Artist Kabi Raj Lama’s solo lithographic exhibition “Fragments” opened in the Capital on Sunday.
The exhibition was hosted by the Siddhartha Art Gallery (SAG) in Babarmahal. The collection of lithographic prints was inaugurated by banker Anil Shah and the director of SAG, Sangeeta Thapa.
According to the organisers, this is the first time an artist has put up a solo lithographic exhibition in the country. With themes of fear, loss, courage and optimism impressed on the artist’s mind in the immediacy of the 2015 April earthquakes (and the 2011 Japan tsunami), the exhibition features 15 paintings.
Lithography is a form of art where an artist first paints on limestone and then later transfers a mirror image onto paper through a process called Gum Arabic Transfer and is a painting method popular in countries like Germany, China and Japan. As the painting requires special kind of rare limestone and other expensive equipment’s, the method is extremely rare in Nepal. Lama said that he created the artworks during his recent art residencies in Germany and China.
“This was a hard task. To do lithography it’s not just the creativity that is needed but also hard manual work. I had to lift huge stones to paint the images and I was working alone while I was in Germany, so it took me at least eight or nine days to complete one painting. Even though it was a hard job, I tried my best to show the feelings that people faced during the period of the earthquakes,” said Lama.
The exhibition was a tribute to the courage and resilience people displayed in the face of such unprecedented tragedy, he said.
One painting, titled Beauty Unveiled, explores not just what the quakes brought down but also the beautiful sculptures, otherwise kept in the inner sanctums of the fabled Kasthamandap and away from the public eye, that were revealed when the building came down. In another painting, Align Shivalinga!, Lama tries to align in his mind the scattered and unattended shivalingas that he witnessed at Pashupati following the quakes. “The post-earthquake period was very chaotic and I used a medium that I know to help me find order amid the chaos, not just in this one painting, but all the works on display at the exhibition,” he said, “Fragments, captures the unrelenting and selfless act of belief through the images of Nepal’s tangible heritage damaged in the quakes.”
The exhibition will continue until Sept 9.