And the absence of a rigid theme has allowed an assortment of artists with diverse stories to take their place in the ever-expanding Nepali contemporary art scene.
For instance, Anamika Gautam’s cubist ‘Winter in her Palace’ and ‘The Grief’ are captivating medleys of geometric shapes. Here, she depicts the socio-political assessment of gender and mental health in deceptively simple execution with vibrant colours.
Priyanka Singh Maharjan’s ‘Home in a City’ is also an example of simple and vibrant series, but here the subjects are entirely different. Evenly spaced thin lines fall from the top of the canvas to the bottom, and in those lines shapes begin to take form, women talking, telling stories, working, participating. In pen and ink, she weaves the tapestries of society, placing women front and centre and depicting the side of our culture and community so often overlooked by the prominent male gaze.
Sundar Lama’s sequence of three – ‘Lungs’ – are selectively coloured and paired with poems in Nepali that look at the Covid pandemic and healthcare. Ribs suspended mid-air feature in the three frames, as symbols of protection or prisons, together with clouds, floating hands, and a quiet child caught between the past, the future and salvation.
Aditi Sherpa’s colourful paintings are equally abstract in their narratives. Eyes stare out right into the viewer’s souls. The cacophony of shapes ask “What are you?” in large bold Devnagari letters. A yellow lemon with windows floats between a banana, omelette, lizard, face and a confused clock. As the artist grows from one canvas to the next, these are anxious pieces that look for answers in our environment and imaginations.