HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Kumari — the living Goddess of Nepal has been always viewed with a certain sense of awe by foreigners. In his exhibition ‘Kumari Lakshan: Layers of Purity’ artist Adam Swart has used different symbols of Kumari as symbols of purity.
“When I first came to Nepal in 2001 as a Peace Corp volunteer I had heard about this idea of virgin worship in Nepal. I find something rather powerful about this small child. For me, the Kumari is an epitome of purity and I have responded to that with my creations. Kumari is the visual representation of purity,” said Swart.
And being an artist who has a special attachment with colours, Swart has used colours like red and gold in abundance since these colours signify Kumari and also because “these bold colours are easy to transfer”.
A look at these abstract pieces and one can easily understand how the Kumari’s eyes and forehead have been the most striking part for the artist. One can see shapes like the Kumari’s eyes with that long kosh of kohl and the elaborated tika on her forehead. “The kosh and tika are the features of Kumari that moved me,” Swart pointed out.
Glass bangles are regularly used medium. There are some popping out of the top of the canvas and others are in the canvas providing dynamics. According to him he fact that they are “the idea of female identity in Nepal” and his affiliation with the shape circle are the reason he has used them. “I always had interest with circle as a shape for it is without beginning or end. And a bangle is circle that provides three dimensional touch to the paintings,” he elaborated.
Swart also talks about how “any state of purity is a target of corruption” through his installation ‘The Fragility of Purity’. In one corner of the gallery at KCAC, he had created the tika of Kumari with red and yellow glass bangles on a piece of white cloth. And a paper is placed near the installation asking visitors to take two bangles from there. “The contamination of purity always happens from outside so when they take these bangles the installation will disappear which symbolises the loss of purity,” the artist remarked.