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Rajan Pant – Blending Perspective with Paint

Rajan Pant is a renowned visual artist with a long list of achievements. He has participated in and organised multiple exhibitions throughout the world. Not only has he coordinated several art exchange tours and workshops, but he is also the founder of many art institutions, including the Zero Century Fine Art Foundation, Nepal Environmental Artists Group, and the Altamira School of Visual Arts. Additionally, Pant serves as the Vice President of the Artist Society of Nepal. He is also the Founding Board Member of Fineartnepal.com and an Executive member of the Young Artists Group.

Blown away by personal accomplishments, WOW’s Aakriti Maya explores the talented artist’s personal journey of actualisation and inspiration.

How does the story of Rajan Pant begin?

When I was just about 12 years old, I started working at the Sirjana Art Gallery. At that time it was the only platform for art and artists. I was moulded by the environment of artists as I ended working there for a decade. Later I left with the ambition of becoming an artist myself. I might have still ended up pursuing art even if I didn’t work at Sirjana, but that’s where my story begins.

How has your education shaped your work?

After I got my Bachelors degree in fine arts, I initially chose to study sociology a subject that I assumed would be a good fit for aspiring artists. When choosing a subject, people usually stay within their own lines. However, taking sociology motivated me to immerse myself into another culture and portray a perspective that I was not familiar with. For example, I am a Pahadi but my work centres around the Terai region.

Why Terai?

In was in 2000, during the rife between the Pahadis and people of the Terai… I had just finished my Master’s program and barely had any experience as an artist. Hence, a combination of interest and chance took me to the plains for the first time. I ended up living in a very remote village for ten days and began painting landscapes. Later, I realised that those ten days shaped my work as an artist. Terai soon became my muse. My fascination with Terai grew as I travelled all over the region learning about the culture, landscape and people.

Does your sociological lens shape how you depict the Terai in your work?

When I went to the Terai region, I noticed that the environment is so devoid of colour. The sky is toneless, the landscape blends together, the roads and houses are all the same colour. Contrastingly, the people of the Terai are obsessed with bright coloured clothing, decorations and even food. In fact, food colouring is heavily used even to make the most basic items such as rice and sweets. My understanding of this phenomenon is that the people of the Terai crave colour and want their surroundings to reflect the vibrancy of their culture and people. In my paintings, I am very intentional about the use of colour because I want to portray the region in an accurate way.

Is there a message you want to send through your art?

Not really, I am just trying to portray what I see in the landscapes of the Terai. I guess you could say that my message is to deliver perspectives, in that way my paintings are my message.

How do you feel about the evolution of the art scene in Nepal?

Ten years ago, I could not have imagined that Nepal’s art scene would grow so much. There are so many diverse expressions that are thriving now including performing arts, installations, postmodern work and other non-conventional art forms. Artists today also get the chance to travel far and wide for different workshops and information sessions, opportunities that did not exist in my time. I am a product of my own generation, a visual artist.  It makes me hopeful to see so many active artists both young and old. Progress in terms of activities, galleries and sales also makes me hopeful for the future.