Beauty Behind the Canvas
Text: Veda Satasha Shrestha
The energy of the Himalayan Art Camp was such that I felt absolutely at peace and could feel the passion for creativity. Hear the thoughts aloud with an inch of movement as a brush was dipped into the color and held towards a canvas, created beauty with each ones thoughts coming to life. Creativity is at the highest level possible, sitting around all these well known artists from the Asian countries. All the people brought together by nothing but the love of Art, each artist with their unique style and concept creating their masterpieces in the presence of the Annapurna ranges, the beauty of people of Pokhara and the Nepali culture that surrounds them.
It’s been an absolute privilege to be a part of the Himalayan Art Camp, as an art admirer, to be in the presence of a group of such talented and well renowned artists. To witness their pieces coming to life in stages till their final touches. Going through their thought process of what they were and are thinking as I look at a painting being painted. While we generally look at a painting at its final stage of being completed when it’s hung at a museum or any other venue, you can still understand the time line when the painting was painted, the perspective of an artist on social, political, economic issues faced during that particular time frame and most importantly the emotions the artist was feeling then. Art has a very vast definition as each individual defines it as his or her unique way of perception. I believe that “life intimates art” and vice versa, as each thing has a beauty of its own and it reflects on what it surrounds.
As it was Cong Him Hoa’s first visit to Nepal, her impression about Nepal was from what was projected by the media. However that all changed when she got here and realized Nepalese people is very friendly and welcoming. Seeing cows on the roads was a bit of a culture shock and staying in Nepal for a week, made her think about her life in Vietnam to the life here of a Nepalese person.Cong was impressed with how well prepared Himalayan art camp was to meet their needs such as food, stay, art supplies. Happy with the weather is Pokhara as it was mostly pleasant. Cong enjoyed the beauty that surrounds Pokhara, the lake and the flora and fauna. Her inspiration of the paintings created here in Pokhara, were inspired by the earth and music. She said she has enjoyed the Himalayan Art Camp experience a lot.
Pramila mostly follows a theme while creating any one of her paintings, it usually changes if she decides to end a series or feels like she wants to start new one. Before Himalayan Art Camp began, she was doing a series regarding the earthquake in Nepal. However during the HAC, she was drawn to the beauty Pokhara holds, surrounded by the greenery, she wanted to paint her canvas also green and she painted her canvas in layers of green. Pramila Bajracharya usually paints landscape and figures, so does both her pieces created during the HAC. The best part of the Himalayan Art Camp is that I got to witness other artists from their respected countries, see how they work, understand their thoughts which have been amazing. Interaction between artists has been the best part. This has been the first HAC, hopefully continue with this concept and keep improving it over the time.
Jeevan Rajopadhyay talks about his working style, before his theme were landscapes. While working on landscapes, the form slow started to disappear and only the colors were left. With that his style changed into abstract, with the loss of scenic beauty and love for colors. Every artist has his or her own working styles, some work in different forms, I enjoy working with colors. Even with his style changing from landscape to abstract, if you look at his painting closely, you will somewhat get a landscape feeling. More than a concept, he tries to capture the colors of the surroundings.
When Jeevan thinks about Pokhara, he thinks about the white Himal, green Phewa Taal, blue sky as everyone pictures it. He really enjoyed his experience during the Himalayan Art Camp; he thanks E-Arts Nepal for giving him the opportunity and creating such a platform for artists. By creating this platform there has been interaction, understanding of different working styles, we observing how they work, they observing how we work and creating an understanding among artists. Such art camps will help Nepali Art create a bigger impact globally.
Myat Tun Aung likes being well prepared by choosing a subject and deciding on what technique, concept to use, what he wants to portray in his painting before starting his work. Due to the limited time given during art camps to as to when he usually paints, he wanted to be well prepared before starting his paintings. Since an early age, he has wanted to visit Nepal to see two things to see the Himalayas and to visit Lumbini. So his first visit to Nepal let him to both, so the Himalayan Art Camp has made his dream come true. “I have enjoyed being in Pokhara, as it is clean, beautiful surrounded by mountains and it’s natural beauty. HAC has been wonderful experience meeting old friends, making new ones. HAC is all about art exchange and exposure to the Nepali culture. Witness how other artists work on their paintings and interacting with other artists; talking about art is the most important thing for artists. An Art camp lets you do that. Art is created freely, there is no secret, all depends on your mind what is your inspiration, what is your concept, what technique you use. Himalayan Art Camp has been beneficial for all the artists and for art lovers.”
Hadi Soesanto chose banana for an object, as it is usually used on a daily bases in Indonesia even for religious offerings. He has a pencil in his painting as it symbolizes a new beginning. Sometimes he changes his series according to what inspires him. Hadi really enjoyed being in Nepal, thought it was a nice country and loved his experience at the Himalayan art camp. Before being a part of Himalayan art camp, visiting Nepal was like a dream and he is glad to take part in it. Himalayan Art Camp gave him new experience to collaborated with other artists from countries all around south Asia.
The surrounding and the beauty that comes with being in the nature inspires, Binod Pradhan to paints his canvases. Binod’s specific concept is based on the eco system, effects on nature and the preservation of heritage. In his paintings, he tries to reinstate a consciousness for the society for preservation of nature. Binod is currently doing a series based on nature and he has continued to paint his series during the Himalayan Art Camp. Binod says Nepal is his color palette for being his subjects for his canvases, as he is more aware of the beauty of our country as he travels it and puts it on a canvas, as he feels connected to a place. One of the places in Nepal that inspires his work is Pokhara. Himalayan Art Camp has been held for the first time ever in Nepal and has been both resourceful and an opportunity to interact with artists from different countries. Being one of the organizers in the E-Arts Nepal team it was overwhelming happiness having a successful art camp even though it was the first one and has to learn as we go.
Asha Dangol‘s artworks reflect on the concerns of urbanization, consumerism and ecology. These issues are framed with a polarity of visual symbols: the traditional with the contemporary, the past with the present and the mythic with the real. During the Himalayan art camp Asha’s was involved with the management and co-ordination for the artists, programs and hospitality. Asha thought it was a great learning experience and was an honor, to be one of the organizers in E-Arts Nepal for HAC. Himalayan Art Camp is the first international event organized by E-Arts Nepal. It was well received by all guest artists as well as from the local artists of Pokhara. During the HAC all the artists were sharing ideas, having interesting conversations about contemporary art, which gave us more value from this interactive art camp. HAC travelled to the city of lakes Pokhara with the view of the Himalayans and started and ended with the city of art and culture in Patan. Hoping all guest artists enjoyed the diversity of our landscape and culture.
Ng Kim Heoh uses a concept to execute her artwork. She chooses a concept and based on it, she produces a series. Ng Kim believes in realism, so her style is more towards realism but not to the point of photorealism. Ng Kim’s last series was called “i.cloud”; she is in the process and development stages of her upcoming series. Still in her working stages for a next series but she will focusing on traditional kind of motif and combine with figurative to which she want to express the relation of people and the culture, how culture shapes our lives and defines who we are. Ng Kim loved Nepal and will be definitely visiting again, the rich culture and religious environment gave her a sense of calm and serenity, she thought the people were friendly and humble, easy to communicate with and she was also fascinated by the magnificent landscape and hope she comes back for some trekking. Ng Kim thought the HAC was successful and well run, having a small camp allowed artists to interact and get to know each other better, exchange different ideas and art views. The Himalayan Art camp group became like family, some of us initially just a distance friends on Facebook, now after the HAC, we have become close friends.
From Ng Bee’s past experiences from when he was still a student and from practice and experience when he paints, the feel and texture of lines gave him a lot of space and intuitive reflection to his ideas. The strength and depth of lines have become the main force for Ng Bee to express his images on the canvas, the key source of my imagination to compose my paintings. Ng Bee’s main focus around his concepts are the environment, the constantly changing of surroundings and also the dark side of his county’s politics such as corruption. Ng Bee has 3 main series till date and is still on going such as abstract, rhino and figurative, all three based on the ideas he’s mentioned above. Ng Bee thought Nepal is a beautiful country, still under developed but got great scenery, landscapes, kind people who are happy to live a simple life. Himalayan Art Camp was well organized for a first timer and they should keep up the good job.
Bhairaj Maharjan‘s artwork concepts are created by how the surrounding environment inspires him. Currently he is captivated with contemporary issues like earthquake, air pollution and government policies for women empowerment as concept, blending with traditional elements, using textures to add beauty and aesthetic values to it. Bhairaj’s on going series is based on pollution and mask, created awareness about pollution and the effects it has on the people. As an artist, Bhairaj has taken part in several international art camps but Himalayan Art Camp was special experience for him as an organizer. We (E-Arts Nepal) had a very selective process by choosing only 12 artists who are genuine and professional from all around South Asia and addition of 8 established Nepali artists. Bhairaj found it very interesting, as each artist was very mature and unique in terms of style, technique, theme and concept, which was a great learning experience.
Trinh Tuan’s paintings is an expression of internal energy, is all about emotions. The choice of what Trinh paints is lead by feeling that is heartfelt with a choice of emotions. He does not tend to think about his style or concept so logically. The images come to Trinh as he thinks and feels about his emotions as an individual. Trinh said, “There is something deep down in my soul, the feeling of the unbreakable connection between a human being and the nature, so you can see the figures of human and flowers, trees in my paintings.”
Trinh found a never-ending foundation of inspiration with images, shapes, colors and lines from nature. Trinh describes Nepal as when he realized that there is still a living fairy tale, an ancient world that still exists on the earth. Trinh says here in Nepal, he sense of hugging arms with Mother Nature. Trinh with all his regardless and respect he would love to say ‘thank you’ many times to the Himalayan Art Camp organizers and sponsors. Trinh says now I have such an unforgettable memory of Nepal people, their culture, art, the forests, the mountains, he rely himself in the lulling hands of Nature.
Wattanachot Tungateja has his own concept called dreamscape, inspired by being well travelled and getting to witness beautiful places and stunning sceneriesall around the world.His painting does not represent what a country he has visited, looks like but the combination of his thoughts and his imagination to what remembers of the places he has visited. His series dreamscape, the painting composition is focusing on two parts the earth and the sky. The sky consisting of things such as the wind blowing, the crowd and the earth consisting of all the things given by nature such as flowers, trees, animals. Wattanachot talks about the power colors from inside the earth leading up to the sky. Painting for Wattanchot is like meditation; it gives him a sense of inner peace and helps him stay calm. Wattanachot talks how art camps like the Himalayan Art Camp is good for artists as it helps in networking and he would call few artists over to Thailand for a program like this one in the future. Himalayan Art Camp has been a good platform for all of us to come and exchange ideas with one another and interact with other artists and understand their concepts and working styles.
Siraj usually following his inner energy of a painter, which he has developed throughout the years, he does not follow any concepts. He believes picture making can be learnt but painting must be in you to come out, so he just lets his heart and body flow in come out in visual grammar.
Siraj Saxena believes every artist has a visual grammar and inner energy to create what he or she creates. Siraj calls his experience in Pokhara as visual poetry, he says who has god created this all for but man, who can express the way they feel about the beauty behind god’s creations. Siraj thanks the E-Arts Nepal group for inviting him over to Nepal. Siraj says us humans are very tiny in front of the Himalayans but we have eyes to see, hands to paint and words to express to leave a mark on the world. Art camps give us the freedom to share our technique, exchange our visual grammar and see what other artists put into a white canvas.
Surya Baraily believes in creating a concept before painting and the colors used in his paintings are related to what the series need. During the HAC, Surya continued painting for the current series called inside the mask. Inside the mask series is regarding how an individual is perceived on the outside and how they are actually on the inside. It’s all about the perception on how an individual portrays themselves to others and how they are different people known to themselves. His inside the mask series represent various outlooks to a situation faced by individuals especially by the female gender. As Suraj’s paintings for the current series is represented by different women, focusing mainly on the perception of individuals to the outside world and to themselves.
Siddharth Shingade‘s trip to Nepal, was the first time he went anywhere outside India. Being in Nepal, has been a feeling such as being home away home with the food, nature, language and culture being so similar to India. Siddharth lives in a very crowded area of Mumbai from there to being in Pokhara, that change has been good for him. According to Siddharth people in Nepal are very loveable. The faces that appear in Siddharth’s paintings, he keeps looking for them wherever he goes, their innocence, their honesty and their purity. How his character think, how they live, he keeps thinking and looking for his characters from his painting in the people he comes across. Siddharth feels there isn’t much of a difference between Indians and Nepalese, as the people and Siddharth Shahaji Shingade (Mumbai, India) Gold Fish, Acrylic on canvas.
Erina Tamrakar (Lalitpur, Nepal) Third Eye, Acrylic on canvas Titarubi (Yogyakarta, Indonesia) The Shadow of Tree, Charcoal on canvas Netikorn Chinyo (Bangkok, Thailand) Memory, Acrylic on canvas culture as very similar. Siddharth feels Nepalese artists gives a lot of respect to other artists and are humble, which he had not seen before. Himalayan Art Camp has given him the opportunity to interact with various artists who are in different stage of the art career, which he would not be able to do from a studio in Mumbai and is thankful for it. Erina continued working on her current series called the third eye during the HAC. The paintings created in Pokhara for the third eye series were the faces and the women Erina came across on the journey to the art camp. Erina’s motif was from the surrounding where she worked and was creating her paintings. Erina’s third eye series focuses on the root in the feminism on the subjects through the deep reds. Erina has found that the recurrence of symbols create a distinct opposition, the Shakti and the statements of self, identity and gender. Erina says as an artist, it was fruitful memory to being with all participating artists at the HAC and as being one of the organizers this was the first event where she enjoyed, interacted well with guest artists and all the participated artists were so friendly and supportive about E-Arts Nepal and enjoyed themselves.
During the Himalayan Art Camp, Titarubi understood how to work with a limited time limit and work quickly with other artists. Titarubi talks about how her usual work style gives her the freedom to work on her own pace for her exhibitions. Usually she takes the first week just for planning and looking for her inspiration but the Himalayan Art Camp has helped her work in a different way and has helped her work better. Titarubi says Himalayan Art Camp has been a good experience and a nice get away for the artists to work together in a new environment and be creative.
Netikorn Chinyo‘s concepts are inspired by the architecture from the past to the present. The timeline of the ancient to the modern and the difference in structure of a building built and is being built is what inspires Netikorn for his art works. The more Netikorn travels to different cities around the world, the sculptures, statues, buildings and other artifacts he comes across he thinks about it and how it reminds him of hometown. As a young child, Netikorn used to live with his grandmother. With the artifacts Netikorn is inspired from, from his travels he creates his paintings with his imagination. With the combination of his memories and his imagination, his canvas comes to life.
Durga Baral is a senior artist from Pokhara who was apart of the Himalayan Art Camp. Durga paints on his own style continued to do even during the HAC. The theme of his painting is “Stretch”. Himalayan Art Camp is one of the first inspired international art camp which took place in Pokhara, where he could share and interact with guest artists from all around South East Asia. Durga was admired for his artworks from all the participating artists from Southeast Asian artists and he felt sorry about only a few local artist visited at the camp. It was the first ever program at the Pokhara Art Gallery at an International capacity with a lot of visitors and he was happy about it.
Inza Qioao Yin’s paintings are on mixed media on rice paper she brought from China for Himalayan Art Camp. During the HAC, she has traveled in many places in Kathmandu, where she found an interesting about the eyes of Buddha. In every shop she went, she found the souvenir of Buddha’s eyes. Tried to capture all this moments during the Himalayan art camp in Pokhara where she revealed herself in the peaceful environment, hills, lakes and the forests. The floating colors and linear perspectives make her painting more curiosity to the viewers. Since her first visit to Nepal, Himalayan Art Camp gave her new way of thinking and collaborate, she said.