Stories of clay water jars

KATHMANDU: Making a water jar out of clay is a long process. Firstly, fine soil is kneaded with water. Then it is kept on a spinning wheel, where skilled hands pull and push the wet clay to create the shape of water jar.

It is then kept in the sunlight to dry, and then brunt in a kiln. Finally the clay water jar is ready.

Inspired by this process of making clay water jars, late American artist Jim Danisch created digital prints on silk. His works are on display at the exhibition ‘Ten Water Jars Art From The Time of The Earthquake’ at Siddhartha Art Gallery, Baber Mahal Revisited.

Danisch, who worked with ceramic and porcelain, visited Nepal in 1984, and taught modern techniques of pottery to local potters. And in 2009, he decided to live in Nepal with his wife permanently.

As such his artworks on display are inspired by Nepal. They were made during the time of Gorkha Earthquake 2015.

A 2009 statement of the artist pasted on the wall of the gallery mentions that  Danisch learnt to use Photoshop in 2009.

The statement further reads, “It was a natural step from translucent painted porcelain to working on a laptop screen with light, and printing on translucent silk. This was ideal for the picture stories I wanted to tell.”

And thus he has used digital prints on silk to tell his stories in this exhibition. The artist has used hues of red, blue, black, grey, white, yellow and brown to create shapes resembling jar, human, flower, water waves among others.

In ‘Rebirth’ he has created a female figure in orange who is coming out of a huge pot. The pot is decorated with various patterns of different geometric shapes such as square, straight and wavy lines and more.

And the background is painted black and white. The use of many layers of colours and patterns has given a unique texture to his prints — they are not smooth but eye-soothing.

Some of his prints are also inspired by the 10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu. His projection of the 10 incarnations is surreal. For instance, the head of fish is made of a clay pot, but has human facial features and it is looking upward. And the body is a combination of different colours and patterns, forming a huge fish.

The exhibition ends on November 17.