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The Art of Happiness
In this edition of WOW, we talk to some of the country’s most recognised artists and an art collector about a piece of art that gives them happiness.
Compiled by: Pabita Dahal
wow photo file © Ram Tandukar
Batsa Gopal Vaidya
I am very much fascinated with nature and cultural heritage; I try to reflect these elements in my art. One of my favourite artworks would be ‘The Heritage’ which I created in 1997. It is an assortment of nature and our unique architecture. Also I have showcased our geographical regions: hills, mountains, and Terai with a picture of Lord Ganesha which represents Kathmandu as city of religious heritage. Every time I see this painting I feel patriotic and proud.
Pratima Rana Pande
One of my favourite artworks would be a beautiful painting by the veteran artist Samundra Man Shrestha called Shiva and Parvati Dancing in Kailash. In this painting, the forms are very fluid and the background is very exquisite. Also details of the jewellery and the clothes that both the Gods are wearing are brilliant. It’s a painting that requires more than words to explain its beauty, one needs to actually see it to understand it.
Manish Lal Shrestha
Multidimensional Visual Artist
Although, each of my artworks give me abundance of happiness, Project 1336 is extra special for me. One day I saw a group of women knitting together in a small courtyard and sharing their life stories. Witnessing them laugh, enjoy and work at the same time, I decided to design Project 1336. I realised knitting has a connection to life. Similar to the threads, life is never straight; it has its ups and downs. This installation art has 1336m long multicoloured woollen ropes. It is the result of the contribution of many people especially women who have helped in knitting it together. I feel this artwork has made people smile.
A piece of art that is very special to me is Reverence for Newari Architecture, as it reflects my roots. This painting takes me back to my childhood when things were simple and we were not glued to our gadgets. In the painting, I have left a lot of white lacuna to showcase the past; Kathmandu was not jam-packed and there used to be large areas for children to play. In the frame of the main image, I have incorporated ancient architecture of Kathmandu. I have also portrayed the aesthetics of Pauva; a luxurious scroll painting. Today, Kathmandu’s beauty is somewhat fading due to urbansation, and this painting is a reminder for me on how pretty once the city used to be. It is currently being displayed at an exhibition in Siddhartha Art Gallery.
The process of making a piece of art is always painful for me. To create something out of nothing is difficult and a daunting process. And there is no standard marker for me to know whether the work is near completion. But I know that my destination is near as soon as a feeling of joy begins to permeate the workspace, even though the work itself might be dealing with grave issues. A certain visual harmony begins to emerge and transforms into a silent but palpable aural harmony. I usually let go of the ‘making’ process when this music emerges from work. And so, though my works usually deal with grave socio-economic and planetary issues, I have been lucky to experience joy every time. Thankfully, with the passage of time and enhanced skills, it is easier and easier to experience this joy.
The work I have here was created a few months after the 2015 earthquake. As it’s called In Retrospect, it looks back upon the ten years of my living in Nepal. It brings together moments of fun and absurdity, and the inescapable realities of both Kolkata and Kathmandu. In Retrospect is the most lighthearted and joyous piece from the past 14 years for me.