Jul 12, 2018

JAT Petal Paint turns discarded temple flowers into timeless art

In Buddhism, flowers signify the fragility and impermanence of life. Each day thousands of devotees across Sri Lanka bring a multitude of floral offerings to their respective temples. However, due to the sheer volumes, it’s not long before these sacred blooms are unceremoniously cleared away and left to wither and die as garbage.

Struck by the scale of this wastage, JAT Paints saw an opportunity to give these flowers a higher purpose that transcended beyond a single offering.

Collaborating with temples island wide, the company began collecting the organic discards, and sorting them out by colour to be dried. Using a state-of-the-art extraction process, JAT’s team of technicians isolated the flowers’ natural pigments to create an innovative range of emulsions christened, Petal Paint.

Safe and durable in nature, these paints were then used by master artists to restore faded temple art across Sri Lanka – thereby ensuring that these once cherished offerings were given a second chance of life that preserved the island’s culture and heritage forever.

Petal Paint was manufactured in five natural colours – each of which is associated with a hue in the Budu Res (Buddha’s halo) – Lotus Red, Pigeonwing Blue, Trumpet Yellow, Marigold Orange and Temple Flower White. These 5 colours of paint was manufactured in 5 different volumes; Orange (1890 ml), White (946 ml), Red (473 ml), Yellow (236 ml) and Blue (118 ml). Each packaging was intricately labelled with a design derived from temple art itself.

Conceptualised by Leo Burnett Sri Lanka, and executed in partnership with Leo Burnett Toronto, the Petal Paint initiative scored an ‘8-ball’ at the network’s prestigious Global Product Committee review, and is rapidly gaining worldwide recognition. Mark Tutssel, Executive Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of Leo Burnett Worldwide stated: “This revolutionary idea harnesses the power of creativity to positively impact the world. It's a wonderful example of a brand giving something back to Sri Lanka's heritage and culture. This innovative work not only invites people to engage in a truly unique way, it also ensures the very important preservation and restoration of sacred temple art."

Also commenting on the initiative, Ven. Beragama Wimaladhama Thero, Chief Incumbent of Nawala Vimala Viharaya said: “This noble effort ensures that temple flowers, which are given with the greatest respect, have a more meaningful purpose and impact on our revered places of worship. Petal Paint breathed new life into faded flowers, enabling them to become a timeless offering. This process preserves these precious petals that are given with so much veneration, and makes them an integral part of our holy temples. The murals that were restored with Petal Paint, tell the stories of the Buddha and highlight important religious events and tenants. In their new liquid form, the petals continue to remain a heartfelt offering – but one that leaves a lasting impression.

Using the latest technology in paint manufacturing, JAT was able to produce 50 litres of paint from every 2114 kilograms of dried flower petals. In addition to finding a meaningful way to use the discards, the initiative also helped to reduce the daily waste from temple sites across the country, keeping it out of landfills and easing the burden on garbage collectors. All in all, the entire process fused art and creativity with sustainability – whilst most importantly, preserving the reverence of the flowers.

With the launch of Petal Paint, the manufacturer JAT Paints plans to restore multiple temple murals across the country. The first such restoration project was undertaken at the shrines in Sri Sudarmarama Poorana Maha Viharaya, Ganegama and Akuressa. “We created Petal Paint to give something back to Sri Lanka’s heritage and culture,” says Richard Gunawardene – Head of Marketing at JAT Holdings. “Petal Paint combines the best of our traditional culture – the use of pigments from nature – with the most advanced technology in paint manufacturing, to create a paint that matches the traditional temple mural colours and also provides a more long-lasting solution to temple artists.”

JAT Paints is a part of JAT Holdings, one of Sri Lanka’s award-winning conglomerates, which has a strong commitment to delivering sustainable practices and protecting the environment through the products that it manufactures and distributes. JAT has introduced several world-class paints and finishing product brands to Sri Lanka and continuously spearheads the development of new innovations and product variants.