executive Director, San Diego Natural History Museum~

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