Sunday, 11 April, 2021

Art works highlight cultural heritages after 2015 quake


By Renuka Dhakal
Kathmandu, Mar. 3: ‘Mere concept of “I” and everything’, the ‘Bishwarupa Idol’ located in the Sleshmantak Forest, rationally portrayed in the form of art, represents the religious and cultural significance of Nepal.
Artist Kabi Raj Lama has spent years to paint this historic idol of Bishwarupa.
A huge idol of Lord Shiva with many heads and many hands, carrying thousands of different weapons could be seen on the wall of the Siddhartha Art Gallery, Babar Mahal Revisited, as the documentation of art by Lama.
In the pasted painting at the art gallery, Lord Shiva is carrying a vessel with his right hand while the palm of the left hand is broken.
In front of it, Goddess Parvati can be seen lying on the ground with her body parts scattered.
The remains of the same ruined idol scattered on the ground is the depiction of the present Bishwarupa idol.
The idol is one of the many religious heritages damaged in the devastating earthquake of 2015.
This was the current situation of the statue incised by artist Lama.
In the original statue of Bishwarupa, Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva were shown hugging each other face to face.
Lama has imprinted this idol as an art through ‘woodcut method'.
He said, “I love each work of art exhibited here in the art gallery, but personally, I am deeply connected with this art work. This is an irreplaceable work of art in the time of Jung Bahadur Rana, but for our dismay, this art work has not been reconstructed due to political row.”
Entitled ‘Cycles of Impermence', the exhibition depicts the structures of some ancient settlements and cultural heritages of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur cities.
Lama has made a total of 24 artworks which he tinted with etchings lithographs and woodcut methods.
It took four years for Lama to give final touch to the collection of art works that now is displayed on the wall of art gallery.
He began his research and observation for this art work from 2016, immediately after the 2015 earthquake jolted in Nepal.
Most of his art works depict the primeval monuments and heritages of three districts of the Kathmandu Valley which were physically damaged by the 2015 earthquake, and a few are still waiting for their reconstruction while others are undergoing renovation and repair.
Lama has also exhibited his profound art of Mount Everest. After the deadly avalanche that hit Everest in 2015, he was deeply upset that even in Mt. Everest many people had lost their lives.
In 2018, he reached the ABC Base Camp to pay homage to those who perished in the avalanche through his art.
Among many canvases in the exhibition, he has smeared the primeval waterspout of Kathmandu in an artistic way.
His paintings depict the importance of such a historic waterspout and its current desolate state.
An established print maker, art is a meditation which gives the inner satisfaction to artist Lama.
His aim is to portray Nepali art and cultural heritage and enlighten the new generation about it.
Therefore, he has exquisitely depicted the structures that were destroyed and are being renovating after the earthquake through his art.
He said that the government had not given any importance to fine arts in Nepal.
Art vividly portrays a person's personality and society, so it is important to teach students art from primary school level, said Lama.
The reconstruction phase of the Nyatapole Temple and the Buddhanath Stupa can also be seen in the gallery, showing the scaffolding of two heritage structures.
He has also inscribed from the varjras, the stone garudas, lion’s temple, bells, the lotus base of an ornate pillar where once a deity was placed, historic stone scriptures to his house in Kavre in his work.