A feast for the sensesHaven’t we all assumed, at one point or another, that the bonds we make with our lovers or with our friends are eternal? But somehow time can tear away that veil.
Haven’t we all assumed, at one point or another, that the bonds we make with our lovers or with our friends are eternal? But somehow time can tear away that veil. Or is that a faulty perception altogether? Can some connections not fade with the passage of time? These were some of the impressions that occurred to me as I viewed Rasana Bajracharya’s acrylic on canvas titled Awakening Humanity at the 11th Park Art Fair held at the premises of Park Gallery in Pulchowk.
Next to the Bajracharya’s painting which showed two hands that are either locked, or are unlocking, there is Bhufan Limbu’s oil on canvas painting depicting a Rhino’s head that has come to the attention of a hunter’s viewfinder. Could the placing together of these paintings by different artists mean something? Has the Rhino’s life come to an end or is the painting saying that the Rhino has been immortalised because a taxidermist has performed his miracle? Can the Rhino be extinct if he is preserved on a rich person’s wall?
The Art fair, which showcased iconography, paintings, sculptures, and digital art by 53 different artists, presented an opportunity for a viewer to muse and make connections that logic perhaps would not have allowed otherwise. I was not the only one asking questions or admiring the work there. After the opening ceremony, on December 1, there were young students wondering whether the scenic paintings or the portrait of Asan Chowk were copied from a photograph or painted on location. Others with knowledge of paint reveled in the brush strokes and detailing of some of the work, and general enthusiasts were busy snapping photographs in front of their favorite art work.
Despite the universal appeal of art, experiencing art—as the word ‘experience’ implies—is a subjective encounter. While there were some who were relishing in the shades of a figure drawing, I particularly enjoyed the works of dissent—works of art that questioned authority, made the viewer uncomfortable, and pieces that tested the limits of a particular medium. In the current exhibition, there were two in particular. One was, a series of acrylic on canvas painted by Siddant Rai titled Evolution Fail that looked like a comic strip, which showed the evolution of a monkey into a political leader with dreams of nuclear Armageddon. The piece lacked the nuance and details that could have made the piece worthwhile for a revisit to the gallery, nonetheless, it was striking and several faces had a disquiet look after viewing the work. Another was a video art titled “Pages from the Junkhead’s Diary” by Sanket Shrestha, where a junky who gets high to adjust to the monotony of life, walks the same narrow street every day, but stops for the first time at a craftsman’s workshop. The junky muses: “I asked him if the statue he was carving was for someone special. Part of me wished he would say [that he] had been designing this particular bust for months. He said he had been sculpting the same god everyday for 30 years.” What was striking was that the junkie’s self-destruction and the craftsmen’s creation were adjusting to the same monotonous cycle. Creation and destruction are both passions of the human mind, and it stems from the same source.
You may not agree with these musing over the art works. In fact, the meaning of the paintings as presented here might be courses away from what the artist intended. But you could agree that an art work is supposed to make us pause in our everyday routine and ponder the universe behind the images that is cast onto our senses—if this is true objectively, then the Park Art Fair is worth a visit. Not every piece will match your taste, but there will be something that will fit your fancy.
The three day exhibition concludes December 3.