Centuries-old portraitures at Siddhartha Art GallerySiddhartha Art Gallery (SAG), a Kathmandu-based gallery, is exhibiting portraits from the private collection of artist Kamala Lama.
Siddhartha Art Gallery (SAG), a Kathmandu-based gallery, is exhibiting portraits from the private collection of artist Kamala Lama. The exhibition, inaugurated by chief guest Shreejana Rana, Executive Director of Hotel Annapurna, at the premises in the Capital on Wednesday, showcases pictures, Venetian mirrors, furniture and paintings that have been collected and preserved from the Shah-Rana period.
Kamala Lama, who was born in a Buddhist family migrated to Kathmandu with her parents from Tibet in 1953 to spread the teachings of the Buddha. Juggling her life as a teacher and a mother, Lama was attracted towards the Rana portraits while stumbling upon antique shops located in Durbar Marg, Jhonche and Lazimpat. Mesmerised by the bejeweled Rana women, and the uniforms and royal crowns of the Rana men, she started collecting paintings, photographs, glass plate negatives, clocks, crystal and more over the years.
Speaking during the event, Sangeeta Thapa, Director and Curator at SAG praised Kamala Lama for her dedication and passion towards such vintage arts and portraits and moreover, for preserving them. “It is an honour for SAG to be exhibiting Lama’s possessions, which she has been collecting for over 25 years,” said Thapa. “This event is important for those writing about the development art—strictly about portraiture and how it is has evolved,” Thapa informed.
Thapa also mentioned that Lama, who has now aged over the years, wants to dispose of her collection to fund her mission of building stupas and temples in Nepal and India. The photographs and paintings exhibited evidently represent the aura of the 101-year-rule of the Rana regime. Out of many collections of Lama’s, a Venetian mirror, King Tribhuvan’s picture in an western attire, women in exquisite jewels in an oval brass frame were highlights of the exhibitions, including a large portrait of Kaiser Shumsher, the son of Chandra Shumsher, and his wife Rani Laxmi Rajya Laxmi, the daughter of King Prithvi Bir Bikram posing with a classic piano at their residence. “It is sad that even though there are so many women portraitures, not many of them have been recognised. They are, as it always has been, overshadowed by men,” Thapa added.
Shreejana Rana, who is the eight descendant of Bir Shumsher, was enthralled to witness portraits of her ancestors. “I am often asked to talk about the tourism industry and it is rare that I get to talk about my passion—history and my family,” said Rana. “The make-up, the jewels, the gowns and the style are all captivating and if one observes the picture carefully, you will go through the microcosm of the Rana period then,” she adds.
After the inauguration, a buzz filled the gallery as the audience present tried to locate their ancestors and figure out the names of the people left unrecognised. Kamala Lama, the collector, could not attend the programme. The exhibition will continure till June 13.
The exhibition, inaugurated by chief guest Shreejana Rana, in the Capital on Wednesday, showcases portraits that have been collected and preserved from the Rana period