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An artistic experience

“Whatever I am is all because of art,” explains Gopal ‘Kalapremi’  Shrestha, Nepal’s veteran ceramic sculptor. He has been engage with art all his life, sometimes as a learner, and sometimes as a teacher.

Art is…

A concept of creativity; a form of experiences.

How did you end up pursuing art?

I was attracted to art at a young age. Maybe I was eight or nine years old when I got involved. At the age of 16, I was already quite famous as an artist.

Do you remember your first creation?

I made my first sculpture when I was 12 years old. It was a statue of Lord Krishna. It’s still worshipped in Krishna Mandir of Maharajgunj.

Your source of inspiration…

Everyday encounters with people and places. I express my feelings through sculptures.

Did you take any formal education in sculpture?

I joined Lalit Kala Campus for my Intermediate level but could not complete it as I was poor in English.

How important do you think it is for artists to get an education?

Nowadays formal education has become very important for an artist as it helps broaden their horizon. Back in my days it was all about skills. Things have changed now; you are not considered an artist if you do not have a degree. I disagree with this because I never went to University yet I have experience of 38 years in art.

You have also been teaching art in Nepal and other countries. What is the difference between students in Nepal and abroad?

I have travelled to France, Pakistan, South Korea and Denmark to teach. I also used to teach at Kathmandu University. I do not find any difference between students in Nepal and other countries. All of them are curious and keen learners. The only difference is in their lifestyles. The students abroad get support whereas in Nepal only a few of them are supported by their families.

Any advice to young artists of Nepal?

Art takes time, be patient, perseverant and hard working. Do not pursue art if you are not serious about it. Do not become an artist just to earn money. With art, your life will never be boring.

Text by: Sachitra Gurung