The Emptying: Artists Saroj Bajracharya and Sahil Bhopal empty themselves in art

Artist Saroj Bajracharya's paintings displayed on the first floor of the gallery. Photo: Sangita Shrestha
Artist Saroj Bajracharya’s paintings displayed on the first floor of the gallery. Photo: Sangita Shrestha

Being alone in an empty house or a room is a scary experience for many, let alone emptying their existing beliefs or thoughts. Though humans are born empty-handed and empty-minded, throughout their entire life, they simply do not want to get empty materialistically or spiritually.

But, those who dare to do so might then eventually be rewarded, but basically, this is a difficult task for most of them.

However, artists Saroj Bajracharya and Sahil Bhopal have come up with a show titled The Emptying that began on September 18 at MCube Gallery, Chakupat, Patan.

The wait is over

Nepal’s Saroj Bajracharya and India’s Sahil Bhopal first met each other in 2019 during a group exhibition, Appearance of Light: Contemporary Artworks Depicting Padmasambhava’s Legacy. Since then, their bond has only strengthened and they were planning to do a two-man show in the same year.

However, due to the pandemic, their plan was postponed, which materialised only in 2022.

Artist Sahil Bhopa's paintings on display on the  ground floor of the gallery.
Artist Sahil Bhopa’s paintings on display on the ground floor of the gallery.

Both the artists have explored their inner world along with their surroundings through symbols and motifs. The ground floor of the gallery features Bhopal’s paintings while the first floor of the gallery displays Bajracharya’s paintings.

For both, the artists’ paintings have a meditative effect as well as creating paintings is their way of exploring and searching for themselves.

Different motifs but the same theme

Through the exhibition, they have tried to empty themselves in terms of their own reality. In Bajracharya’s painting, along with emptying his thought process, he has even let his work question the existence when the surrounding is kept in reserve. As such, he has placed fish in the sky and birds in the water. An astronaut is his reoccurring motif, which symbolises belongingness in this universe.

Astronauts are the recurring motif in Saroj Bajracharya's paintings. Photo: Sangita Shrestha
Astronauts are the recurring motif in Saroj Bajracharya’s paintings. Photo: Sangita Shrestha

Saroj Bajracharya has been active in the art field for three decades. He is involved in many facets of art, such as painting, writing, curating and coordinating art events, as well as teaching.

But, he shares, “I have always worked on the theme of belongingness, and this time, I tried to show how we would react when we are placed in surroundings, which in reality, we do not belong. Then, doing so, I am expressing my liberty and freedom beyond consciousness.”

Meanwhile, Sahil Bhopal is a contemporary thangka painter from Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, India and since 2016, he is also working on digital art. There is a fine finesse in his paintings; his two digital artworks are realistic yet surrealistic while observing.

His paintings have motifs such as lotus, lotus seeds, water and drum. He is living in the Kathmandu valley for the past eight years and he uses images and mythologies of Tibetan Buddhism in his paintings.

A lotus seed being protected by the leaf in Sahil Bhopal's painting. Photo: Sangita Shrestha
Lotus seed is protected by the leaf in Sahil Bhopal’s painting. Photo: Sangita Shrestha

The lotus in his paintings is himself, and the falling petals denote the withering of his old pattern of thoughts yet the seed in the flower symbolises the regeneration of his new thoughts. Then, the leaves symbolise his loved ones who protect him during the time of his vulnerability.

If you too want to see how Saroj Bajracharya and Sahil Bhopal empty themselves with the help of colours and canvas, visit the exhibition that continues till September 30.

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

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