Creating digital art has had a transformative impact to manage living with a rare long-term illness. I hope that Art can be considered as a therapeutic intervention given the impact creative expression & output can have on self management, supporting wellbeing. Creativity can be used to explore and represent one’s individual journey -The way chronic illnesses are constantly changing shape, defining and re-defining itself. 

I have used Art to cope with pain, my illness experience and adjust to living with a long-term condition. Through my artwork, I aim to reflect my personal experience to raise awareness around integrating creativity, healing with life altering situations. I am keen to tell others of my experiences as they may benefit from incorporating art or similar creative expressions into their own healing.            


Present day represents the Digital age where Digital technology in healthcare is continually changing the world at an ever-increasing pace. The opportunity that it provides as a digital story-telling personal narrative for people who experience long term health conditions can help communication between the 'patient' and the 'professional' helping the professional see beyond the list of symptoms and presentations to how the condition actually impacts on the persons life.

Especially with the use of digital medium for people with functional limitations how exploring the creative side to cope with daily challenges can be a constructive as well as an enjoyable pursuit given the plethora of life altering changes brought on by these conditions.


Despite challenging physical & emotional circumstances, there is still beauty within unpleasant situations.
— Shanali Perera


Education & Qualifications















Member Royal College of Physicians (UK)                                                                                                            July 2005                                                                                                                                                                   Royal College of Physicians London

MB.BS                                                                                                                                                                         June 2000                                                                                                                                                                  University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus, Trinidad & Tobago



- Royal College of Physicians London 

- British Society of Rheumatology 

- General Medical Council (GMC) UK

- Sri Lanka Medical Council

- Research User Group                                                                                                                                                 Centre for Musculoskeletal Research                                                                                                                       University of Manchester UK

- Arts, Health & wellbeing Special interest group                                                                                                        Royal Society of Public Health, UK


- Medical Education Partner                                                                                                                                      

  Manchester Medical School, UK


Past medical experience








I was appointment to a 4 year specialist training programme in Rheumatology within the West Midlands Workforce Deanery, Birmingham UK in August 2007. During my 3rd year of training, due to health reasons I had to take on ill health retirement in August 2012. 


Prior to this appointment I was attached to the Rheumatology Unit at Bristol Royal Infirmary, Bristol, UK as a Clinical and Teaching Fellow from October 2006 to August 2007.


I completed my pre-registration house officer posts, at Inverclyde Royal Hospital and at Lincoln County Hospital having graduated from the University of the West Indies (which was recognized by the GMC). I have done 3 1/2 years general medicine during which I took part in a 1:6 on call rota of acute unselected medical patients in Cheltenham and Gloucester.


During my attachment as a volunteer medical officer at the Military Hospital in Sri Lanka, I conducted Lectures in Anatomy for the trainee Assistant Medical Officers from October 2000 to June 2001. The Army Medical Services & the National Institute of Health Services in Sri Lanka organized this.


Throughout my medical training, I have been actively involved in teaching clinical skills and procedures; lecture, small group and bedside teaching with undergraduate medical and nursing students who rotated through the various medical departments I was attached to.


Career Aims
























My Roots





I embarked on an unexpected journey during my specialist medical training by becoming a patient in my own specialty. 8 years of numerous Accident & Emergency and hospital admissions, multiple consultations from various disciplines have given me some valuable insights into a patient’s journey.


I used digital applications for artwork to cope with pain, illness experience, adjust to living with a long-term condition. Through my artwork, I aim to reflect my personal experience to raise awareness on ‘Creative empowerment - exploring the healing power of art’. My personal insights as a physician and a patient into integrating creativity, healing & health on the use of creative expression as a tool to face some of the physical limitations & challenges imposed by chronic illnesses. 


By highlighting the potential benefits I felt by facilitating self-expression through creativity, I am working towards raising awareness on the role of art, its potential therapeutic benefits and use as part of non-medical approaches to self-management in people with long-term conditions (LTCs). For people who have difficulties with using a paintbrush or charcoal stick due to physical limitations due to Rheumatic/Musculoskeletal or other condition, the digital medium is a great solution - it works very well for me. There is room to further expand the role of digital medium for creative expression as a holistic approach to care, given the wealth of studies illustrating the beneficial effects of integrating creativity and healing in long-term conditions.I would very much like to generate a wider interest around this subject among patients, carers as well as health professionals and the general public. 


I hope to get involved in Health Education, Health Policy and systems focusing on the challenges and issues governing patient centred care and equity of access to health care. I would also actively seek involvement in evaluating the need to improve as well as be part of implementing frameworks for patient education, Medical education & management of chronic illnesses.


The dynamics that exist between patients and their health care providers within an increasingly complex and fragmented health care delivery system begs the question ‘do we address the centrality of the patients concerns’? My previous background as well as experience as a patient in Rheumatology has given me a unique perspective. Given the opportunity, I would also like to contribute towards improving quality of life for patients; considering the experience of illness ‘what is the matter’ as well as ‘what matters to the patient’ and influences from cultural and spiritual beliefs in pluralistic and secular societies.



Born in Kandy, Sri Lanka and schooled at Visakha Vidyalaya Colombo, I was raised in a multi-cultural society.

I have also been fortunate to live in India, the West Indies, Scotland and England which has given me further insight into individual cultural diversities, pluralism and languages. I am able to converse in English & Sinhalese.