As you enter the Bodhisattva Gallery, Pulchowk, the peaceful sound of running water and birds welcomes you. With the sound of nature reverberating in the background, you come across the first section of the ‘Prakriti-Where the Gods Reside’ which features statues with filigree work with precious and semi-precious stones of birds by artist Pradip Shakya. In addition, the exhibition includes unique paintings by artist Puspa Lal Dangol where he has painted birds using their feathers as a canvas.
Prakriti-Where the Gods Reside is full of such interesting artworks. The exhibition features traditional and modern artwork by experienced artists who have created a unique blend giving art lovers a wholesome experience.
The animal series of the exhibition showcases works by artists Lok Chitrakar, Udaya Charan Shrestha, Meena Dangol, Puspa Lal Dangol, and Pradip Shakya. The exhibition also has the Shiva Parvati series which displays work by Udaya Charan and Samundra Man Singh Shrestha.
Prakriti-Where the Gods Reside also has abstract paintings under the theme of Pancha Buddha and five elements by Raj Prakash Tuladhar, Ram Prakash Shrestha, Rajan Sangachee and Ritesh Shahi. In addition, one can witness the finest statues of different gods and goddesses made up of metal by artists Aneel Shakya, Rajan Shakya, Arjun Shakya, Rajesh Awale, Bijay Shakya, Sanu Maharjan, Birendra Shakya, Sunny Shakya, Gahendra Shakya, Phal Saman Shakya and Nilesh Shakya.
Prakriti-Where the Gods Reside has set a precedent for other curators of traditional arts. It has provided a platform for traditional artists to venture into new realms, including abstract art. This has shown how adaptive these artists are as they have collaborated quite beautifully.
Then, following the new trend, the exhibition also has a display of captivating digital animations of the goddess Annapurna, designed to engage and attract the younger generation.
Celebrating the rich artistic legacy of Nepal
Usually, traditional artists are reluctant to explore the modern aspect of the art form. However, in this exhibition, viewers can witness traditional artist Raj Prakash Tuladhar’s first-ever abstract paintings under the theme of Pancha Buddha and five elements.
Prajwol Shakya, director of the gallery said, “Our objective is to present the exhibition as a unifying experience for people of all ages, transcending cultural and generational barriers.”
Moreover, he says that the exhibition is a celebration of the rich artistic legacy of Nepal and intertwines it with contemporary elements, which aim to nurture an appreciation for art, culture, and spirituality among the diverse communities in the country.
Likewise, Prakriti-Where the Gods Reside showcases never seen paintings by senior artist Udaya Charan. One of his paintings in the exhibition features a ceremony in a Newa community where the mother-in-law is welcoming her daughter-in-law after the wedding ceremony. This realistic painting is pleasing to the eyes and he has worked on every single detail of the painting.
To understand the depth of the details in paintings, you have to use a magnifying glass, which is available at the gallery. And if you look at the painting closer with a magnifying glass, you will see the shine on the clothes of the daughter-in-law while the mother-in-law’s clothes are dull without any shine.
“Usually in Newa community when the bride is welcomed for the first time in the house, both mother-in-law and daughter-in-law wear a rich red and gold brocade attire and shawl,” Prajwol says, “Senior artist Udaya Charan Shrestha kept the details in mind as most of the time, the mothers-in-law wear her old bridal set at such ceremony and that’s why there is no tint on her clothes.”
Udaya Charan is known for his detailed works and he is one of the finest traditional artists Nepal has.
Embracing modern technology
Udaya Charan also helped to envision the iconographic image of Goddess Annapurna for the gallery.
Goddess Annapurna is known for her blessing with a never-ending supply of anna (food grain) and she is also known as the incarnation of Goddess Parvati. Even at her shrines, such as the one at Asan, devotees are limited to witnessing the Kalash (vase of plenty) manifestation of the goddess.
However, it was late Purna Man Shakya who received an order for Goddess Annapurna’s statue. Then with the help of Udaya Charan, the iconographic image of Goddess Annapurna in Newa style was created and Purna Man commissioned sculptors to make the idol.
In the exhibition, you can witness the life-size digital animation of Goddess Annapurna projected on three sides of the gallery. Similarly, you can also see a metal statue of Goddess Annapurna, which has been created with the lost wax process using mercury gold gilded on copper, just opposite the animation.
“To resonate with the younger generation and embrace modern technologies, Prakriti has also incorporated digital animations of the goddess Annapurna,” says Prajwol, “These animations are envisioned to offer a dynamic and immersive experience for visitors, aligning with the evolving preferences of the contemporary audience and connecting them to Nepal’s profound cultural heritage in a novel way.”
The exhibition lets you explore connectedness with the natural, real and spiritual world through the artworks on display giving you a wholesome experience. Additionally, the exhibition demonstrates the willingness of established artists to delve into uncharted territory while maintaining their core aesthetic values.
The exhibition continues till August 26.