Correlation Between Us: Muna Bhadel’s art exhibition is all about links with people and things

Correlation Between Us
Ongoing exhibition Correlation Between Us by Muna Bhadel at Dalai-La Boutique Hotel, Thamel. Photo: Chandra Bahadur Ale

Relationships and interactions with your loved ones mould your character, behaviour and overall personality. They are also decisive in how you get attached to your loved ones over the course of time. Whether it be literature or art, family background and the way one is brought up usually get reflected on their work.

Confirming the notion, visual artist Muna Bhadel’s second solo exhibition, Correlation Between Us, explores the relationship between a woman and her colourful attires. Then, there is the relationship between her and her grandmother. As a whole, the exhibition deals with one’s attachment to people and things—especially attires.

People and things

The exhibition that kicked off on August 1 at Dalai-La Boutique Hotel, Thamel, has two sections—drawings of hand gestures and paintings having a young woman as the major motif—depicting the generations of women and their attachment to their people and clothes.

In the drawing section, Muna Bhadel has created a monochromatic effect using the colour red and has portrayed drawings of her hand and her grandmother’s hand, which are holding each other in different positions. There are five such drawings.

She has used the colour red as a symbol of the blood relationship and attachment between her and her grandmother. The details of lines and figures in her drawings evoke the emotion of love, care, tenderness and nurture.

Muna Bhadel's ongoing exhibition Correlation Between Us is all about relationships. Photo: Chandra Bahadur Ale
Muna Bhadel’s ongoing exhibition Correlation Between Us is all about relationships. Photo: Chandra Bahadur Ale

And, this very nature of her grandmother along with her interaction with her grandmother helped her get a theme for her solo exhibition.

Muna Bhadel recalls, “Once I was talking to my grandmother and she was looking at her wedding sari and ornaments while keeping it safe. She told me how much she adored them as they were her wedding attires. She sighed that she was not able to wear them as her husband is dead now.”

Muna Bhadel says her grandmother has inspired her to do an exhibition on this theme. Photo: Chandra Bahadur Ale
Muna Bhadel says her grandmother has inspired her to do an exhibition on this theme.

During that conversation and many other conversations with her female relatives and friends, she realised at some point that they would definitely talk about the attires and their attachment to their favourite ones.

She adds, “I realised that we tend to get attached to our clothes because of their patterns, colours and designs. And if we look into the nature of women, this nature of admiring attires was prevalent in the historic period as well as the modern day. The attires remind us of special events in our life as well, which sometimes become a way to communicate with new generation about our memories and be nostalgic.”

Embodying femininity

Correlation Between Us Muna Bhadel
The ongoing exhibition, Correlation Between Us, by Muna Bhadel at Dalai-La Boutique Hotel, Thamel. Photo: Chandra Bahadur Ale

With this notion, taking reference from Rajasthani and Mogul art, Muna Bhadel has synthesised historic and modern-day women who are admiring their beauty and accessories.

This beautiful fusion symbolises that no matter what century a woman lives in, her emotions and feelings being a woman are the same. Moreover, her paintings using acrylic on canvas depict her own psyche of being a woman.

In one of her paintings, she has created a modern-day woman who is admiring her own body and her vibrant colourful attire. Her black hair falls down loosely on her shoulder. Then, there are two other women where a woman on the top is looking at the mirror and another at the bottom is playing with her shawl and looking as if she is going to dance.

These two women on the side have been created in Rajasthani and Mogul art styles. About this, she shares, “I did not want to use religious motifs but something that is equivalent to everyday life and represents history. Hence, I used Rajasthani and Mogul-style motifs in my paintings.”

Moreover, one can see various patterns in the paintings that are totally different from one another yet has a rhythmic harmony in them. For the patterns of clothes, she has used various geometric patterns and for the background, she has used patterns found in traditional paubha paintings.

Correlation Between Us
Muna Bhadel’s artwork on display in Kathmandu in August 2022. Photo: Chandra Bahadur Ale

Muna Bhadel’s patterns are colourful, vibrant and soothing to the eyes. Meanwhile, her main character is seen admiring her own beauty and attires she is wearing where her eyes do not meet the eyes of viewers but are admiring herself.

This, she says, is a feminine aspect and being feminist does not only mean rebelling against the wrong happenings in society but also admiring femininity.

“I have explored feminism in the aspect of feelings and emotions. Feminism also means accepting who you are and loving yourself. So, I am admiring all the qualities of being a woman who is soft yet powerful.”

The exhibition where the artist has freely expressed her femininity through patterns, textures, and aesthetics continues till August 31.

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Shrestha is a senior sub-editor at Onlinekhabar. Contact her at [email protected].

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