Photo essay (plus repost of Nepali Times article) of the opening of a unique exhibition at Siddhartha Art Gallery showcasing the works of five artists, personally affected by the earthquake and addressing the nation’s trauma.
photos courtesy SAG, Muna Badel, Sandhya Silwal
REPOST OF THE FINE ARTICLE IN NEPALI TIMES:
The solace of art
A unique crossborder art initiative tries to remember the tragedy and pay tribute to the earthquake victims
By Michael Nishimura
As the anniversary of last year’s April earthquake approaches, a unique crossborder art initiative tries to remember the tragedy and pay tribute to the victims. Shortly after hearing about the disaster, over 90 Bangladeshi artists donated works and held a fundraiser at the Athena Gallery in Dhaka in solidarity with Nepali artists.
Supported by residencies at Kathmandu Contemporary Arts Centre and BINDU, Space for Artists, ‘The Solace of Art’ showcases the work of five artists severely affected by the earthquake, illustrating the nation’s collective trauma.
Sandhya Silwal and Anil Shahi’s pieces on the first floor of the exhibition focus on the simplicity of the everyday. Silwal uses light colored backgrounds juxtaposed with black cutouts, signifying the need to remove negativity from our lives through her intricate works channeling the Wheel of Life.
Similarly Shahi, through his theme of ‘Diaries of the Unsung’, envisions the daily lives of people on the street, utilising both broken and unbroken mirrors to inspire the viewer to interactively reflect on their own place in the community.
“Normally in our society, many people on the street are thought of as unsuccessful or broken. So in this piece, the visual pattern represents all kinds of people,” says Shahi. “It’s a sketch of everyone’s diary.”
Jeewan Suwal of Bhaktapur capture his city’s heritage in a combination of aesthetics ranging from striking colours of bright yellow and orange of monks’ robes to dark hued skies in varying textures. The spontaneity in his work encapsulating losses of home demonstrates the pains of overcoming trauma.
“After the earthquake I lost my home, I lost my father and I was traumatised. I was confused and I didn’t know how to start new work,” he says. “But then the mind clicked, and with support from Bangladeshi artists, everything became my inspiration. Gradually elements became more defined and I found my peace inside.”
Jenney Ghale and Muna Badel’s works occupy the final floor, dovetailing journeys of memory and self-reflection. Ghale from Dhading invokes the ‘selfie’ as a technological phenomenon that breeds superficiality and leaves the self paradoxically more isolated even in a crowd. As Ghale explores the gnawing human desire to be someone else, Badel’s series depicts a woman aging through time yearning for what once was. She portrays a stoic, wrinkled face that is guarded by vibrant dress, covering up emotions that changed vastly from those of a free-spirited youth.
Thirty-one other Nepali artists from different disciplines and a community in Sankhu were also supported by artists from Bangladesh in an effort to preserve culture and livelihood in the wake of the destruction.
The launch on March 13 was dedicated to recently deceased award winning Bangladeshi film director Khalid Mahmood Mithu, who along with his wife, Kanak Chanpa Chakma, spearheaded the fundraising effort.
His powerful words echo the themes of unity and resilience: “Because of the earthquake, all artists united for one aim, one goal. It was truly something inspirational and marvelous.”
‘The Solace of Art’ until 29 March at Siddhartha Art Gallery at Baber Mahal Revisited.
Kailash K Shrestha is visual artist based in Kathmandu. He graduated from Kathmandu University. He is also the initiator of Artudio “Centre for Visual Art”. He was the recipient of prestigious Australian Himalayan Foundation Art Award scholarship in 2009. He has participated in national and international workshops, residencies and exhibitions. He has also held two solo exhibitions. Kailash has initiated several street art projects all over Nepal using the medium of art to serve as a bridge to the community.
Kailash K Shrestha: ART is life (reposted from WOWmag Nepal)
From participating in several international group exhibitions, curating shows to becoming a university lecturer, Kailash K Shrestha is person with a special gift. The 29-year-old contemporary visual artist is the co-founder of Artudio – a centre for visual arts (see below for more information on this centre). He initiated the very first street art project in Kathmandu and then took it to different parts of Nepal with the idea of bridging art to the community through socio-political concepts, and turning every space to an open art gallery. The first recipient of the Young Artist Award in 2009 from The Australian Himalayan Foundation has established a community art centre in his birthplace Gairimudi, Dolakha to help people recover from the post-earthquake trauma through art.
Art is… Art for me is an exploration of individual experiences which come through a true process brought upon us by the realisation of truth. It is an addiction to live a life in a very gratifying way facing lots of challenges and experimenting at each and every step with endless possibilities.
Which medium do you like working with the most? I used to love acrylic paints. However, I have been exploring multiple mediums as per the demand of my ideas and concepts.
Your inspiration… My biggest inspiration are the little things happening around me; they may be small but are very important in life. These items/events/situations need deeper reflection that is to be seen and its manifestation accepted. My process involves being with one, accepting it and then turning it into art that may take any kind of form.
Your best work…
I could not tell… I’m on a continuous journey of art and I know it will continue till my physical and mental being is no more.
Favourite Nepali artist I love Shashi Bikram Shah’s powerful strokes, and Nabendra Limbu and Puran Khadka’s very sensitive thinking process and deep understanding of art.
One International Art Festival you would like to be part of and why? I would love to be a part of Venice Biennale. Considered as an Olympic for Art, the Venice Biennale has been one of the most prestigious cultural institutions in the world for over a century. Since its first International Art Exhibition in 1895, is has been organising various festivals from music to cinema (Venice Film Festival) to theatre. Hence, it’s a dream space not only for visual artists like me but also for those into music, cinema or even architecture.
If you weren’t an artist, you would be… Seriously, I cannot even imagine that…
Where can people contact you for your work… Artudio in Swoyambhu. This is my personal space where I work and spend most of my time. Artudio is a centre for Visual Art, a space for artists to come together and share. One can come to Artudio for my artwork as well as of my fellow artists and upcoming and promising artist creations. I can also be reached at www.kailashkshrestha.com
(First published http://wowmagnepal.com/quick-links/artist-corner/, date unknown)
EXTRA: About Artudio
Undoubtedly, the biggest place or may it be called the mecca for artists and art enthusiasts, quite a large number of people from children to adults make sure to visit Artudio during weekends. Established with careful attention to encourage art and photography, Artudio has a number of events to offer to anyone willing. From the Little Picasso Art programme for the children to the monthly open photography meets, photo guff, various workshops on photography and hobby sessions, you may take your pick and spend some portion of your weekends trying to be creative. For regular updates and easy access, Artudio’s Facebook page is the place to visit before dropping by the studio itself.
Kailash K Shrestha explains:
Firstly, the name ‘Artudio’ comes from a combination of two words – art and studio. Since it was my working studio and I practiced art here, I planned to call it Artudio. I remember vividly how it started—it was a Facebook status—merely a personal status from my profile calling upon interested individuals in art and photography for a meet at Basantapur Square. This was more than two years back. It was our first outdoor open art and photography meet-up. Today, Artudio has expanded massively. A widening of circle like this within this short span of time only through Facebook is something that not even I had imagined in the first place. Today, we have a huge network of art and photography enthusiasts who join us in our events and we have already produced over 18 batches of photography workshop graduates and seen through a couple of batches in the children’s art category. At Artudio, we are not here to teach anyone, we all share what we know and that’s how we all learn. If there’s anything we impart, then that is arousing the feeling inside oneself to appreciate art.
Today artist Sujan Dangol posted a youtube film in the “My Diary” series which appears to be quite intriguing. Unfortunately it is not subtitled, so only a small part of our audience (the Nepali speakers) will be able to understand it. But don’t worry, I have found a nice interview with Sujan which was printed in 2014 in the KATHMANDU POST and rounds out the picture in a good way.
Painting by Sujan Dangol
See the video here:
… and the interview here:
The art of life (reposted from KATHMANDU POST 23-09-2014 )
Off the track: Sujan Dangol
For Sujan Dangol, real art is all about attitude. It is a metaphor that reflects everything that is happening around the artist. Sujan, an artist who likes to work on projects involving the community, was one of the artists involved in CAFE in Asia project, where Nepali and Korean artists collaborated to make a three-dimensional Ganesh out of cardboard boxes. The team will now be heading to South Korea with the project, but will feature a different deity this time. Sujan is currently pursuing his master’s degree in painting, and is planning a solo exhibition sometime next year. Rajita Dhungana caught up with the artist to talk about his love for art, and his interest outside of it. Excerpts:
Why did you choose to pursue art?
I have no clear idea about that. I used to draw and paint as a kid, but I was also equally interested in sports and music. I had not thought of pursuing art back then. I enrolled in a management programme for my Bachelors but it did not interest me at all. So I eventually decided to take up art.
I joined the fine-art course at Lalitkala, but even then I was not sure regarding what I wanted to do in life. Rather than going to college and attending regular classes, I enjoyed travelling to see and paint different landscapes and cityscapes. Then I joined KUart for my future studies. Because I got the opportunity to learn under good instructors and the right environment there, I started enjoying art.
Who do you look up to as a source of inspiration? One of my uncles used to make very good drawings. I was always fascinated by his work. Maybe that inspired me to make similar drawings back then. Initially, I found it quite difficult even to make simple shapes. But through practice and experience, I think I have grown to become an artist. My teachers at KUart have inspired me a lot too. I also got the opportunity to attend an art residency in South Korea sometime back. The works of art I saw there, and the professors I encountered, further influenced and encouraged me to work harder.
What are your interests apart from art?
I like listening to music and playing guitar. I listen to The Doors mostly. I’m also fond of Latin music. Other than that, I enjoy travelling. Working all the time makes life monotonous and blocks the creative process. So, for me, travelling is a form of refreshment and it helps generate ideas.
Any particular place you like to go to? I like going to the southern belt of Nepal. Ifind their culture rich and interesting. Despite challenging weather, I think people are quite hard working and their life style is quite interesting. I also like the food there. So whenever I visit the area, I feel energised and get the chance to fill my drawing book.
Are you much of a reader? Not really. I’ve never been fond of reading and writing. I ‘read’ only when I am able to get my hands on audio books.
Whenever friends recommend a book, I try to find an audio version of it. More than reading books, or watching television, I prefer using social networking sites like YouTube and Facebook.
Do you like to collect anything? I think there are very good painters in Nepal. Some of their works are so powerful and easily appeal to the audience.
For me, a piece of art should be underpinned by an apt concept and, at the same time, should be able to communicate visually. So, whenever I see paintings that catch my fancy, I try to exchange them with my works. Some of my friends have been generous enough to gift artworks to me.
If not an artist, what would you have become? As a kid, I dreamt of becoming an automobile engineer. But since I did not like studying science and mathematics, I had to let go of the dream. But now, probably to compensate for a lost dream, I try to create artworks that incorporate mechanical structures.
Any word of advice to upcoming artists? Be strong-willed and never be afraid to experiment.
Wherever you go, there are but a handful of people who actually admire works of art.
And it’s no different in Nepal. However, if you keep working honestly, you’ll definitely get an admirer or a curator, who will appreciate your work.
The scope of art is ever growing . So, when you build your contacts, you will not have to stay idle.
What are you future plans? I want to come up with art projects that involve communities. I also want to experiment incorporating music and art together. Since art is a cultural product, I also want my works to carry strong cultural undertones. And through my works, I want to create harmony in the society.
Moreover, I want to come up with something that encourages people to preserve culture and live a sustainable life.