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Gallery 1: Modern and Contemporary Painting | Gallery 2: Modern and Contemporary Sculpture and installation
One erroneous view, still commonly held in the West, is that Tibetan thangkas and Newar paubhas are mainly the works of copyists who display little creative imagination or talent in their meticulous replication of previously existing works. However, this is not the case. In their continuity, such enduring and extremely esoteric artistic traditions inevitably give rise to sparks of artistic genius in each generation, and there have been countless but anonymous “divine artists” whose innovations and creative stature have equalled those of Raphael or Michelangelo.
The works of Nepal’s modern “Renaissance artists” are truly inspiring and saturated with spiritual meaning. They speak to the heart of what remains pure, holy and filled with grace and beauty in our ever-changing times, and as such are certainly deserving of our closest attention.
excerpted from "Contemporary Newar Art of the Kathmandu Valley: Influences and Innovations", by Robert Beer
Seated at a low table in her corner of the painting room, artist Rebti Mandal concentrates on drawing a train ride she recollects seeing at an amusement park. The train is depicted as an animal, a fantastical snake-like bird that carries its passengers by slithering along on a track. The train creature may have evolved from her recent depictions of animals with imagined patterns. Her repertoire is ever-growing, through her imagination and sense of detail. For over twenty years, Rebti has been an artist at the Janakpur Women’s Development Centre (JWDC). Rebti likes to tell how she first learned to draw by using a stick on the mud ground around her house in a village near to the holy city of Janakpur in southern Nepal. Over the years she explored simple subjects, developing her use of line and adding unique motifs and patterns. Some of Rebti’s paintings, such as her patterned goats and tigers, focus on a single subject. Others tell more complex stories – one painting, for example, shows the heads of different veiled and unveiled women, in reference to her personal growth from a veiled village woman to an artist free to travel and devote her time to making art. The women are shown carrying on their heads pots of water, firewood, potatoes, lentils, and other local produce. The painting is also a commentary on all the types of work that women do.