Realism and beyond


Late artists Chandra MS Maskey, Tej Bahadur Chitrakar and Bal Krishna Sama are often credited for popularising Western realism in the Nepali art scenario after the 1920s. In the second half of the 19th century, Nepali artists went beyond realism, incorporating the traditional elements with the modern, which was pioneered by Ramananda Joshi.

Some of the paintings of these leading artists of yesteryears are on exhibit at the Park Gallery, Pulchowk, on the occasion of late Joshi’s 69th birth anniversary. Late Maskey’s 91-year-old wife Asha Maya Maskey inaugurated the exhibition here on August 8.

The paintings are mostly portraits of people, celebrations and landscapes mostly rendered in oil and watercolour.

In a few of Joshi’s paintings an attempt to amalgamate the Western influence with the religious painting forms, especially the Tantric forms, is visible. Maskey’s portrait of a fellow prisoner when the former was jailed during the Rana regime is quite interesting. Chitrakar’s paintings have a similar feel as that of Maskey’s, while Sama’s paintings give a more photographic feel with a philosophical touch.

Explained late Chitrakar’s son Madan Chitrakar, who was also closely acquainted with the other artists, “While Maskey, Chitrakar and Sama represent first generation artists who changed the Nepali art scenario with the Western realist influence, Joshi represents the second generation who went beyond realism.”

“The way the artists have tried to portray details meticulously is really nice. What an eye they have,” shared Nepathya front man Amrit Gurung, one of the visitors at the inauguration, seemingly engrossed to understand the artists’ viewpoint.

The exhibition is on till August 11, and tickets are priced at Rs 25 for students, and Rs 50 for

the rest.