Please enjoy the KT 2017*** video presenting one of the participating artists, Jupiter Pradhan, and his work:
“Art has a great amount of gravity, which is constantly satisfying. Art and its utility is slowly growing into an absolute understanding of reality. And when this absolute understanding is attained, perhaps that attainment is what is known as enlightenment. In search of satisfaction, art has taken me closer to the elements of society. This is how I can touch, play & speak with society, delve deep inside it. This is how I relate myself to my surroundings. Streams of experiences and expressions begin to flow from within me. This is when art becomes a medium to me.”
Jupiter Pradhan, holds a BFA in painting from the Tribhuvan University (2005) and an MFA in painting from the University of Development Alternative, Dhaka, Bangladesh (2009). Pradhan is a multi-media artist whose artistic expression includes performance, video, painting and craft. He has had solo exhibitions in Kathmandu and the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan. Pradhan’s works have also been included in several group exhibitions in Nepal, India, Bangladesh and Japan. Art residencies have taken him to Japan, South Korea and Indonesia. Pradhan, who is an active curator and art event organizer, was also an exhibiting artist in the 2nd Kathmandu International Art Festival 2012.
Kathmandu Triennale is Nepal’s premier platform for global contemporary arts. It is the latest iteration of the pioneering Kathmandu International Art Festival (KIAF 2009, 2012). Like the precursory Festivals, the Triennale thematically engages particular social issues while advancing a nuanced approach to promote the pedagogical potential of the arts. Through the Triennale, organizer Siddhartha Arts Foundation (SAF) presents multiple perspectives on edition themes – to educate audiences and engage society in critical dialogue. Kathmandu Triennale’s inaugural edition (KT 2017) will be dedicated to the theme of The City and is curated by Philippe Van Cauteren, Belgium while associated museum S.M.A.K an organizing partner of the event. KT 2017 opens on 24 March, 2017.
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.
This absolutely beautiful site was established in 2006 by a group of Shanghai-based musicians, visual artists, programmers, and entrepreneurs, Neochahas grown to become an award-winning company dedicated to celebrating culture and creativity in Asia. It is real “eye candy” – beautifully layed out, with great photography and informative texts!
Kiran Maharjan (aka H11235) is a Nepalese artist who uses street art to address social issues within his community. Kiran is one of the primary organizers of the Prasad Project, a street art initiative to make a positive impact on Nepalese youth through workshops, exhibitions, and public murals.
Neocha: How did you get into street art?
Kiran: I used to be influenced by classical European Realism, and I’ve always been intrigued by faces. I used to do portraits with charcoal and other mediums before I got into street art. Later on, I would be introduced to the graffiti and street art scene through skateboarding culture, especially the graphics on the skate decks.
I came to a turning point when I started to bring my works to commercial galleries in the city with the hope of being exhibited. All of them turned me down. Some considered me an amateur and didn’t want to showcase my work, while others turned me down because they simply weren’t interested in my style. This rejection became a driving force for me to use the streets as a medium for expression. That was four years ago, and since then I’ve always been active and present on the streets, continuing the process of growth and change.
Neocha: What is the Prasad Project about?
Kiran: The word “Prasad” is a Sanskrit term that means sweet offering that is given during prayers in a Hindu temple. We named our project after this because it’s our offering to the people through the medium of street art. Also, the first hero that we painted as a mural for our project, Laxmi Prasad Devkota, has the middle name “Prasad,” and that seemed fitting with our idea.
With this project, we hope to tackle one of the major contemporary problems being faced in our country: youth migration. Nepal has had a long history of political turmoil in addition to a worsening economic situation. A lot of our young people travel to the gulf and other countries to work as migrant workers in the hopes of a better life and income. Sadly, this has resulted in a brain drain in Nepal, and the bad living standards and unsafe working conditions abroad have only made the situation worse. Every day, the dead bodies of our migrant workers return back to Nepal.
Neocha: How does Prasad use street art to address the problem of youth migration in Nepal?
Kiran: The project tries to communicate that it’s possible for young people to be successful and to have a fulfilling life here in Nepal. One of our main themes is hometown heroes. Heroes are people who are born and raised in Nepal and have stayed here, making a difference in the country through their respective fields. Through their work, they’ve made a mark on the country, or even on the world. In order to commemorate them and inspire the youth, we paint public spaces with murals of these local heroes.
Since street art is a medium of the youth and so highly visible to the general public, it becomes a very powerful medium to talk about these issues. Street art is relatively new in Nepal, so it also spreads the message that with creative ideas, a DIY attitude, and new mediums of expression, it’s possible to solve our problems. We work with the youth directly, so it makes it easier to get this information out into the community.
Neocha: What are the current and future plans for the Prasad Project?
Kiran: We’re now in the second phase of the Project, and we’ve continued to travel to different regions of the country in order to spread our message. In each city we visit, we conduct workshops with local youth to teach them street art, and we collaborate with them to paint two murals of local heroes. It’s a great way to take the skills that they’ve learned and try them out on the streets. It’s also a way for us to speak to the public about the project, as a lot of people come up and ask us questions regarding the work. Every mural is different and unique because it comes from the vibe of that specific city and its youth. In the end, the work belongs to them. It’s their city and their responsibility, so I think we need to make them understand that.
We plan to do this until the end of 2016, covering five more cities with street art, workshops and exhibitions. We hope to continue the project even after that with new initiatives.