KATMANDU, January 1: The year 2021 for the artistic fraternity was full of hope, compared to the year 2020. After the lifting of the banning orders imposed to curb COVID-19, the art galleries of Kathmandu have reopened with various exhibits. Various events such as workshops and open platforms were held, raising hope in the scenario of Nepalese art.
However, Nepal lost veteran artists like Shanker Singh Suwal, Ek Ram Singh, Rajkumar Shakya and Uttam Nepali in 2021. Needless to say, they made immense contributions to the development of Nepalese art and their demise created a void in the field of art. .
Artist Erina Tamrakar, on their death, said: “I was frustrated and shocked by the disappearance of these great artists. Although the year 2020 has been a very productive year for me as an artist, the year 2021 could not be because I have not been able to create anything new due to COVID. But in terms of exhibitions and shows, the year 2021 was full of hope.
Exhibitions held in galleries such as Siddhartha Art Gallery, Classic Gallery, Nepal Art Council, Mcube Gallery, Bodhisattva Gallery, among others, featured themes related to cultural, social, environmental and political issues. Likewise, the opening of Kathmandu Art House which is part of the Museum of Modern Art (MONA) was also a highlight of the year 2021. E-Arts also launched studios open in four different locations and organized the Himalayan Art Festival which was not organized. in 2020 due to COVID. “It’s a huge boost for artists like us after confinement and that too on a private level,” Erina added.
Artist Neera Joshi represented Nepal at the 13th Florence Biennale, Fortezza Da Basso, Italy, held on October 23, which was sponsored by Pratima Pande, Honorary Consul General of Italy in Kathmandu and the Siddhartha Arts Foundation. The Florence Biennale is one of the most important international contemporary art exhibitions in Florence and is considered an exceptional global event.
The solo exhibition “Kaiten” by artist Subash Tamang at the Siddhartha Art Gallery was one of the memorable exhibitions of 2021. It dealt with socio-political issues about how the Tamang community during Rana’s reign in Nepal was oppressed and exploited.
Regarding the exhibition, Sangeeta Thapa, director of the Siddhartha Art Gallery, said, “If it has not been in the exhibition, we will not be able to get information about the Tamang community. It helped to understand indigenous peoples and politics.
Likewise, the exhibition “Tale of a City”, collective exhibition of Abhishek Shah, Anil Ranjit, Ashesh Dangol, Jagdish Upadhyay, Rupesh Man Singh, Sharmila Shrestha, Sujan Dangol and Jattadhari Bhajan Khala also took place in a style grandiose, where the exhibition dealt with the reflection of artists on their experiences with the city on the celebration of life and cultural heritage.
“This year, most of the exhibits were focused on culture and there were no exhibits representing the next generation of artists. These new generation artists are more into digital art and animation. In these terms, nothing new was presented, ”said artist / art writer Saroj Bajracharya.
Another exhibition that created the buzz was “Where Are the Wild Things” by a family of artists – Gopal Kalapremi Shrestha, Yamuna Shrestha and Shushank Shrestha – who showcased their diverse body of ceramic art at the Siddhartha Gallery.
Artist Sangee Shrestha’s “Sambeg” at the Mcube Gallery was also an outstanding exhibition in 2021 where she offered her solo exhibition after a hiatus of over a decade.
Then, a group exhibition “Hamro Pahilo Paila” by 22 graduate students of the BFA of the Lalit Kala campus became a reflection on the work of the artists of the new generation. “Nepalese Art: Beyond the Border” organized by Nepalian Art at Taragaon Museum was a striking exhibition due to the conceptual art works of 10 Nepalese artists.
“The Exhibition: Compassion and Healing Through Taras” at the Bodhisattva Gallery was also a one-of-a-kind exhibition held in 2021 with the aim of healing during the time of COVID. Speaking of the pace of galleries in 2021, artist and art critic Mukesh Malla said, “Looking at the current situation, galleries are operating at their own pace. But there is nothing new in terms of exposure.
According to him, artists of the younger generation are doing their best to educate their viewers, but they too need in-depth research. He added: “The artists have not been able to create a discourse and the galleries have not been able to reach the public. Until art reaches ordinary people, it cannot create an impact.
Agreeing not to have any significant change in the art scene, writer and art artist Madan Chitrakar said: “Although the art field was active in 2021, there have been no changes. radicals and everything went on as it was. “