By Padmini Mehta on Kashi to Kathmandu art camp:
The entry application / invite from Mehta Art Gallery for the art camp “Kashi to Katmandu” was a wonderful news, a pleasant surprise and a first ever kind of camp from my hometown, a great chance to visit a neighboring n friendly country, rich in art ,mythology, heritage history, enchanting panoramic beauty with range of mountain of great Himalaya and to participate with artists of Varanasi and many more of other part of India and all together interaction with Nepal’s senior artists. More like a dream come true.
Born n brought in blessed city -Varanasi (Banaras), surrounded by holy images, grassy meadows, towering trees n cultural surroundings. Having a natural affinity and reflecting around them given a starting point to my art which is still seen as recurrent motifs in my works of art when at present working in Delhi as freelancer. As an artist my immediate inspirations where form of landscape, cityscape, rich architectural form, culture and present happenings.
The art camp org by the Mehta Art Gallery and supported by Nepal Lalitkala Manch, B.P. Koirala India-Nepal Foundation, Embassy of Nepal, New Delhi, Lumini World Peace Forum and senior artists. The camp was more like a cultural exchange between two countries and an art and heritage tour, which very well served the purpose, aim n motives.
As a keen sight for the historic and the cultural ,I wished to use the sensitivity and sensibility of mine for creating a historically n aesthetically valuable painting that will be of some use for the art history and cultural -lovers both at the national as well as international levels.
As part of camp program schedule we were taken in Kathmandu to visit various famous places, temples, local market and renowned artists’ galleries.
The camp opening near Pashupatinath temple where lots of people paying rituals n prayers remind me Ghats of Banaras. Surrounds greenery, local n foreign visitors along with our chief guest Mrs. Shushma Rajbhandari, her welcome speech energetic personality n invitation to visit her institute, developed a huge respect, view and think differently for philosophy of life.
Let me acknowledge the co-ordinaters, artists, student’s n teachers and people of Nepal their simplicity, humbleness and warm welcome touched, inspired and fascinated me so much .I then proceeded to create a art work, short of combined identity of both cities I had a through look at. I tried to combine their silent features in one picture space .This approach created a clear depiction of visual identity of the city visited and explored in my painting .I tried to blend the modern n conventional style with technique. Color is the language I m known and cultivated, which speaks through my works.
Last but not the least the visit to Bhaktapur, Changu narayan, Punchpermeshwar, Botanical garden and many other amazing places. Adventurous tracking, respect n preserving their scripts of Buddhism and Devnagri, art n culture ,facing the recent calamity yet willingness for life positive spirit n smile on their face left me astonished and spell bound.
One day camp at Boudhanath Stupa by “Lumbini World Peace Forum” on the occasion of International peace day and reminder of Hiroshima was a great experience of painting with many artists of Nepal .The welcome note by Basu Gautam founder of LWPF, opening by renowned senior artist and chancellor Kiran Manadhar with a warm introduction along with a token gift and unique surroundings, market, local people and visitors of other countries yet peaceful left a unforgettable memory.
The camp, journey by road, accommodation in hotel, visits ann interaction with various artists of India and Nepal, their works and style were defiantly a one kind of experience with mixed memories, a constent source of inspiration belief that Art sustain life n it s a balancing force, a statement that Nature is alive and pulsating, it gives hope especially during these TURMOIL and Mindless Unnatural Destruction period.
It has given me a vocation and a mission for a lifetime as an creative person. I wish and hope in future the gallery will plan art events with same or more planned/organized, professionalism and adding upcoming artists of Varanasi n nearby with talent and well focus.
l am thankful to Mehta Art Gallery -Amit Kumar for taking initiative of first International art camp and obliged for selecting me as a mentor and participant.
Note: Work titled ‘Feel’ will be showcase in upcoming exhibition in Varanasi, stay tuned!
Enjoy the moments of art camp: http://www.mehtaartgallery.org/glimpse-kashi-kathmandu-art-camp/