Sanjeev Satgainya


Here is yet another art gallery in town, but it promises to make a difference. In the heart of Kathmandu, The Art Shop has been recently launched at Durbar Marg with an effort to provide a platform to more of creative substance and to young and enthusiastic artists. And to start with, the proprietor who himself is an artist has put his more than 25 paintings for exhibition-cum-sale.

“Durbar Marg is one of the most frequented places in the Capital and hence I felt that an art gallery was lacking here so I thought of opening it out here and I wish more and more galleries to come over here,” says Pragendra SJB Rana, owner of the gallery and himself an artist. Rana became an artist as his hobby transformed. “I started off just with a hobby of sketching. During my school days, I used to sketch and paint when some of my friends and well-wishers started appreciating those, I pondered why not take it up seriously and I became an artist,” he laughs, “just like that.”

Rana has put his creations for exhibition — most of them depicting gods and goddesses. “In 1996 after I came back after completing my education in Delhi, I met David Douglas. He is the first to train me with the nitty-gritties of art. From using an easel to drawing in a canvas, holding a brush to selection of colours were all taught by Douglas,” informs Rana. Later in 1999, Rana again came under the discipleship of Gobind Dangol. “From him I learnt about Nepali art, sculpture, paintings and different form of arts.” Rana loves to work on wash technique and most of his gods and goddesses are created with this technique. “This is an ancient Chinese technique and I love working on this technique.” ‘Roots’ is one thing he does not overlook in his most of his conceptions and that is pretty evident in most of his paintings. “Kathmandu is a rich city in terms of heritage and history. Maybe because I have been seeing the carvings, temples, sculptures since childhood, I prefer painting more of gods and goddesses.” In one of his creations of Goddess Laxmi, absolute use of colour and thanka can be clearly seen in the background. One painting that is in exhibition is of Shakuntala that even the artists loves to call the best one. “Shakuntala — she reminds us of beauty and I have tried to portray her beauty through her posture, use of colours and the nature background.” “I love putting together the activities that influence our day to day lives.” Rana, pointing out one painting in which a woman breastfeeds her newly born baby, elaborates, “This is one which I created when I had just become a father.”

The artist roams around ‘Haat Bazzar’ at times whereas he goes back to early times while he puts together the colours and brush to portray ‘Bathing of Women’, which he calls a social event of early days. ‘The Load’ portrays a strong woman which strongly showcases the exhaustion of a woman habitually carrying a heavy load, which we usually see in our locality.

‘Woman in chains’ is another painting that attracts many art lovers. “Blue is a cool colour and the piece shows that no matter how much sorrow a woman in our country has to bear, she hardly shows it,” hesays.

Rana’s strong bonding with culture, religion and society is demonstrated splendidly in most paintings and despite being academically trained in a different discipline, it seems that he has truly mastered his profession.

At Durbar Marg, The Art Shop seems to promise to offer the finest of art and creations at its small but nicely set up gallery.