Seeing Samundra evolve


‘Embodied Enlightenment’ is the latest exhibition of contemporary Newar Paubha paintings by artist Samundra Man Singh Shrestha at the Nepal Art Council that began on May 29.

In keeping with the title of the exhibition, various religious figures such as Ganesha, Shiva, Parvati, Mahakala, Buddha, Kumari, Vajrapani, Harihariharivahana Lokeshvara and more dot the gallery where these divine figures have been personified in a lively form.

The exhibition features 67 paintings of Shrestha which he has created since 1994 till date. As part of an effort of the Bodhisattva Gallery to promote contemporary Newar Paubha paintings, 45 paintings owned by Purna and Anjana Shakya, Founder/Collector of Bodhisattva Gallery, are also showcased in the exhibition.

Shrestha is one such artist who has always been experimenting with his work within the traditional iconography where his works are a visual treat and the exhibition is a rare occasion where one can see the gradual development of Shrestha as an artist.

The exhibition, being a retrospective, has showcased the pencil drawings of Paubha to enchanting bejewelled gods and goddesses as if they are alive and will come out of the painting any moment. Moreover you get to see the mastery of this artist — in the huge six feet tall Paubha to miniature Paubha — that is as big (or small) as a fingernail — in both the Paubhas, he has given painstaking details of jewelleries, decorative motifs and patterns in

the background, facial expression and body movements with colour scheme soothing to the eyes.

In the miniature painting of Rakta Ganapati with Riddhi and Siddhi in a dancing pose, he has depicted Red Ganesha in a four-armed form adorned with golden ornaments from head to leg on lotus. The bejewelled Riddhi on left and Siddhi on right side of the Ganesha are painted in perfection. There is a background frame of flowers and leaves and clouds and water.

Talking about the exhibition Prajwol Man Shakya, Director of Bodhisattva Gallery explained, “The gallery visions that through these exhibitions it will give a platform to artists to do solo exhibitions which otherwise would not have been possible. It also provides opportunity for artists and art lovers to see and appreciate works of art and diversity within the Newar art. Retrospective exhibitions such as this give a sense of struggle, growth in an artist. The gallery hopes that future artists take this as an encouragement to give their best and dedicate to their work with full sincerity.”

If you want to learn the success of this artist who has patience, dedication and creativity to give newness holding on to traditional iconographic boundaries, visit the exhibition that continues till June 9.