Rabindra Pokharel

Kathmandu:

Though, one readily falls in love with the majesty of marble vaults and gilded domes only those who dwell in them know the misery lurking underneath its awesome splendour. “In fact, this could be the cause of untold distress”, explains Kenta Nawa. Kenta Nawa was born in a prosperous city of Jafa, Japan amidst its magnificent skyscrapers and towering technological advancements. At a tender age of 19 he now feels disenchanted with mechanical city life. Perhaps, he’s come to understand the futility of all human pursuits, which divest man of his humility. He is set out to discover what brings utmost happiness in human beings. He attended an art school and has recently finished his high school education. On his way to school he’d sneak into an art museum which stood right across his school, would have a look at the masterpieces of the great painters that ever lived — from Picasso to eminent contemporary Japanese painters. He coveted them. Perhaps those pictures instilled in him a longing sympathy for the bleak fate progressive human beings had created for themselves.

“That was where I got the first inspiration from”, says Nawa.

When he’d reach home from school the entire family would huddle together for television time over their dinner. However, Nawa not interested in mundane stuffs would lodge himself in a solitary chair and delve deep into the world of his own unbridled imagination. He’d then sketch pictures out his wacky imagination. In one of his these pictures a man stares up at the sky while an extra terrestrial creature stands opposite to him while a huge flying saucer hovers over his head. Most of his earlier sketches portray the frustration and perplexity of a mechanised hi-tech city life. He says, “Though we are a prosperous country we have created a Frankenstein which will soon take away all our pleasures,” he explains with apprehension.

He felt vulnerable in the workaholic Japanese culture to continue his academic education in the university. Acaedmic learning was of no avail if that couldn’t benefit society. Instead, he thought it would better suit his cravings if he travelled throughout the world and discover new people and the source of their happiness. Find he did, in one of the Vietnamese family who he lived with on his trip to Vietnam.

“Vietnamese are relatively poor but they had enough time to share for the family. Money seemed to matter them the least and all that stood foremost was love and intimacy. “I never could see if they were discontented with what they had and were always eager to share happily,” he says wistfully. Nawa suddenly fished a notebook out of his bag and said, “I write poetry if you’d like to read them” with a fraternal smile illuminating his face. I took them over but however hard I tried I couldn’t decipher the intricate script of Japanese Language. I ventured to ask him if he could explain what it meant and he laughed a triumphant laugh. He said wryly, “Sometimes they are beautiful but at times they can be poisonous.” Nawa has travelled to Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, India and Nepal and his itinerary includes many more places to visit including Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Sirea, Israel and Egypt.

He earlier had a great flair for drawing images out of his untainted imagination and to capture

it in the canvass. But, when he went to Thailand the new faces in an entirely different culture from that of his own fascinated him even more and he started sketching portraits. Selling these portraits he collects money for his tour. He made paintings for over five months to collect money for his tour by selling them. “Painting is my hobby but I do it sometimes for money and there’s nothing as wonderful like making your hobby a profession,” Nawa says. Before I arrived Nepal people told me that Nepal could be a dangerous place to visit owing to the insurgency. But, it’s the safest and the most beautiful place I’ve ever been,” he reveals. He has not yet made up his mind to make his retreat back home. For the next 10 or 12 years he wants to travel extensively and study people, their delights and their agonies. That’s the way he’s chosen to continue his education. Nawa wants to publish a book once he finishes his odyssey, about his experiences with different people at different places. Perhaps, his way of living life is the perfect way to live life to the lees. He plans to stage an exhibition of his paintings in the capital to collect money for his yet unaccomplished mission.