Nepal is an enigmatic multidimensional country, with magical and unfathomable diversity of cultures and religions. We have serene temples, innumerable festivals, and myriad celebrations where emotions flourish and social exchange is abound. As a country divided into Himal, Pahad and Terai, Nepal celebrates the same occasion in different ways depending on the region. Our multi-dimensional culture historically evolved around the geographical variations within the country’s borders and remained intact due to long years of political isolation. I have tried to portray the spirit and ethos behind and around the ‘UTSAVS’ or celebrations observed in Nepal – in particular the festivals in Kathmandu valley which are famous for its pomp and ceremony . UTSAV is about enjoyment, leaving behind negativity to move towards a blissful new life with vigor and enthusiasm. I have tried to portray glimpses of these celebrations through my art.
The aesthetical sensibilities and creative impulses of people have always fascinated me. I believe that festivals arise from of an inspired collective consciousness that seeks to bring communities together to celebrate around diverse thematic cultural representations. I find the energetic and expressive body language of people amidst festivities visually exciting. In particular, the festival of Inadrajatra has always been special to me. The act of pulling a chariot with the living goddess “Kumari” onboard, worshipping deities, their avatars, mask dances and traditional music all combine to create a transcendental experience. Even just the colors that are paraded on festive occasion suffice to become a performance. It is this tangential aura and exuberance that attracted my attention to the subject-matter.
Similarly, Dashain, one of the biggest and the longest festivals of all Nepalis, symbolizes a cultural cohesion. It is customary during Dashain to seek blessing from the elders, to come together as family and friends. I have portrayed these ideas through the use of the color red.
I have been inspired by motifs that are connected with traditional Mandap-mandalas that are made during Mha Puja, a ceremony marked by the purification of the body and soul and by Bhai Tika – the last day of Tihar, when brothers are worshipped and pampered by their sisters. The Mandalas connected with the Swastika and Sadkona are brought together emphasizing the amalgamation of varying forms, colors and medium.
Similarly, the festival of Machhendranath, the longest chariot-pulling festival in Kathmandu has exerted its influence on my work as well. The multicolored banners that are hung on bamboo poles at the beginning of Holi inspire me as well.
The eagerness of the people awaiting the fete and achieving what they are expecting through it seems to be as an enthusiastic supremacy. The importance of festival will never fade away and will have its significance till the country and the people celebrating it remains. I am sure that the aesthetical amalgamation of the cultural festivals and human emotions will remain forever.