THE VALUE OF MASKS INDUSTRY TO SRI LANKA

Many of the locals buy and hang masks in their own houses for the goodness and to get the God’s wishing to the house. Foreigners also somewhat believe the believing of the Masks hanging in their houses. More than that foreigners buy masks for their uniqueness and traditionalism that a mask contains. The colors and the expressions the masks get the foreigners attraction. The Ambalangoda Masks Museum has many of the very old, original traditional masks and they do present the history and the details of the masks to the visitors to the museum. This massively supports to increase the foreigners Masks awareness and the marketing.

And there are Masks dancing shows organize for the foreigners at Ambalangoda. Foreigners get more attract to masks once they see the Masks dancing done wearing Masks. Its make them more understandable of the meaning of different kind of masks as well. Masks Industry has been one of the main sources of foreign currency to the Sri Lanka. And it opens the door for many job opportunities. The job opportunities start from the Kaduru tree suppliers, the other painting material suppliers, craftsmen, masks painters, sellers, masks dancers, tourist guides and shipping lines etc.

TOURISM INVOLVEMENT ON MASKS INDUSTRY

Masks manufacturing and the selling is mainly depend on the tourism. Though there is a local market open for the Masks industry, the most of the selling and the profits are from the foreign market. In the other hand, the tourism totally depends on the country situation. According to the statistics on tourists arrivals (data from the Airport Surveys and Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority); there has been a significant increase of tourist arrival during the peace period starting from 2002. But unfortunately with the war in 2008 to 2009; it shows a considerable drop on the tourists’ arrivals which affected the Masks Industry.

CRAFTSMENS AND RAW MATERIALS AVAILABILITY FOR MASKS INDUSTRY

The raw materials used for Masks Industry are mostly from the villages itself and not available in any other country to import. According to the facts gathered from the Masks Manufactures in Ambalangoda, they do have a separate set of workers who supply the Kaduru wood to the manufactures. But according to the facts from the manufactures it self, it was raised the concern that now a days, the supply is slightly meeting the requirement. The manufactures gave the reason as; the suppliers don’t grow the Kaduru tree purposely for their business and they cut the existing Kaduru trees in the area and then supply. Hence the manufactures already have the concern of not having enough supply to meet the demand.

As per the manufactures, they don’t have any alternative wood also to use for Masks Carving. The craftsmen that involve in Masks industry are mostly from the tradition and they don’t have much of higher educational background as well. As per the facts from manufactures, most of the craftsmen join the masks carving just after giving up the school and they don’t have any suitability and education or financial strength for higher education. Manufactures don’t see this as a drawback as they are doing the Masks Carving job at their best. But manufactures have seen the facts that now a days, it is very less number of people give-up the school at least before their Advance Level and most people go for the higher education or other careers and the trend of craftsmen joining the industry on Masks carving ahs been very minimal. Up to the painting of masks it has to be Male employees who do the work on most of the time it is Female employees who work on the final part of paining the masks.

As per the facts from the Manufactures they do have a separate outsourcing craftsmen who supply the completed Masks it selves to the masks manufactures or to the Mask selling people. These outsourcing craftsmen do the buy or find the raw materials by them selves and do the masks carving and sell to the manufactures or the selling outlets directly according to the demand. And one important point that manufactures mentioned about this out sourcing craftsmen are, their main income source or their main occupation is not the masks carving. They do have some other income sources and they do the Masks carving on need basis or on demand basis as another source of income. urther, manufactures mentioned this Masks outsourcing method was initiated and started during the War period.

As the tourism decreases, the Masks Industry also decreases and hence most of the craftsmen were asked resign from the large manufactures and then these craftsmen started looking for other occupation and they did the Masks carving if there is any demand only. They are still continuing this and as per the facts, in year late 2009 to 2010 they have more involved in Masks Carving with the increase of tourism which is resulting more masks demand.

GOVERNMENT INVOLVEMENT AND SUPPORT TOT EH MASKS INDUSTRY

According the information gathered from the manufactures, there has not been a significant support from the government to the Masks Industry. In 1980 decade there has been events organized by the Government for the Masks industry publication around other countries and during that time the Government has given sponsorships to the Masks Manufactures and traditional Masks Dancers to visit different countries and participating on commercial activities. Masks is a subject which can be included in the university subjects and make the new generation aware of the value of the industry. This way they should be able to get much more visibility towards to the Masks Industry and specially the Masks Dancing. Masks Dancing is a very demanding among the foreign countries and that should be promote as a one of the main foreign income source to the Sri Lanka.

IMPROVEMENT THAT CAN BE TAKEN FOR THE MASK INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT

As per the facts given by manufactures, Tourism is the main success factor of the Masks industry development and ways and simply increasing the tourist awareness and attraction to the Masks is the key point that can help on Masks Industry development. Mean time, additional to the Traditional Masks manufactures, there are many small size business masks manufacturing beginners also popping up and having or giving them the opportunity to for publicity and marketing through out by events organized by the government such as exhibitions in Sri Lanka and other countries, and opening up contacts and connections for the local sellers to the foreign markets also would be very helpful for the Masks Industry development.

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