Celebrating beauty of birds


Nobody can help but listen to the melodies of birds if one gets the opportunity to do so. However, in the exhibition 'Birds of Nepal: The Art of Hira Lal Dangol and His Family Legacy', you get the chance to look at the beautiful features of various species of birds found in Nepal, but will not hear them sing.

The paintings of veteran artist Hira Lal along with his four artist children — Pushpa Lal, Meena, Pratima and Ishwor — are being showcased from January 3 at the Nepal Art Council, Babermahal. The exhibition is also a way to express gratitude towards their 77-year-old father Hira Lal for his contribution in the documentation of the species of birds found in Nepal, according to Ishwor, the youngest of the siblings.

Hira Lal painted birds along with another artist Hem Paudyal for Robert Fleming, American ornithologist, who published a book Birds of Nepal in 1976, a pioneering book on the species of birds found in Nepal. And Hira Lal has been painting birds since then.

In the exhibition, one can get the chance to compare Hira Lal’s painting created in 1982 and his recent paintings. In the painting created in 1982, he has painted just the birds on branches, while he has painted the landscapes along with colourful birds in the latter. In the painting titled 'Impeyan Pheasant' using acrylic on canvas, he has painted male and female birds where the male bird has beautiful shades of blue colours and female is painted in brown and white hues sitting on a branch. In the backdrop he has painted a clear blue sky, snow-capped mountains and lush green hills covered with trees.

Though the major motifs of these artists are fauna and flora of Nepal, there are distinct characteristics in their paintings. The eldest son Pushpa Lal is the only one to paint animals along with birds and one to experiment painting on feathers. In the largest painting in the exhibition by Pushpa Lal, he has painted various peacocks in action in nature. He has created a scenario where a river is flowing between two hills and on either side of the river many beautiful peacocks are doing their own things. Some are flying in the air, some are sitting on the branches and one is demonstrating its vibrant tail.

Then elder daughter Meena has painted birds of prey such as owl and eagle using gouache on paper where she has focused on the intensity of the bird’s eyes and the details in their feathers. Pratima, on the other hand, had used water colour on paper and painted different species of the same bird family in one canvas. And the youngest sibling Ishwor has painted the recently discovered small birds’ species such as Rufous Tailed Rock Thrush, Red Faced Liocichla and West Himalayan Bush Warbler in their actual sizes.

The event also became the reason to launch the book Birds of Nepal: The Art of Hira Lal Dangol and His Family Legacy with paintings of all five artists covering 40 different species of birds. Information of birds in the book is written by Dr Hem Sagar Baral, Senior Ornithologist. The information about artists and art history of painting birds is written by Dr Dina Bangdel, Director of Art History, Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar.

The exhibition showcasing the beauty of natural bliss found in Nepal continues till January 13.