An intense desire to express me has always resided within me, but I’m not very good with words, so I turn to art, as it always provides me with the freedom of thought and imagination to express myself fully.
However, it was not always the case; as a first grader, I used to detest art class. I know detesting is a strong emotion, but it was exactly how I felt during my art classes. They used to be very rigid and inflexible, and all they ever allowed were drawings of a bunch of potatoes, some orange doodles, and sometimes, if they’re feeling very imaginative, maybe a tree. Simply put, I didn’t grasp it. I didn’t understand why we were required to repeatedly draw the same imagery over and over again.
When my mother noticed my increasing disinterest in art, she took the initiative and began to instruct me in art all by herself. During our art lessons, she allowed me to indulge and explore the depths of my own imagination in order to create pieces of art that I was passionate about. Together, we would draw anything we wanted without any limitations. Those enjoyable art sessions with my mother fundamentally altered the way I viewed art.
This is the story of how I came about to wholeheartedly fall in love with art. Thus, nowadays I create with much freedom as art is indeed the very best way to express oneself.
Coming of Age
My series “Coming Of Age” is an ode to the classic American breakfast with bacon and eggs. It depicts vulnerability through symbolic images from my own imagination. During the creation of this piece I allowed myself to be completely honest and vulnerable so that people would be able to connect to their own coming of age experiences. Even the choice of color plates is supposed to give a familiar feeling to everyone.
Frogs are one of my favorite animals. I absolutely love them. Frogs provide me with a lot of comfort and warmth. When I don’t get to pet a frog sometimes, it’s very painful for me. So to fulfill my desire to pet a frog, I pick up my paintbrush and instead paint them in different forms, scenarios and especially as humanized beings, which I find very enjoyable to do.
The piece “Sir Frog” was inspired by classical portraits of important people. The painting symbolizes the importance of frogs in the overall ecosystem. I heavily relied on my own imagination in addition to a few references and inspiration to create this art piece.
The painting with the several faces(2017)= “in my head”
The painting with the lemon and egg(2017)= “in my head”
The painting with the ear and teeth(2022)= “के होस् त?”
My trio consists of two paintings from 2017 and one painting from 2022. I wanted to show the difference between the subject of my paintings as I grow older. When I painted the first two paintings, I was in 8th grade. My paintings were an escape for me, therefore it’s more environment-centric. I created worlds where I wanted to be. Worlds where I wish I could run off to. Places that gave me comfort, that felt like home. My world was the size of a matchbox, but I still had things I wanted to run away from.
Now that I’m older, my problems stem from within me. Body dysphoria, anxiety, imposter syndrome. Somehow I’ve turned myself into my own enemy, and I try to work through that with my paintings. They explore concepts of being uncomfortable with your body, being uncomfortable with your being, and not knowing where you’re going or who you are.
It’s the duality of my thoughts. The fight with everything around me, and the fight within myself.
The years 2012 to 2015 marked a difficult period in my life. Residing in India to commence my Bachelor’s in Visual arts, I lived in a remote environment, distant from home. I witnessed pain and suffering in the day-to-day lives of the women living in the slum village right next to my hostel, which truly disheartened me. Hence, the notions of Womanhood and Motherhood came to inspire my work. However, despite their misery and hardship, the innate smile on their faces and heartfelt gestures remained testimony of their acceptance of their own reality. This inspired me to grow and move beyond my circumstances at that time. I strongly reflected on those sentiments and created these artworks as part of honoring those women and letting their stories of hardship and happiness be known. Womanhood (Motherhood) therefore, is one of my early series of artwork (painting) created, influenced by the nature of human life, the struggles faced, and yet ironically, a motion of courage.
My early art practice was a portrayal of societal structures, their transformation, and their impact on human life. The struggle, chaos, and the complexities of self-identity among individuals, varying with the nature of instincts and crucial influence allowed the transformation. This process made me incorporate distorted human forms and their emotions through colors and inks on canvas. I started pasting Nepali handmade paper on canvas before applying the paint, to reinforce my idea of human nature being absorbent of its surroundings. Most of my artworks are a satirical commentary on the government and society’s wavering act to the issues that emerged from gender disparity and afloat socio-political backdrop.
Fascinated by the works of Pablo Picasso and George Braque, the geometric shapes and compositions influenced me in my studies. Thus, while portraying life in a slum, I was attracted to the simplicity and the dark tones of the surrounding. This led me to create geometrical compositions on paper, use dark and contrast colors, and experiment with my style of expression in the following years.
Coming to 2021, my works focus on the importance of mental health, and its impact on wellbeing. Going through a difficult phase in life and experiencing the challenges of mental health issues myself, I started working on the subject, presenting artworks and poems as a part of my mental health awareness campaign from an individual level. The encouraging figures in my paintings appeal to everyone to realize the importance of mental health and support individuals struggling with the same. I believe this simple gesture could bring a spark of hope to the ones that might have been struck and struggling alone at a difficult phase in their life. At the same time, these works are also symbolic of my own inspiration to move forward. Working on those pieces was a part of healing myself as well.
For the past few years, I have been struggling with my mental health, and art has somewhat been my way to escape from those days and balance myself out mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It has been my way to connect to myself as well as disconnect from myself at the same time while being engaged in the creating process. This is such a liberating feeling for me, and I am grateful that I am able to feel that way while doing so. I realized I found it easier to express myself and let out my emotions through photographs rather than from other art forms as of now.
Through these photographs, I was letting out the thoughts and feelings I was experiencing during those times into visual forms. I am aware that these pictures are not pleasant to look at and I have no intention to make them appear so as well. I just want to capture that feeling, be honest with myself and embrace my darkest side, and portray what I was going through, visually. The more I got myself to express these dark feelings through photographs, the more I felt connected to myself, aware of my thoughts, releasing, cleansing, and healing myself. In short, it eased me.
In the photographs with the footprints, I was attempting to portray how a person suffering from depression slowly loses oneself, forgets oneself, and fades away. However, it can also be connected to life and time, like an hourglass; how our life is fading away, and one day you’re just gone; absent. I will leave it to your own interpretation.
In the photograph with the hands slipping through the glass, I demonstrate how hard the person is trying to hold on. A silent scream.
The photograph with the chair speaks of loneliness. Feeling of breaking down. Unable to move. Waiting for someone. Waiting for something. Finding comfort amidst the turbulence of feelings. Waiting for yourself to come back to yourself, and the urge to be seen yet an urge to hide.
In the picture of feet decorated with Ala (red pigment), I wanted to express that wearing it made me instantly feel like a child trying to impersonate our living goddess Kumari. I was trying to look at myself and find in myself a divine feminine power, and also believe that I’m protected. It is believed God lives inside everyone. I am trying to find one in me as well.
Here, I framed my photographs with double glass to show the fragility of mental health. In most of the photographs here, I have tried to bring out a vintage esq style. Lately, I have been drawn to this kind of style, as in some way it connects me with my grandfather. I miss him. Wish he was here to see my first ever exhibition. He was an art enthusiast himself, and this exhibition of mine, I want to dedicate this to my Baa.
My lucid dreams are one of my biggest inspirations as they lay the foundation of my art-making process. The subconscious flow of images running amok inside my head and the conscious words that later justifies my inner subconsciousness. The impact of music, movies and books can be felt in my bodies of work, which are influenced by life itself and its every minute detail. Symbols and flowers can be seen frequently in my work as I like to play and twist their general narratives.
Spider lilies on the floor, dead soldiers
Paper cranes and blood drenched clouds
The chairs; the soldiers who witnessed death
May you find peace in the arms of your beloved
May the waves of blood lead you to freedom
After watching movies about wars I have noticed that the happiness and sense of relief the soldiers felt when the war is over is soon replaced with anxiety, sadness, constant wailing and weeping when they look at the bodies on the floor or some washed away by the sea. All the dead bodies were deep red in color and the dead bodies floating on the water looked like flowers, the flowers which are offered to a body of water after the prayer is complete. The people who have returned from war although survived have some sort of emptiness in them.
Hymn Of Death
Playing with the idea of paradox, I heard scaremongering of the nearing apocalypse.
moths gather in my legs.
won’t let me sleep at night
hands embraces the legs
numb numb numb numb
Only then they leave
I have trouble sleeping at night when the moon is high and the cicadas cry. The anxiety and restlessness rushes from heart and head to my legs. I have been experiencing this since I was a child and the restlessness would only go away when i pressed or squeezed my legs. The tingling sensation starts from my feet and it stays for a while below the knee or in the calves. The restlessness doesn’t cause any pain but it causes insomnia for me. I have been awake for the whole night for many days and would only fall asleep in the morning.
Printmaking has been a really fun medium for me where the possibilities are endless. The trial and error process has a lot to offer. Before carving the image directly for the woodblock a draft was made. Then it was traced onto the board and the lines were carved. Different strokes, curves and tools produce different sounds, making the carving process the most healing of all. The test prints satisfy and amuse me more than the final prints. There is a sense of pure and raw energy when the board is soaked with its first layer of paint, as it touches the first paper to leave its mark behind.
On the other hand, etching is a whole new medium for me where the entire process is experimental. I infused charcoal and oil paints for this artwork, as they have always been my preferred medium since I find them to be more expressive than others. The background and the foreground is painted with turpentine and paint. The background is also painted with a thin coat of colors to demonstrate the detachment of my legs with the night and sleep. The legs I’ve created are painted in blue and purple to depict the numbness I feel. The moths are painted fuzzy to elucidate the tingling sensation I feel in my legs. As long as I make art, I don’t want to limit myself with materials, rather let the art demand the materials. I believe our darkest sides should be acknowledged rather than neglected.
For the past few years, I have been interested in the ideas of home, memories and identity. Growing up in the 90’s and spending most of my time outdoors, playing or listening to stories from my grandmother, piqued my interest in the visuals from back then. I often look for the kind of people and places I was familiar with when I was a kid.
Hence, my work is the collection of these visuals that have held huge significance in my life. As I roamed around my birthplace, I could sense an overwhelming presence of growth and change. However at the same time I wanted to focus on the part that still remained after all these years – be it old friends in traditional attire, grandparents playing with their grandchildren, women braiding each others’ hair, painting their toes red with alah:, or little boys and girls playing. The strong sense of belonging and familiarity in the city of Patan where I was born and raised in, has often inspired me to dwell deeper into the idea of home. I have consistently been keen on the visuals my city offers, as I have found comfort among the vibrant colours and warmth of the people I have come across along these years.
For me, the city as a subject matter has continuously offered endless visual fodder over time. This body of work is the result of exploring the city and archiving all the photographs around, schoolgirls walking with their hands locked, whispers of women chattering in distance, chaos in the market, group of men singing bhajans, women at leisure on falchas and many more of these memories that I hold close to me.
Home in a city is an ongoing series of pen and ink drawings. This body of work focuses on the visuals that tap into the memoirs of the city I grew up in. The spaces are and will keep on changing but I mostly focus on those that have remained constant over the years. I take reference from the images I took while flaneuring around the city. Some images remind me of the people I was familiar with, while some feel like the characters of the stories my grandma used to share with us. And I imprint these memories in an attempt to freeze them in the linearity of time.
My process involves digital drawings that I draw over the images to determine the compositions and placements and then remarking them with colour pens on the paper. This meditative process of repeating each line helps me to relive memories again and again. In practice of focusing on certain visuals, I exclude characters from their own environment and place them into the vibrant palette that I’ve always felt connected to.
जब काठमाडौंमा भीड थिएन, धुवाँ थिएन
गाडीहरू एकदम कम थिए
शुन्यता शुन्यमा लिप्त हुनु
बगैचाको प्रतिकको कुरा गर्नु वा कल्पिनु
एक हुल शुन्यता मात्र
पर्खाल वारी अनि पर्खाल परी हुनु
गल्लीका भुसिया कुकुरहरु राजा हुनु
लथालिङग ,बेहोशिमा हुनु
अभावमा म अप्राकृतिक गर्भवती हुनु
एवम् रितमा प्राकृतिक रुपमा युग गर्भवती हुनु
मनोसम्वादका आयाम अनि आकार बाट पुरस्कृति हुनु
गुप्ताङ्ग सुकेका आमा को अझ समिप हुनु
सुकेर हल्दै सासुआमाको निधन हुनु
अनि हाम्रो छोरी स्वर युग लामाको जन्म हुनु
यी सबबाट प्रेरीत ‘ सिर्जित, सिर्जनाहरुबाट
बचेको मेरे लकडाउनको फोक्सो
तपाईको . तिम्रो अनि हाम्रो फोक्सो