Siddhartha Art Gallery is presently showing a collection of sculptures of veteran ceramic artist Gopal ‘Kalapremi’ Shrestha, and Georgian sculptor Gigisha Pachkoria. The sculptures were created during a one-month long ceramic workshop organised by the Siddhartha Arts Foundation.
Gigisha Pachkoria has come a long way from Georgia, where he is a wellknown artist. His joined effort with Gopal Kalapremi was sparked by their common interest in the promotion of ceramics art, which unfortunately is losing its authenticity in Nepal.
As Gopal Kalapremi expresses with passion: “I believe our contribution will aspire budding artists.” He also pointed out that more work by other artists would soon be on display at the gallery after the Dashain and Tihar festivities are over.
All photos: courtesy Rupesh Man Singh
Kalapremi’s specialty lies in ceramic pottery and reviving the traditional ways of creating such sculptures.
He recently showed his work in Denmark,—Tattoo Bulls and Heroes— and his creations were highly appreciated by the international audience.
On his current work, Kalapremi comments: “I always try to incorporate my identity as Nepali in my imagination as an artist.”
All photos: courtesy Rupesh Man Singh
Gallerist Sangeeta Thapa considers Kalapremi one of the foremost ceramic sculptors of Nepal. She expresses her appreciation: “I have known Gopal since 1997 and I must say that his work has evolved in the last two decades. Unlike many other artists, his work has grown organically and with every new work he manages to outdo himself.” She points out that for this exhibition Kalapremi and Pachkoria have used various eccentric techniques, such as beer firing, to create their sculptures.
Kalapremi is also set to organise another ceramic exhibit by Danish and Iranian sculptors in November.
The current exhibit will run until Oct 8, 2017
At the opening, from second left: artist Gopal Kalapremi, artist Gigisha Pachkoria, photographer Rupesh Man Singh, as well as fellow artist Meena Kayastha
Artist Erina Tamrakar’s exhibition In Between the Third Eye opens out the world of women, their feelings and emotions to Kathmandu visitors exposed to the daily grind of a squalid urban life.
Painted in hues of vibrant reds, blues, greens, the audience is compelled to connect with Tamrakar at two levels: sensual portraits that dazzle us and at the same time force us to think deeply about female empowerment and awareness.
“When I paint, I don’t paint with a concept beforehand,” said Tamrakar, who has returned to the exhibition circuit after two years. “It’s like the canvas and I have a conversation. I create as I paint.”
The exhibition contain her works from 2010 right up to some recent paintings, including some from the popular series Third Eye and Mustang which are inspired by her travels (pic, below).
On entering the Park Gallery, the visitor confronts the canvas titled ‘Third Eye’ (pic, top) which is washed in red, and depicts a group of women with their eyes closed, but on each of their forehead the artist has painted the third eye.
“When we have to introspect, we close our eyes,” said Tamrakar for whom the third eye stands for awareness, the ability to know right from wrong. Disheartened by the growing number of cases reported for violence against women, the artist aims to inform her public about the importance of empowering women.
As in her previous works, none of the subjects directly look at the viewer. For Tamrakar, it is her way of making the audience engage with the emotions of her subjects rather than establishing direct contact.
The entire two floor of Park Gallery is filled with Tamrakar’s work, each carries its own message. In some women are on an equal footing with nature, in others the emotions of women are captured in a single artwork.
Tamrakar’s recent works also use monochromes, which portray an evolving society: paintings of women alongside safa tempos that they drive (pic, below). “It’s a step forward for the society,” said the artist. She believes it is only with financial independence that women can fully be independent. (Pics: Smriti Basnet)
Artist Meena Kayastha (1983) lives and works in Kathmandu. She is considered a“chronicler of the woes of industrialization”. She is known to transform recycled and discarded objects into works of art through her astute and creative ideas. She sometimes even combines musical instruments with junkyard scrap to bring out the emotive quality of human figures. A recent entrant into the art scene, Kayastha’s work has been described as ‘boldly dada-esque’.
She is a graduate of the Department of Arts and Design, Kathmandu University, Nepal. The show at Siddhartha Gallery is her second major solo exhibition there and will continue through January 11th, 2017.
See a short video of her work before the repost of a KATHMANDU POST article on the recent opening of the exhibition below.
A solo art exhibition, titled “Divine Debris” which features work by Meena Kayastha is currently on display at Siddhartha Art Gallery in Babarmahal in the capital. The exhibit that features 19 of artist Kayastha’s paintings, where the rubble from last year’s quakes serves as canvases, was inaugurated by Dr Arzu Rana Deuba.
Most of the paintings feature Hindu gods and goddesses as subjects, highlighted by a series of Navadurgas painted on traditional wooden doors.
Speaking to the Kathmandu Post, artist Kayastha said, “After the April 25 earthquake, Bhaktapur was utterly devastated, particularly its wooden artifacts for which the city is famous for. I wanted to turn this debris into art.”
Besides using traditional wooden doors as a base, the artist has also made use of shovels, lawn mowers and bicycles and morphed them into goddesses like Vaisnavi, Kumari, Bhrahmayani, Barahi, Indrayani and gods such as Swet Bhairav, Ganesha, and Yamaraj, among others.
Speaking on why she chose the Navadurga series as the focal point for the exhibit, Meena Kayastha said, “I chose Navadurga because they are the protectors of Bhaktapur city and I chose the doors for the base because they also symbolize protection that shields one from the external threats.” She added, “Further, I aim to point out the hypocrisy in our society where real women are treated as second class citizens, whereas goddesses are worshipped in almost every corner of the country.”
The artworks that took two years to complete have been priced at NRs 200,000 each.
Just before it’s over a quick post about a great exhibit at Siddhartha Art Gallery. I got to participate in the opening of two stunning young artists,Shraddha Shrestha aka Deadline and Kiran Maharajan aka H11235, with Kiran’s eye-catching cartoon-like paintings and Shraddha’s calligraphy influenced artworks. So finally street-art inspired paintings have made their way into the gallery!
The joint painting exhibition — ‘Holy Head Space’ by Deadline and ‘Life Is’ by H11235 — was kicked off on April 14 and lasts through May 10, 2016.
Let me repost from the Himalayan Times which came out on 17 April with a nice article on the exhibition (with slight modifications):
Wondering why the artworks of these street artists are in the gallery? Shraddha and Kiran are the recipients of the Australian Himalayan Foundation Art Award 2015. Since 2010 the Australian Himalayan Foundation has been awarding Nepali artist from various genres — traditional thanka painters, contemporary artists, print makers and street artists — to showcase their talent. And the winners of this award put forth an exhibition of their works, this being the sixth edition.
The works on display prove the high calibre of these artists’ — and justifies their awards. The two artists have expressed themselves in awesome figurative forms using their brilliant concept, skill, and colours.
Deadline’s (more on the artist here) paintings spread across the ground floor of the gallery. Her works are based on religious figures of Hinduism — Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesh, Goddess Parvati, Airawat elephant, Lord Narshigh, et cetera. Interestingly, rather than presenting their stereotypical images, she has presented them through extra terrestrial life, aliens and monsters. Fun to watch, the animated paintings are striking in bold neon shades — of pink, yellow, orange, green, et cetera.
For instance, in ‘Family Portrait’ she has painted the family of Lord Shiva and their bahan (vehicles). Deadline has transformed Shiva, his wife Parvati and two sons Kumar and Ganesh into aliens through clever use of colours and modification of their physical features. Lord Shiva in blue colour has three eyes but does not have a forehead and hair. Three eyes are seen popping out forming a head with a long beard. Parbati too has three eyes in shades of pink, half of her hair is maintained in a bun and other half is kept loose. Then Kumar’s rectangular face has eight purple eyes. Ganesh with bright yellow round eyes and green body is wearing dhoti. Their bahan — bull, peacock, mouse and tiger — resemble soft toys.
However, works of H11235 (more about Kiran here) have serious tone — they compare and contrast the qualities of humans and animals. He has used the technique of photo realism, calligraphy and deconstructivism to create his works.
In one of his painting ‘Beginning’, he has painted a new born baby of human and calf of an elephant. He has painted it in the grey backdrop with elements of calligraphy in white. The body of the baby and calf are merged — their different body parts are placed together to form one complete body. The body parts are placed in synchronised way, without any difficulty to watch the distorted form of lives.
On Thursday 31st March Saroj Bajracharya’s “The Missing Link” solo exhibition very successfully opened at PARK GALLERY Rnjc, Pulchowk, in Kathmandu. The exhibition will remain open until 31st of May.
(For more information on the artist see a second post here!)
Saroj Bajracharya has been in the art field for more than two decades. He has been actively involved in many facets of art, including painting, writing, curating and coordinating art events, as well as teaching. He has various group shows and solo exhibitions to his credit and has authored two books: “Future of History” and “A Concise Introduction to Nepali Modern Sculpture”.
His first group show dates back as far as 1994. Since then he has participated in a great number of art activities and was selected to participate in the curatorial research program by the the National Museum of Contemporary Art in South Korea in 2008. This is his 5th solo exhibition: THE MISSING LINK.
Why “The Missing Link”?
While previously having dealt with a sense of not-belonging or a state of belongingness the artist presently focuses on the idea of the missing link.
Saroj is a conceptual figurative artist and his artworks are complex: cosmonauts are the protagonists of his works, supported by the sea, a chair, or just mild colors in the background.
The “missing link” is a contested term used by scientists to point out the span of evolution from ape to human. The artist uses this term instead to point out the blurry aspect of human consciousness. He believes that humans are result-oriented and seldom value the process involved. “In the process itself lies our undiscovered fragment of history. It is the unending construction that shapes us”, explains the artist. This easily overlooked process constitutes the missing link for Bajracharya. “If one focuses on this missing link, then the clarity in our thoughts will make our life more alive and profound”.
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.
What there is to see at the Taragaon Museum is as much about the museum complex as it is about the museum collection, a documentation of Nepal’s cultural, anthropological, architectural, and artistic history as made by foreign scholars and researchers. The distinct, barrel-vaulted rooms which museumgoers need to navigate as they walk through the permanent exhibits were originally built by Carl Pruscha to house temporary visitors who came to Nepal seeking encounters with its landscape, its culture, and its people.
In the 1950s, when the decision to open Nepal to the larger world was made and implemented, it was not just a Hindu kingdom on the Himalayan foothills that was introduced to the 20th century but also the century–rapidly changing with technology as it was and drastically affected by the two world wars–that was introduced to this country. As foreign visitors who came here in the 50s and increasingly in the 60s and the 70s, took in the sights and sounds of the country– specifi cally the capital Kathmandu, and breathed in heavy bits of it, Nepal too took its few first steps into the modern era.
To the foreigners who came here–some seeking research and documentation, others exploits and experiences; all of them adventure and understanding in one form of another–the country must have seemed a romantic idyll of the oriental sort. Nepal’s forests were pristine then, its villages as if trapped in time warps. Up until 1957, when the Tribhuvan Highway was built, there weren’t even motorable roads that lead to Kathmandu, just paths on which it was not cars that ferried men but men in their hundreds who carried cars on their backs to the Capital. Documentation is central to Taragaon Museum’s goal and existence. The photographs, drawings, sketches and other pieces of crucial visual information that are in its collection record Nepal’s recent history and showcase it to a people who are fast-forgetting the city Kathmandu used to be.
To those entering it for the first time, Kathmandu Valley must have seemed a city left untouched since the middle ages. Indeed, the architecture of the Valley was still largely dominated by elements from the Malla Era at the time. The white plaster, classical columns and Venetian windows that the Ranas brought into Kathmandu were largely limited to their own homes and palaces.Brick-walled and often more than two storied–their tiled roofs double-pitched saddles, and their structures supported by brick and timbre–the typical homes and residences of Kathmandu still retained the typical Malla-era Newar house characteristics.
These houses were joined together and built around a central courtyard, and community–the very fabric of Newar culture–was manifested in the architecture.Kathmandu was a walking city full of old routes back then, and its water was still largely supplied by stone spouts. To those who laid eyes on it for the first time, the Capital must have been an exotic land, a place unlike any other in the world. It was these eyes, foreign eyes that recognised the wonder of what must have been a beautiful and exceptionally unique city, which presented the first documentations of Kathmandu and its periphery. The foreigners who came here at the time studied the Valley’s culture and recorded it for posterity.
And this documentation is what we get to see at the Taragaon Museum, Bouddha (the Hyatt Regency compound), an exhibition space that houses permanent collections– photographs, sketches and architectural drawings, mostly–inside premises built by Carl Pruscha, the Austrian architect extensively involved in Kathmandu’s urban planning in the 1970s, and revered not just for the brilliance of his regional designs but also the instrumental role he played in getting Nepal’s cultural heritage on the world map.
What there is to see at the Taragaon Museum is as much about the museum complex as it is about the museum collection. The exhibition space is scattered across the roughly 16 rooms that were originally built by Pruscha as temporary residences for foreigners visiting Kathmandu and boarding at the Taragaon Hostel. The hostel itself was planned as part of the larger Tara Gaon Village, a tourist complex envisioned by Angur Baba Joshi, a woman born in Kathmandu’s Dillibazaar in 1932 and educated at Oxford in the 1960s, a time at which few women in the country even got a chance at receiving an education. It was Joshi’s wish to “propagate Nepali culture” and “promote Nepaliness in the tourism industry”, that planted the seed, as it were, of Taragaon in the late 60s, and the museum that we see today is a reflection of that wish in many ways.
The architecture of the complex will seem immediately familiar to anyone who has walked into the superlatively designed and appallingly maintained CEDA building at Tribhuvan University.
The drumroofed structures that repeat throughout the complex are based on barrel-vaulted structures that sheltered pilgrims–“a kind of Pati” as Pruscha calls them–which the architect came across at temple complexes in Kathmandu while conducting research here in the 1970s
Individual drumroofed structures, the actual exhibition rooms at the Taragaon Museum, lead to common courtyards where art performances, book launches and social gatherings take sometimes place.
Here, Pruscha’s modern Chinese kiln-fired red bricks–a material he chose to work with for the aesthetic and structural affinities it shares with Kathmandu’s traditional Dachi brick structures–bring the sort of Nepaliness Joshi was aiming for in her Tara Gaon complex to a very modern design. A letter dated May 13, 2010– portions of which have been transcribed and blown up for display at the Taragaon Museum–provides insight into the actual designing of the complex. In passages readable at the museum, Pruscha talks about how the centre and focus of his design for the Taragaon Hostel, the drumroofed structures that repeat throughout the complex and give it a structural harmony that has an almost classical underpinning to it, were based on barrelvaulted structures–“a kind of Pati” as he calls them–he came across at temple complexes in Kathmandu in the 70s, serving as shelter for pilgrims.If form does follow function, then the basic form of the Taragaon Museum, what Pruscha calls the “prototype” for his design, can be seen as following the same sheltering purpose that these Patis provided religious devotees.
The pilgrims’ at the Taragaon Hostel came here seeking encounters with the Nepali landscape, its culture and its people, and for Pruscha it was extremely important that he give these temporary residents the kind of space that would serve their needs–for contemplation as much as interaction, perhaps, and privacy as much as society.
Hence the individual drum-roofed structures, the actual exhibition rooms at the Taragaon Museum, today lead to a community building–the Museum cafe, as well as common courtyards where art performances, book launches and social gatherings sometimes take place. The function of the complex has been revised with the deliberate purpose of documenting an era and a way of life that is gradually slipping from living memory. The Saraf Foundation–which endeavours to support the preservation, restoration and documentation of the arts and heritage of Kathmandu–turned a beautiful and culturally-historically significant complex that had fallen into disuse and subsequent disrepair into a documentation centre.
The Museum today houses and displays to the public a significant body of work that the artists, photographers, architects, anthropologists and Sanskritists who travelled to Nepal in the second half of the 20th century have left behind.“Those foreign scholars and professionals who worked and lived in Nepal these past couple of decades are leaving, and their work is often leaving with them,” explains Roshan Mishra, museum manager at Taragaon as he talks about the documentation that is central to Taragaon Museum’s goal and existence. These photographs, drawings, sketches and other pieces of crucial visual information record our recent history, and it is this history that the museum showcases brilliantly as well. “The pictures we have in our collection might have ended up in garages in different parts of the world,” Mishra continues. The Taragaon Museum saves these works, the museum director points out, and enables visual documentation in a manner never before been attempted in Nepal.
Images from as far back as the 19th century are currently in the museum collection, the two oldest being an 1853 etching and a 1863 photograph of Kathmandu. The architect, photographer and author Niels Gutschow (who is also involved in a curatorial role with the Museum), photographer Kevin Bubriski (who has been documenting the Nepali landscape and its people in haunting black-and-white images that stick to you since the 1970s), photographer and theoretical physicist Jaroslav Poncar, photo activist Thomas L Keely, architectural photographer Ursula Schulz-Dornburg, and photographer, journalist and author Tiziano Terzani are amongst the expatriate documentarians whose work the Taragaon Museum has in its permanent collection.
Last night a fantastic and important exhibit opened at NEPAL ART COUNCIL. The project by artist Joy Lynn Davis documents community response to the theft of stone sculptures from the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal through a series of photo-realistic paintings and research about the sites where the sculptures originated.
An exhibition of paintings and research by Joy Lynn Davis partnering with Photo.Circle and sponsored by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and Swiss Embassy in Nepal with additional support by UNESCO and the Himalayan Art and Cultural Heritage Project
About the artist Joy Lynn Davis
Joy Lynn Davis is an artist from California. She divides her time between Santa Barbara, California, and Patan, Nepal. She has been an artist in residence at Kathmandu Contemporary Arts Centre (2012-13) and the Santa Fe Art Institute (2008, 2009). She received her BA in Art from the University of California Santa Barbara in 2002, where she focused on painting and digital art. In addition, she has studied the Tibetan and Nepali languages, Himalayan art history and religions, as well as traditional thangka painting. Her acrylic and gold leaf paintings often combine realism with traditional Nepali and Tibetan motifs and styles.
Her paintings are the culmination of travels, interviews, photography, and art surveys conducted in Asia since 2003. Joy Lynn Davis is also the founder and president of the Himalayan Art and Cultural Heritage Project, a U.S. based non-profit (501c3 status pending) working to protect the artistic and cultural heritage of Nepal and the greater Himalayan region by promoting public awareness and education, encouraging scholarship, supporting preservation efforts and the continuation of artistic practices, discouraging illicit-traffic and facilitating voluntary returns of cultural artifacts.
About the project “Remembering the Lost Sculptures of Kathmandu”
Since the 1960s, thousands of Buddhist and Hindu sculptures have disappeared from Nepal’s public temples, shrines, courtyards, fountains, and fields. Prior to the thefts, nearly all of these sculptures were actively worshiped as living deities and their absence is deeply felt in their local communities.
In this project, paintings, interviews, and photographic documentation weave together narratives of these sacred spaces, exploring how people respond when religious art objects—that exist, not as commodities, but as vital living community participants—are physically removed.
Davis’ large-scale paintings bridge the present and past states of these sacred spaces by realistically depicting the sites as they look presently and then visually “repatriating” the stolen sculptures back into those sites with 23 karat gold. The use of gold provides a visual language revealing which sculptures have been stolen and references the commodification of the sacred through its associations with both wealth and divinity. Didactic panels accompany each painting, featuring historical images of the stolen sculptures, current photographs of the sites, information about the sculptures and any replicas, and excerpts of interviews with local elders, devotees, temple caretakers, and children. A website (rememberingthelost.com) accompanies the project, allowing viewers see a map of the sacred sites, and to search and sort a database of information and photographs of all known thefts.
In context of the ongoing problem of art theft—not just in Nepal, but worldwide—this project contributes to dialog about the international art trade and increases public awareness about the cultural significance of Nepal’s sculptures. In Nepal, the website and exhibitions provide a forum for people to acknowledge losses of their deities and exchange ideas on preserving what remains. After being shown in Nepal, the exhibition is intended to travel to public libraries, museums, and universities worldwide, offering visual and cultural context to sculptures that many people would otherwise only see in museums. People outside of Nepal will have the opportunity to see stolen sculptures in their original context, read narratives shared by the communities where the sculptures originate, and engage in the larger conversation about the intersection of art, faith, and the trade of cultural property. The interdisciplinarity and visual basis of this project make it easily accessible to the general public in Nepal and worldwide.
Project Background and Acknowledgments
The research presented here provides a follow-up to two important publications, Stolen Images of Nepal by Lain Singh Bangdel and The Gods are Leaving the Country by Jürgen Schick, which provide photographs of 120 sculptures stolen between 1960 and 1989. Their books inspired and enabled Davis to revisit the sites of thefts, where the photographs contained within them sparked the memories of people in those communities. Without the efforts of Lain Singh Bangdel, Jürgen Schick, and other scholars of Nepali art and culture, memories would serve as the only record of so many beautiful and significant sculptures.
Siddhartha Art Gallery (SAG) and The Australian Himalayan Foundation are jointly organising an exhibition of etchings at the SAG premises in Babermahal from April 15. The show will feature works of contemporary artists Saurganga Darshandhari and Surendra Maharjan. Australian Ambassador to Nepal, Glenn White, will be inaugurating the exhibition at 5:30 pm during the opening day.
Saurganga Darshandhari is a visual artist and printmaker based in Kathmandu. She received her MFA in printmaking from University of Development Alternative, Dhaka, Bangladesh where she was felicitated for the best media award by the University in 2008. She has shown her artworks in Nepal, Bangladesh, India, South Korea, and Srilanka and has participated in artist residencies in Srilanka, Bangladesh, South Korea and Japan. Her solo show “A Printmaker’s Feelings” was held at Kathmandu Contemporary Art Center in 2010. She has taken part in the Second Kathmandu International art Festival, and participated in 13th and 15th Asian Art Biennale in Bangladesh, in the 19th Nippon International Performance Art Festival in Tokyo, Nagano, Osaka, in Japan 2013. In 2013, she was awarded by Basanta Women’s Exhibition National Academy of Fine Art and also received Regional Award by the Nepal Academy of Fine Art in 2014. Darshandhari teaches printmaking at Tribhuvan University Lalitkala and Sirjana College of Fine Art. She is a founder member of Bindu, a space for artists.
While Darshandhari is a multi-platform artist—working with media ranging from installation to performance—her two-dimensional works mostly incorporate traditional Hindu and Buddhist iconography and motifs along with anthropomorphic as well as human figures. Through her works, the artist deals with women issues, life and nature.
Surendra Maharjan is a Kathmandu based visual artist. He received his MFA from the Central Department of Fine Art, Tribhuvan University in 2014. In recognition of his outstanding work as a printmaker he was awarded the prestigious Australian Himalayan Foundation Art Award scholarship this year. An upcoming artist, his works are generally recognised through their darker hues of blue, black and gray. His works are rendered with high detail and the foreground and background seem to blend together to create an overcrowded, claustrophobic effect. Female nudes and vines are reoccurring motifs in his etchings.
The artists’ works had previously shared space during the Amalgam exhibition held in SIDDHARTH ART GALLERY (SAG) last year. The show had brought together works by 25 contemporary artists.
The exhibition will go on till May 5
… and here some pictures from the opening (with the REAL Surendra Maharjan in the center!):
Ceramic artists in Nepal are far and few between. One outstanding artist is Gopal Das Shrestha Kalapremi, whose amazing works I was fortunate to see earlier in SIDDHARTHA ART GALLERY in the Baber Mahal Revisited Complex in Kathmandu. The KATHMANDU POST featured an article on the present show in the gallery, title “Masculinism” which I would like to repost below:
Bulls on parade
Nepal’s pioneering ceramic artist Gopal Kalapremi’s latest collection deals with the sufferings of males in society
Where women are dominated, men are dominated and where men are dominated, women are dominated. This concept of artist Gopal Das Shrestha Kalapremi has driven him to create his latest body of work. Kalapremi’s newest collection consists of four separate series bound within one theme—masculinity. Titled Masculism, the exhibition is a continuity of the artist’s Key series, and the exhibit is primarily based on the still life object that is a key. But for the artist a key is something of a very different nature.
Although Kalapremi is a multi-disciplinary artist—whose experimentations range from performances to land art—Masculism is all about ceramics. The artist, over the years, has garnered a reputation as the only Nepali artist who has been practicing and exploring the media as a form of art.
This series of his, set to be exhibited tomorrow at the Siddhartha Art Gallery, is an example of how much of the material he has explored.
The artist briefing about his bulls
According to the gallery set-up plan, upon entering the gallery ground floor, a herd of bulls will confront you. Titled Godana Godieka Sandeharu, these are proud bulls—while some graze the floor, others are swinging their heads as if in some sort of a trance. And in their crack-textured raku (a Japanese pottery technique) bodies are brandings and tattoos.
“It is a religious act to brand a bull with a trident and send it off. It was alright to do so in the past as there was enough pasture in Kathmandu for the bulls to graze on and they could find cows to mate with. But things are different now. These bulls who are let go for good end up in Pashupati, unattended to, eating junk and rolling over in their own faeces,” says Kalapremi.
For the artist, these bulls of his are a metaphor for men in society. Kalapremi believes that, although hardly talked about, men in our society have been suffering physically, psychologically and spiritually.
“The pursuit of equality has not been of balance, but has been like a fight almost,” he says. According to the artist, “Males are more victimised than females.”
Kalapremi’s Key represents the male. And along with the bulls is Nalekhieka Katha Haruka Rekhachitra. This series, a collection of 12×12 inch raku-ware slabs, are wax-resist illustrations. The check board dominates the compositions—something that is the artist’s symbol for politics. Padlocks recur in the images—evidently, the artist’s symbol for the feminine.
One of the 12×12 raku slabs
Appropriations of works by Van Gogh, Picasso, Munch and Schiele have been done in some of the blocks. The content is surreal and expressionist—I especially like the one where a man is sitting on Van Gogh’s chair, likey to be the Dutch painter himself, his face on his palms.
“In our society, a man has never been given the liberty to cry. He cries in solitude, in torture or in insanity,” says Kalapremi.
All the works in this series are ‘black and white’, rightly suiting the artist’s concept. Sancho Bhitrakaa Kathaaharu, the third series, will be lined in a semi-circle on the top floor of the gallery.
Gallery owner Sangeeta Thapa’s statement for the exhibitions states that the series is a “phallic sculptural series that dwells on identity.” It further adds: “The ‘Keys’ seem to be engaged in a conversation of their own importance and uselessness.”
The first floor exhibit Nil Ratnaharu, which is the fourth of the series, is similar in shape to the ones on the top floor. They are copper carbonate glaze and according to Thapa’s statement is a “homage to the Blue Diamond Society” and that they “mirror the trauma of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender group with its ribbed, slashed phallic sculptures which sometimes merge the feminine.”
Kalapremi’s sculptures and paintings are a delight to look at. They are a product of years of experimentation, of spontaneity (in the drawings) and most importantly an artist’s urge to express himself. But how will Kalapremi’s concept fare when the exhibition opens to the public tomorrow?
In her statement, Thapa says that the artist’s work conveys the pain and tragedy of the male. “However,” she says, “the concept of Masculism may not sit well in a nation, where women are clamouring for their rights… Masculism has been alive and kicking in Nepal for an eternity on multiple levels.”
Although the artist might seem a bit extreme to make such claims, when I asked him in person, he responded by saying: “Looking for equality is a good thing, but what is happening in its name is bad. Men and women aren’t supposed to fight each other. They are to form a bond of love and exist together in balance. A natural balance.”
Published by Nhooja Tuladhar in KATHMANDU POST 20-2-2015
In late January I missed an interesting performance at Siddhartha Gallery. In a haunting performance Sujan Chitrakar made an emotional political statement by letting himself be shaved and later bodypainted by colleague artist Pranab Man Singh. The performance was lauded in an article Kurchi Dasgupta wrote for MyRepublica and which I repost here due to the importance of the event.
Marks of our Time
January 27 saw the unfolding of an intriguing art event at the Siddhartha Art Gallery (SAG) in Baber Mahal Revisited, Kathmandu. Artist Sujan Chitrakar, who heads the Painting and Design Department at Kathmandu University, presented himself to an open group of participants/viewers as he underwent a performance orchestrated by himself and Pranab Man Singh. The event started on schedule at 2 PM and right after a few preliminary remarks (including those by SAG curator Sangeeta Thapa), Sujan sat himself down and allowed a local barber to shave off all his hair as well as his signature moustache and beard. Enmeshed in his own inner silence, the artist sat stoically as lock after lock fell to the floor.
The artist as catalyst
The artist seemed to be shedding not only bits and pieces of his personal physical markers but also pieces of his own socio-cultural identity. And gradually assumed the role of a catalyst—igniting public opinion through the performative act of subjecting himself to the razor. It was a moment of personal loss and remembrance—the artist was simultaneously mourning the loss of his grandfather Chiniya Chitrakar 40 years ago on this very date. A moment of remembrance and tribute to a pioneer who had consciously veered the course of the Chitrakar community’s role in society from the ritualistic to a more commercial, and therefore, ‘modern’ art. The act, however, took on an element of public lament. No words were spoken but soon it was obvious that the artist was also taking onto his flesh the burden of a state that has yet again failed to deliver a Constitution to its people. A ritual act of remembrance soon took on an explosive element of resistance. Afterwards, as Sujan took off his clothing and sat himself before us on an elevated white platform in just a pair of white linen trousers and socks, he himself became a canvas. Against a white background, his unclothed torso and newly shaven head became the space in which the second half of the ceremony unfolded.
Taking on the nation’s mantle
Neatly folded, tiny slips of paper awaited us in a glass fishbowl at one corner. We, random participants and viewers, were invited to pick one each and read out the name inscribed upon it as we proceeded to write the same on Sujan’s body. In white paint. As each willing, random participant read out the text in each slip, it was obvious that we were beginning to enumerate the current Constituent Assembly’s lineup. Sujan had receded from his person and identity and allowed his body to take on the nation’s mantle—and its political debacle. Students, artists, aficionados, spectators crowded in as the implications sunk in. They hurried, scurried, jostled to pick up a slip each and inscribe upon him a name, calling out the perpetrator’s name each time, and loudly. What started as an intense act of personal mourning transformed itself into an hour-long calling out to those who have failed us again, and again. The anger and fury and helplessness that we all feel today in Nepal was vented out in white inscriptions on the artist’s body. By the end of the two hours, the artist sat silent, immersed in his act of public, ritualistic atonement. The fishbowl is significant; we have all seen those goldfish go round and round and nowhere—the metaphor for our CA is unavoidable.
Deletion of identity
As Sujan’s last act – when he rinsed his face off with clear water and walked away – a silent act of penance that ignited many fervent, committed souls that afternoon. The artist has deleted his identity, taking on the nation’s—its helplessness and fury—and given us the possibility of new beginnings yet to come. It is not often that we see an artwork evolve into a live outpouring of public emotions and turning into a simultaneous political comment. This one did. Good work, Sujan!
Kurchi Dasgupta, the author, is an Indian artist and writer based in Kathmandu.
On February 6, 2015 Nhooja Tuladhar writes in the KATHMANDU POST about the ongoing exhibition at SIDDHARTHA GALLERY, situated in the beautiful Baber Mahal Complex, about the “Riverine influences” to be seen in the works of these important senior artists who all received their education in India, at Benaras Hindu University – as at their time there was no art academy in Nepal yet. According to the author ever since modern-day Nepal started to open up to the world, its closest access to information, or inspiration in the matter of art, has been India
Nepali artists educated in India
The Rana rulers started sending artists—who were mostly from traditional paubha artisan families—to India so that they could learn the then modern art of painting. Initially, the rulers just wanted representational oil paintings—like the ones they had seen during their visits to England and India—of themselves; but this nevertheless paved the way for the evolution of Nepali art as a whole and added dynamics such that the art of this country, sheltered all around by two giants for countries, was to become much more than just one inclined towards religion.
The trend for Nepali artists to travel to India to learn and gain experience has not stopped since. The global art scene is constantly shifting, and India has become the easiest avenue for Nepali artists to experience that change. And one such place that has been a sanctuary and a source of inspiration to artists is the Banaras Hindu University (BHU), located in Varanasi, India. Nepali art students have enrolled in the university since the mid-20th century, and their contributions are evident in the Nepali art timeline—most recently through an exhibition titled Nepali Artists From Banaras Hindu University, which is currently underway at the Siddhartha Art Gallery, Babermahal.
Show featuring 18 senior modern artists
The show features artists Anuradha Thapa, Vijay Thapa, Birendra Pratap Singh, Hriday Ballav Panday, Jasmine Rajbhandhari, Jeewan Suwal, Late Karna Narasingh Rana, Kiran Manandhar, Narayan Bohaju, Mukesh Shrestha, Paramesh Adhikari, Praveen Kumar Shrestha, Sagar Manandhar, Seema Sharma Shah, Sujan Chitrakar, Late Surendra Raj Bhattarai, Uma Shankar Shah and Yuvak Tuladhar—all graduates of BHU. Gallery owner Sangeeta Thapa’s curatorial statement states that Jit Bahadur Rayamaji, Ganga Shrestha and Agam Shrestha are the three BHU fine-art graduates whose works are missing in the exhibition. The show opened on February 1, but a performance—co-curated by Pranab Man Singh and Sangeeta Thapa—titled The Marks of Our Time by Sujan Chitrakar (which is also a part of the show) was held on January 27.
According to Sangeeta Thapa, the exhibition has been organised to “acknowledge their [the artists] place-making in the contemporary art history of Nepal.”
“These are artists, from different parts of Nepal, who travelled all the way to Banaras, learned, came back and contributed in their own ways to the art scene here,” she says. “The show is a homage to the artists who’ve made something out of their struggles.”
Banaras has produced the highest number of Nepali fine-art graduates out of all the Indian universities. And most of the products of the university have excelled in the field. Kiran Manandhar, an important figurative abstractionist, was until recently the Treasurer of the Nepal Academy of Fine Arts. Seema Sharma Shah, who holds her doctorate in printmaking from BHU, is the Chief of the Department of Fine Arts at Tribhuvan University. Vijaya Thapa, who completed his BFA from BHU in 1965, is a former Treasurer of the Nepal Association of Fine Arts. Sujan Chitrakar is the academic coordinator at KUart. Surendra Raj Bhattarai, Praveen Kumar Shrestha, Hridaya Ballav Pandey, Uma Sankhar Shah, Mukesh Shrestha, Jasmine Rajbhandari, Sagar Manandhar and Narayan Bohaju have inspired younger generations of artists by teaching in different institutions of the country.
Sangeeta Thapa about the importance of historical reference for younger artists
Sangeeta Thapa says there is a reason behind the inception of this show.
“The young are missing out on a lot of art history,” she says, pointing towards a set of envelopes and stamps lined on a table in the gallery. The stamps are the creations of Mohan Narsingh Rana, a BHU graduate and the son of Karna Narsingh Rana, who was in the business of creating the country’s postal stamps, and according to Sangeeta Thapa, 90 percent of the stamps currently in use are his designs.
She further goes on to talk about Junkiri, a group I had formerly never heard of. “Junkiri, consisiting of Birendra Pratap Singh, Karna Narsingh Rana, Praveen Kumar Shrestha, Yuvak Tuladhar, Paramesh Adhikari and Kiran Manandhar, is the oldest art group in Nepal. They did a lot of shows in Nepal and India during their time, but the group was unfortunately short-lived, just like Sutra,” says Sangeeta Thapa.
The exhibition features an eclectic collection of 38 artworks. Some are recently done, whereas some date back to the 80s—Yuvak Tuladhar’s drawing from when he was still in BHU, for example. It is an assorted collection in terms of style and quality as well. It is only natural for these differences to surface because we are dealing with artists who cover a time-span of 50 years. And while a viewer could find it difficult to transition from one work of art to another— signature to a group exhibition—such a show gains importance because of the history it embodies and the stories on offer. And this one has plenty. Since art history in Nepal is almost non-documented, an exhibition such as this could interest people, especially the young, to engage in dialogues concerning Nepali art, the artists and what they have been through—and where they have been to.
“What is the role of art? What is it for?” reflected Arjun Khaling while responding to moderator Hitman Gurung on Sunday at Kathmandu’s Siddhartha Art Gallery. Sunday’s program was one of four weekly discussion sessions being held at the gallery this July.
Gurung kicked off the event with a brief slideshow presentation featuring examples of art that represents artists and various socio-political movements in the world — Dadaism, American Civil Rights, and China’s Al Wei Wei, to name a few.
Khaling succinctly provided a historical context to the panel discussion: “Since Nepal was mostly sheltered from the rest of the world until 1950, artists weren’t exposed to new ideas. But after the fall of the Ranas, they became freer and more independent. Even then, there is nothing noteworthy in terms of arts movement in the fifties. When King Mahendra declared Panchayat in 1960, artist Lain Singh Bangdel returned to Kathmandu after studying in several Western cities, mostly Paris. His style was innovative but he isn’t known for his arts activism.”
There were sporadic attempts of creative expression now and then in the decades that followed, explained Khaling, but it was only during the political movement of 1989 that one starts to notice an intersection between arts and politics. Pamphlets, posters and fliers were seen on the streets but those are mere examples of straight out political propaganda. “When, in 1995, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoists) started to revolutionize, taking the issues of marginalized groups such as Dalits and Janajatis, Nepali artists finally saw their role in society and politics clearly.” By 2005/2006, artists like Ashmina Ranjit were making art that placed peoples’ issues at its center. Ranjit is known for exploring feminism in her work; others were dabbling with topics such as identity, culture, class and government.
Once Nepal became a republic in 2008, artists also came together and declared an ‘arts revolution’ in Nepal. As the Department Chief of Fine Art at the Federal Socialist Party in Nepal, Khaling is actively following the constitution making process. He also helped found Kirant Lalitkala Samaj (Kiranti Aesthetics) because he wants to reexamine his culture and its historical roots. “Some artists say that art should be for art’s sake,” said Khaling, “but I am pushing a political agenda through my art.”
Gurung, who recently co-founded Artree Nepal along with his contemporary Sheelasha Rajbhandari, turned to another panelist, Sanjeev Maharjan, a visual artist, and asked a similar question: What are your thoughts on artistic practices? Does art have a role in influencing society?
Maharjan: I want to first answer that question as a student because it largely comes down to our education system. Art is still taught mainly in terms of aesthetics. I believe that education should emphasize art’s role in critical thinking, imagination and developing ideas. Skills and techniques are important but all these should be taught simultaneously.
When asked to comment on his involvement with arts movement, Maharjan said, “Art should compel people to question. It definitely plays a major role in society and politics. I participated in the Social Arts Practice workshop in Bangladesh recently which focused on ‘Arts as Action’ and ‘Arts as a Creative Medium’. Our target group was a slum near Chittagong. Artist Sunita Dangol and I focused on Women’s Health. We demonstrated creative ways to turn cloth into sanitary pads because we wanted to raise awareness amongst women regarding menstruation.”
To the third panelist, Mekha Limbu, Gurung asked: We have noticed socio-political themes in your work, some very personal. What were your influences? These days it’s almost become fashionable among young students to get involved in similar work.
Limbu: It perhaps goes back to college days. Viewing political art influenced me subconsciously, I think. I have been involved in several projects since then. I also worked with Ashmina Ma’am. As an artist, ideas gradually developed inside me. I was also learning about World History and the role art has placed in civil movements. Is someone really an artist if s/he is not socially responsible? There are several global movements these days; it’s easy to get informed and influenced. How do artists respond to that? For example, regarding migrant workers, I produced a piece of art about my father who has been working in Qatar for many years. I think it’s extremely enriching to infuse your art with socio-political issues. The process itself is rewarding; it involves research and learning new things.
Gurung returned to an earlier theme with Khaling: You mentioned the year 1950 and the gradual awakening of Nepali artists. This reminds me of similar periods in European history. In some cases, there were Communist agendas in art. We also have artists who are aligned to certain political parties but then there are some who work independently. What do you have to say about this dichotomy?
Khaling: There are several examples of the interplay between art and politics: issue-based, independent or directly opposing certain political ideas. In some cases, politics is primary, art secondary and in others, there is a nice balance between art and politics in order to raise overall awareness. I believe that the quality of art should be kept in mind along with the issue, concept, the artist’s background, etc.
Gurung: Could you elaborate some more on the connections between personal, social and political when it comes to art?
Limbu: The context is very important for artists. We noticed remarkable examples of alternative art during the post-conflict period. I think the situation influences and compels artists.
Khaling: I think artists started asking important questions regarding socio-cultural norms during Nepal’s recent political transition. Why are certain practices there? Why are certain things done? For example, our party’s agenda is decentralization. I believe that we should have regional universities, academies and facilities that match those in Kathmandu. My art reflects that belief. We are also working to improve and develop National Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) because that will be beneficial to the entire nation.”
Gurung: What are some problems and challenges facing socio-political arts practice in Nepal?
Maharjan: I wonder whether that theme is coming up only as a subject. Has there been any real work or tangible solutions? Is it merely done for grant money? Who are we working for? Where are we showing our work? For example, if we do an arts project in the slums, are the issues actually getting solved? I have learned that we can’t work individually. We need to collaborate with local people and involve them.
Gurung: How challenging is that? For instance, journalists have access to certain venues and events. The state provides them passes. Artists don’t have that kind of systemic support.
Limbu: I have been asking those questions myself. If we have an idea, who do we go to? Who is the right person? Maybe NAFA? It takes time to research these things; budgetary considerations need to be made. But ultimately, artists also have to do the work.”
The program was conducted entirely in Nepali. This article is based on the author’s notes and translations.
Siddhartha Art Gallery is located in the upmarket shopping complex Baber Mahal Revisited, a series of renovated Rana palace outbuildings dating from 1919. Established in 1987 by Sangeeta Thapa and renowned artist Shashikala Tiwari, the contemporary art gallery has put on over 300 exhibitions to date by artists from Nepal and further afield. Having participated in several community arts projects, Siddhartha aims to exhibit art that addresses socio-cultural and political issues. Past exhibitions include Sequential Dissonance, a series of socio-political paintings depicting the chaos of urban life in Kathmandu by up and coming Nepali artist Mekha Bahadur Limbu Subba, and The Nepal Diaries – Observations on a Journey by Canadian born, Finland-based Gary Wornell: a photo documentary of his time working in Nepal captured entirely on an iPhone.Siddhartha Art Gallery, Baber Mahal Revisited, Kathmandu, Nepal, +977-1-4218048
Park Gallery In the bustling Pulchowk area of the Lalitpur District is Park Gallery, a contemporary art space created in 1970 by the late R.N. Joshi, an artist and social activist often dubbed the forefather of modern Nepali art. It is credited with being the first modern art gallery in Nepal and exhibits both local and international artists. Spread over two floors, the clean and modern gallery provides 1,500 square feet of exhibition space, with the upper level acting as a mini-museum of the work of Joshi, including paintings from The Voice of Silence series based on Tantra motifs, as well as his final piece, The Universe. Park Gallery also awards the annual R.N. Joshi Prize, which rewards artists who have made outstanding contributions to Nepalese art.Park Gallery, opposite the Fire Brigade Road, Pulchowk, Lalitpur, Nepal, +977-5522307
Kasthamandap Art Studio Established in 1994 by a collective of eight contemporary visual artists including the late painter Prashanta Shrestha, Kasthamandap Art Studio is a community arts centre in the heart of the Lalitpur district in Kathmandu Valley. The studio is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation geared towards inspiring artistic creation in Nepal and encouraging public interaction with visual art. One of Kasthamandap’s seminal exhibitions was the Living Canvas project, made up of art pieces designed for the human body, which exhibited not only in Nepal, but also Sri Lanka and Bhutan. A number of canvases created by the founders of the studio are available for purchase, including artworks from Erina Tamrakar and Pradip Bajracharya.Kasthamandap Art Studio, Kupondole, Lalitpur, Nepal, +977-1-5011573
Artudio Centre for Visual Arts is an innovative arts project that uses the streets of Kathmandu as its canvas and inspiration with the aim of reclaiming public spaces as open galleries. Artudio has created several street art murals in locations across the city, including an anti-violence against women inspired artwork in Ratna Park and a mural celebrating Global Handwashing Day on the walls of Tri Chandra College. Art lovers wanting to escape the confines of indoor galleries can discover these pieces as they explore Kathmandu. Based in the quiet residential area of Lazimpat in Kathmandu, the Artudio Centre itself hosts regular short photography workshops that anyone with a keen interest in photography and a good camera can take part in for as little as 4,000 Nepalese Rupees. Artudio also hosts photography meet-ups in public spaces, where participants can practice their photography skills while capturing unique images of the capital. ARTUDIO ” Centre for Visual Arts”, Swoyambhu, Chhauni Hospital Raod, Kathmandu, www.artudio.wordpress.com, +977-1-9851180088
Bikalpa Art Centre A fairly recent addition to Nepal’s contemporary arts scene, Bikalpa Art Centre was founded in 2009 to promote Nepalese arts and culture. Bikalpa resides in a quaint courtyard with a peaceful garden – an oasis in the busy Pulchowk region – and boasts a gallery space, café, multimedia film and video production company and a community arts initiative. The Bikalpa art gallery has hosted exhibitions including Random Reveries, a collection of works from contemporary female Nepali artists Pramila Bajracharya, Kurchi Dasgupta and Bidhata KC, and Explorations in the Photographic Medium v.1.5, which featured the images of seven Kathmandu University art students working with the themes memory, home and family.
Newa Chen Gallery, a collaborative project between online art marketplace Kala Voice and Newa Chen House set up in 2012, offers art enthusiasts a unique experience – vibrant and modern art in a traditional Nepalese setting. The gallery is located in Newa Chen House, a historic Newari house dating back to the Malla Dynasty, whose ground storage floor, the Dalan, houses the intimate art space. Still in its first year, Newa Chen Gallery has already hosted a varied range of exhibitions including the feminist-edged show Anubhutee: A Group Painting Exhibition by 8 Women Artists of Nepal and Coming into Being, in which artists Ghana Shyam, Sumitra Rana and Kripa Joshi explored the theme of consciousness.Newa Chen Gallery, Kulimha, Kobahal-9, Lalitpur, Nepal, +977-1-5533532
Sarwanam Art Gallery is an offshoot of the Sarwanam Theatre Group which was established in 1982 by renowned playwright Ashesh Malla and pioneered political street theatre in Nepal. The spacious, 30-square metre art gallery, or ‘kaladeergha’, provides an interactive experience for visitors with each exhibition featuring a ‘meet the artist’ segment. The gallery has shown the works of emerging Nepalese artists Bidhata KC and Saran Tandukar, and collaborated with Sarwanam Theatre on a project merging art and drama in which acclaimed abstract artist Mukesh Malla created a painting on stage as the play Mrityutsav was unfolding, expressing the themes of the drama. The Sarwanam building also hosts film screenings, including Dipendra Bhandari’s 2011 documentary Journey to Yarsa, which follows a Nepalese family as they search for yarsagumba, a caterpillar fungus with medicinal properties, in the Himalayan foothills.Sarwanam Art Gallery, Kalikasthan Bashghyang, Kalika Marg, Kathmandu, Nepal, +977-1-4011027
NAFA (Nepal Academy of Fine Arts) is a government-established organisation set up in 2009 to promote Nepalese art to international audiences. Overseen by Kathmandu-born abstract expressionist Kiran Manandhar, NAFA comprises two galleries, exhibiting both established and emerging Nepali artists, and is located in the beautiful Sita Bhavan, a neo-classical Rana palace. NAFA, in collaboration with NGO Transparency International Nepal, has recently hosted an art workshop exploring anti-corruption and it holds the country’s annual National Fine Art Exhibition, which awards artists for their contributions to the Nepali arts. Previous recipients of exhibition awards have included traditional Newar artist Amrit Dangol and modern sculpture artist Agam Shrestha.Nepal Academy of Fine Arts, Naxal, Kathmandu, Nepal, +977-1-4430251
Imago Dei Café and GalleryLocated a short distance from the Narayanhiti Palace Museum on Nagpokhari in a large, bright and modern building is café-cum-art gallery Imago Dei. The company was set up by Scotland native Rachael Manley in 2006 who, after living all over the world in locations as diverse as Holland and the Middle East, decided to call Nepal her home. Imago Dei’s informal and inviting atmosphere and its combination of meeting space and art space make it a popular venue with professionals, students and tourists alike. Previous collections at the Image Dei Gallery have included a Tibetan furniture exhibition and a showing of Dutch artist Chung-Hsi Han’s sketches of his travels throughout India and Kathmandu.Imago Dei Café and Gallery, Nagpokhari, Kathmandu, Nepal, +977-1-4442464