Rabindra’s ‘Memories’ preserve tradition through art


Kathmandu, Apr. 1: Artist Rabindra Shrestha, renowned for his unique installation art, once again captivated art-goers with his latest concept art titled ‘Memories’ at the recent Bagmati Provincial Art Exhibition held at the Nepal Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA). 

This time, Shrestha adorned a wooden boat with approximately 90 kilograms of coins, a symbolic gesture aimed at preserving cherished memories. 

Like his previous creation ‘Boat Tea House’ seamlessly blended language, literature and art, ‘Memories’ embodies a fusion of artistic expression and cultural preservation. In the National Fine Arts Exhibition last year, Shrestha showcased his captivating concept artwork ‘Boat Tea House.’

 This innovative creation embodied by a boat, where he kept books, tables and a guitar where visitors were served with tea.  Art-goers were allowed to enjoy reading, talking, and singing inside the boat. Through that installation art, Shrestha created a platform to celebrate language, literature and art. 

Amongst the display of over 600 diverse artworks at the national art exhibition, the ‘Boat Tea House’ stood out as one of the most captivating pieces of art.

 Now the inspiration behind ‘Memories’ stemmed from Shrestha’s nostalgia for a disappearing tradition.

 He reminisced about the joyous moments during the Dashain festival when elders would give coins, and they would take the coins to buy chocolates, a gesture that held immense sentimental value for him.

“This boat never set sail, yet it facilitated the journey of millions of Nepalis to distant shores. Memories of Dashain, Tihar, kites, chocolates, and relatives are intertwined with these coins. However, with time passing, both these elements are fading away.” Shrestha said. 

 As times change, the significance of these coins is fading away, mirroring the gradual disappearance of traditional customs. 

With ‘Memories,’ Shrestha attempts to preserve these disappearing cultural practices by encapsulating them within his artwork.  The boat, laden with coins collected since 2012, serves as a vessel for preserving not just currency but the essence of a bygone era. 

Shrestha’s vision extends beyond mere art, it’s a conscious effort to pass down the rich cultural heritage to future generations. Amongst a plethora of diverse artworks displayed at the Bagmati Provincial Art Exhibition, ‘Memories’ emerges as a poignant reminder of the intrinsic value embedded within our cultural legacies.

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