Ishan Pariyar’s latest boat paintings set sail at GG MachanA graceful Frida Kahlo painting welcomes visitors to Ishan Pariyar’s solo show at GG Machan in Pulchok.
A graceful Frida Kahlo painting welcomes visitors to Ishan Pariyar’s solo show at GG Machan in Pulchok. Wearing a traditional Nepali garb, Kahlo sits on a boat, hands on her lap, looking on, beside a lotus flower sprouting out of the boat itself, solemn and pensive—for someone not familiar with this Mexican folk artist, she may come across as just another attractive woman from the western hills. Titled, Welcome to My Land Frida Kahlo, this piece—one of the thirteen in the show—grows more intriguing as one lingers on it and explores the background: there are four boys, with hands and legs spread out, perhaps as a gesture of welcome.
Three other works feature a human figure and one of them is a portrait of Mona Lisa, in the aptly named piece, Mona Lisa in My Boat. The iconic figure is sat on a boat that looks like the ones that roam the premises of Phewa Lake. Mona Lisa is donning a haku patasi, and one wonders if she has lost some weight. The Nepali version of the famous painting was first conjured by late Manuj Babu Mishra, and Pariyar says that the work was made as a tribute to the late artist.
In another painting called Conversion II (a couple figure inspired by Gustav Klimt’s painting, The Kiss), a couple is enjoying their privacy in the background while a few boats lay scattered in the foreground. Titled Ethos of Surrounding, the exhibition feature work which according to the artist,“are about the ups and downs of life that is intensified by the visualization of the surroundings”. Pariyar grew up in Pokhara, the lake city, and as an artist who highly values social and environmental issues, he tends to take inspiration from his immediate surroundings.
It should be noted that the painting Welcome to My Land Frida Kahlo is not simply a tribute but also a satirical work. As Pariyar explains, “it takes an international celebrity to come to Nepal for the city to be developed and clean, that is why I have named the painting as such.”
In conversation, Pariyar associates navigating boats on a river with navigating through the flow of existence. In life, boats are vehicles for people, in Pariyar’s paintings these vehicles carry his messages across to viewers. An empty boat might represent unspoken things while a mass of empty boats, aimlessly floating, carry with them a sense of desolation and abandonment—but perhaps I am reading too far in.
Ethos of Surroundings will be on at GG Machaan until September 30.