In retrospect... Tej Bahadur Chitrakar


It takes just a day or two to showcase and appreciate the paintings of an artist but a lifetime for them to bring the best out of their work. The exhibition titled ‘Images of a Lifetime — A Historical Perspective’ is being organised by the Siddhartha Art Gallery from November 20 presenting a historic retrospective exhibition of the late Tej Bahadur Chitrakar. The exhibition provides significant academic and artistic insight into the development of contemporary art in Nepal. A descendant of the Chitrakar’s, the creative touch was passed on to Tej Bahadur and he became the founding father of Nepali Art, whose works herald a definite starting point of this phenomenal transition from the traditional to modern.

“The panorama of his work — still life, life studies, landscapes and portrayal of social life of Nepal — represents various period of his life. These works stand out as pioneering images and reveal a definite introduction of fundamental Western forms in the Nepali painting at that time. Each work represents a part of history constituting an archetypal image in each category,” says Sangeeta Thapa, director/art curator at Siddhartha Art Gallery. Over 70 works of Chitrakar, which include paintings and drawings, will be presented at the show. “It is imperative to note this is not a commercial exhibition. None of the works are for sale. We are grateful to private collectors who have loaned their works. We would also like to thank Satya Mohan Joshi, academician, historian, cultural expert and friend of late Chitrakar for sharing his memories with us,” adds Thapa. There is no doubt that Chitrakar was the pioneer and one of the earliest catalytic agents to introduce this irreversible change in the ‘Painting of Nepal’.