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34 vivacity magazine • june 2011 www.vivacitymagazines.com 35june 2011 • vivacity magazinewww.vivacitymagazines.com
There ...
36 vivacity magazine • june 2011 www.vivacitymagazines.com 37june 2011 • vivacity magazinewww.vivacitymagazines.com
undert...
38 vivacity magazine • june 2011 www.vivacitymagazines.com 39june 2011 • vivacity magazinewww.vivacitymagazines.com
most f...
41june 2011 • vivacity magazinewww.vivacitymagazines.com
Naritaya, a combination of worship, meditation
and performance. I...
42 vivacity magazine • june 2011 www.vivacitymagazines.com 43june 2011 • vivacity magazinewww.vivacitymagazines.com
Photob...
44 vivacity magazine • june 2011 www.vivacitymagazines.com 45june 2011 • vivacity magazinewww.vivacitymagazines.com
Perhap...
46 vivacity magazine • june 2011 www.vivacitymagazines.com
Time magazine, way back in 1970, reported - “As
an art, tattoos...
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Arts & Inspirations _VIVACITY 2

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Deities & their personification have inspired the ancient arts of Nepal...

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Arts & Inspirations _VIVACITY 2

  1. 1. 34 vivacity magazine • june 2011 www.vivacitymagazines.com 35june 2011 • vivacity magazinewww.vivacitymagazines.com There can’t be art without inspiration. It is the first canvas, studio or workshop of the artist, and that is where it shapes before the display. arun KHanna cover story There can’t be art without inspiration. It is the first canvas, studio or workshop of the artist, and that is where it shapes before the display. There can’t be art without inspiration. It is the first canvas, studio or workshop of the artist, and that is where it shapes before the display. InspirationsInspirationsInspirations Arts craftsmen coloring the world heritage stupa at Boudhanath ArtsArtsInspirations ArtsInspirations and
  2. 2. 36 vivacity magazine • june 2011 www.vivacitymagazines.com 37june 2011 • vivacity magazinewww.vivacitymagazines.com undertook to work with his chisel or brush. Not only the theme was religious but the artist imbued with a feeling of religious devotion rendered also his task in that spirit” This devotion has permeated through time and lies at the core of the arts and their inspiration in Nepal. In a contemporary sense of the word inspiration has travelled many roads to the same destination - fulfillment of the creative urge carried through intellect or emotion. Inspiration has its sources in diverse thoughts and experiences. For some it lies in ordinary conversation itself. For others the stark nakednessofbeingordinarycancomeasahugesurge for doing something distinct. Many see inspiration in the power to overcome disabilities, the relentless head on collisions with hurdles which creates awe in those who watch. Again some see it in relationships. For instance an adult who has seen his parents in love since childhood, is sure to think love affairs do move towards happy endings! Deep down, traditions of Nepalese culture and expression are not based on the ideas of proven fact, but on the unquestionable acceptance of something that has always been done by faith. Faith is above substantiated fact. Objects associated with daily life - a terracotta oil lamp, a metal receptacle or a stone water spout hewn in the shape of a makara hold this veryfaiththatpoursitselfintoart.Andyetitisnotjust the tangible which brings moments of inspiration, but the huge repository of intangible heritage. The continuing flux of oral traditions, folklore, songs and dance forms add to the arts and its inspiration on a regular basis. Traditional Faith even makes the Gods and deities preside over the arts themselves. Kathmandu alone has over thirty-two temples for Nasa Dyo, the Newari god of the performance arts, music, dance and drama. Community celebrations have always been a source of inspiration. The week long Bhidyo Boyegu ceremony, as an example, is a Newar tradition - now in decline - when Bahas in the valley display Paughas paintings for public worship. Scrolls have been the W hat could have been the primordial urge which perhaps made a farmer leavehislushfields,afamilymanleave his wife and children at the break of dawn, or maybe a young man detach the twined hand of a beloved, to walk across cool dewed grass trails in search of a meaningless cold rock? Carry it back, and somewhere in secluded quite incessantly hammer it for days. Come back to it again and again; wedge it open, chisel it, till a chipped scarred shape would stare out from the rock. And what would that shape be, which he would again spend days to burnish, with delicate, aching, intimate force? The place perhaps might have been Lalittapatan, or Patan. And the rock may well have been carried from the highlands of Chobar or Kirtipur which have been know for durable stone quarries. Stone was the first medium of expression by such people whose work today is called art, as known from the stone sculptures of the 4th century Lichavvi era of Nepal So what were these shapes? Above all, deities and their personifications. And what was the inspiration, the urge? The historian D R Regmi put it succinctly, “The artist applied himself to his task as a man of devotion who cover story Left Sindoor Jatra, Bhaktapur Middle A Newari musician Right page Ranju Awale at his sculptor
  3. 3. 38 vivacity magazine • june 2011 www.vivacitymagazines.com 39june 2011 • vivacity magazinewww.vivacitymagazines.com most favored mediums maybe that made it easy to carry them, transport them and make frequent use of them in teaching religious precepts. Congregationsofpeoplesharingthesamewaysoflife and celebrations gave adaptability to the people and with it a great tradition of religious tolerance. “They gave birth to a culture nurturing animist practices, orthodox Shaivism and ritual Mahayana Buddhism” says Dilli Ram Regmi. Lying on the trade route between India and Tibet, Kathmandu in particular, ingested many external influences. This influx sustained ethnic diversity and gave a surge to cross generic arts. But not to overlook that the serving of arts was also on distinct caste based roles. The caste based work particularly in the arts became stronger during the Malla period, from the thirteenth century onwards. The traditional side of arts and artists has been influenced by these demarcations, and inspiration has often sprung from the pride in the lineage of the artist. Distinctions are evident in the same ethnic and geographic spaces. For instance dance forms show both Buddhist and Hindu traditions among the Newars.TheHinduNewarcelebratethe Lakhedance, a demon dance, the Budhhist newar - the Chariya cover story Royal patronage came to Nepalese arts in a big way during the reign of the Malla Kings. And with that came the impetus. Dieties & wooden masks Below Puppetry, intangible heritage Model: Soniya Sharma Photographer: Rajiv Shrestha Make up & Hair: Sophie Location: Soaltee Crown Plaza Wardrobe & Accessories: Neelima’s Studio, City Centre, 4011622
  4. 4. 41june 2011 • vivacity magazinewww.vivacitymagazines.com Naritaya, a combination of worship, meditation and performance. In the art of Painting, Thanka is Tibetan, Paugha is the Newari. Similar parallels can be drawn in many other aspects of social life. Royal patronage came to Nepalese arts in a big way during the reign of the Malla Kings. And with that cametheimpetus.Artgotthestagetodisplayitself,no longer just in temples but in magnificent palaces and citysquares.Bytheendofthe15th centurythedivision of the valley into three independent kingdoms, brought a sense of competition for the display of artistic grandeur. Art got documented and preserved. (Unfortunately, some experts believe many priceless specimens of various art forms got lost in the very recent past. Half of Kathmandu’s art work from the last 2000 years, has been lost in the last 50.) The craft of metal art which had almost disappeared from India by the 13th century due to the iconoclast Muslim rulers not only got preserved in Nepal but went on unimpaired in its own distinct craftsmanship. The height of its skill is evident from the methods that are still followed in the techniques. Cire perdue or ‘lost wax’ method was being followed in Nepal more than a thousand years ago. In the method, a wax model is made into the required shape, coated with clay, creating a cast. Wax is then melted and drained out through a few holes in the cast, replaced with molten metal. Finally the cast is broken and the shaped metal embellished or coated. Metal work was most popular in the Buddhist tradition of work therefore many metal images of the Buddha proliferated at the time. Art work in terracotta dates as far back as the 3rd century AD. By the medieval period it reached an outstanding level of perfection. Temples gave space to the work, with narrative of Hindu epics as its main subject. Such work got perfectly expressed as nagbands, stretching around historical temples – the gate way to Taleju temple in Hanuman Dhoka, the Maya Devi temple in Patan are good examples. Wood craft - Forte of the Newari artist. The skill is visible not just in the form but the technique. No use of nails or glue. Among thousands of incredible pieces the strut images in courtyards of palaces and the temples of Pasupati, and Changu Narayana are some of the best. cover story Top A photographic exhibition at Mangal bazaar, Patan Below An exquisitely carved wooden pillar at a Durbar building in Patan Right page Thanka artist, Bikash Karki, Immersed in meticulous details 40 vivacity magazine • june 2011
  5. 5. 42 vivacity magazine • june 2011 www.vivacitymagazines.com 43june 2011 • vivacity magazinewww.vivacitymagazines.com Photoby:RajivShrestha
  6. 6. 44 vivacity magazine • june 2011 www.vivacitymagazines.com 45june 2011 • vivacity magazinewww.vivacitymagazines.com Perhaps the greatest show of international respect to the Nepalese artist is preserved in the Yuan history of China. Balbahu the architect, sculptor and painter, who later came to be known as Arniko by the Chinese, was summoned to Tibet at the request of the Emperor Kubali Khan in 1246 AD. He led a delegation of eighty artists to carry out architectural work. Besides work in Tibet, the white pagoda or the Pai Ta Sze in Beijing stands as one of the great works of Arniko. Another of his famous work is the Archway of Yungtang. The artist lived and died in China, and during his lifetime was honored by the title of “Duke of Liang”, by the Chinese Emperor. In 2010, the Chinese-American actor Robert Lin, even brought up the subject of making a movie on Arniko. The Pagoda style of building which spread from ChinatootherpartsoftheworldisindeedaNepalese invention. “Now we have definite information from the Chinese sources, of the style to have travelled from Nepal to China and other countries are acceptable. It was during the seventh century that the advent was made by this style into Tibet mainly through Nepalese efforts”, writes D R Regmi in his book, ‘Ancient Nepal’. Contemporary The simplest definition of contemporary art would be which mirrors contemporary society and gives creative meaning of living in it. As a precursor to contemporaryartinNepal,thefirstwesterninfluence came under the Rana rulers. Jang Bahadur Rana during his visit to England took along the Newari artist Bhaju Man, and established the importance of not just the Nepali artists, but the preference of incorporating western style into the arts. This was not justlimitedtoneoclassicalVictorianarchitecture,but from furniture to fashion everything had anglophile preferences. Paintings,likearchitecture,sawamixofthemedieval, religious and western themes during the Rana rule. Deities and mandalas gave way to regal portraits - a desire of the rulers for palace wall hangings. The first official exhibition of an individual artist in Nepal - Chandra Man Maskey’s - was held in 1928 and the motivational character of contemporary art forms began to show a shift from fiefdoms of patronage to personal expressions that spoke out for the artist itself. Contemporary art is radically different from more traditional art values in the sense that it includes expressions and forms that are globally motivated in themes, ingesting traditional, contemporary and technological techniques; it can often be deliberately unconventional taking advantage of a much wider and instant audience. Left Embellishing Monasteries at Lumbini cover story contemporary and technological techniques One big advantage of contemporary art is the physical and cyber space it gets. Art galleries and On- line platforms have changed the way art is displayed, appreciated, reviewed and even sold. Dwindling physical spaces in galleries and the costs of holding onto a space might have the right answer on-line. As an example of interconnectivity – one happened in Janurary 2011, an on line art fair called ‘View in Private’, VIP, it had about 8 million viewings from over 146 countries, and included 140 prestigious art galleries! And an artist can always create one’s own site Radical ? Interestingly, the same neighborhood where the scrutinizing eyes of an artist draws the devotional Contemporary art is radically different from more traditional art values in the sense that it includes expressions and forms that are globally motivated in themes, ingesting traditional, pictorial sequence of Buddhist deities on a Thanka painting, also houses the insistent buzz of a precision tattoo machine, which delicately drills dyes into the human skin, drawing icons and patterns from human skulls to angelic wings. Taking the analogy further the symbols of tattoos can be tantric codes, Maithili art, medieval esoteric secrets or seductive infringements on erogenous zones of the human body. A convergence of not just icons, but eclectic arts & attitudes too. The contemporary has better freedom than the traditional. April 2011 saw the hosting of the Nepal Tattoo Convention, the first ever international convention of its kind in Nepal. An interesting example of the so called radical art form in the land of ancient conventional heritage.
  7. 7. 46 vivacity magazine • june 2011 www.vivacitymagazines.com Time magazine, way back in 1970, reported - “As an art, tattoos have been traced back 4,000 years to the Egyptians.” In contemporary times “they have adorned the arms and chests of sailors, roustabouts and construction workers. Now, after a decade or two of decline, tattoos are enjoying a renaissance. They have become the vogue of the counterculture.” But the fact is tattooing has been a part of many ethnicculturesinNepalsincecenturies,particularly theTharus,andtosomeextenttheNewars.Cultural organizations as UNESCO too have recognized their cultural presence among sections of Nepalese society. Contemporary art in Nepal as elsewhere globally, is not just limited to the conventional art forms. Galleries in Kathmandu alone are witness to works of many budding and seasoned artists showing work from traditional to modernist and post Modernist. Be it photography, multimedia or installation art forms, there is a platform for exchange, criticism and appreciation. cover story Tattooing, esoteric inspirations

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