Posts tagged culture
It wasn’t easy getting into Ladakh in the North of India. First I tried my luck on the infamous Manali-Leh road. But crossing the himalaya’s in the rain, dodging landslides, didn’t really seem appealing. Especially when in the days that I tried one bus and two shuttles went down causing 24 deaths. It took me almost a month to finally get there via the alternative Kashmir-Ladakh road, but the reward was astaunishing. I arrived in Leh right in the middle of its annual festival and was pleasantly surprised by its grandeur. Ladakh is as close to Tibet (culturally, spiritually and physically) as it gets and driving through the area, one does not have to think hard to determine its dominant religion. My guidebook told me about Ladakh’s history of women emancipation, so I figured it would not be too challenging to find talent of the female gender…
Dechen Dolma is a very special talent. Not only is she very gifted in making clay-sculptures, she chose to do it in spite of misgivings from her surroundings. Her world-famous teacher, master Nawang Tsering, created the Maitreya Buddha, amongst many others and considers Dechen one of his most talented students.
The song played in the video is roughly translated in ‘the talent-song’. The full version can be found here.
Unfortunately, the magnificence of Ladakh is not visible for everybody. Searching for talented musicians, I stumbled upon Thukjey Dolma (not related to Dechen). Thukjey was born blind in one of the most beautiful places on earth. She is a very bright spirit nonetheless and her positive energy brought me to visit a very interesting school, Secmol, on which she teaches music. After she sang on the local radio, her star rose in Leh and when I met her in a local restaurant, the Indian phone-camera’s for once where not pointed at me, but at my blind companion! Rohan Dhar, a volunteer at the Secmol school, kindly accompanied Dechen in this performance.
Both Dechen as Thukjey can be contacted when you find yourself in Leh.
The search for artists in Nepal could have been a short one. In Kathmandu there is plenty of choice in beautiful realistic and semi-abstract Nepalese sceneries of Himalayan mountains, rise-paddies, people working the land and Buddha’s. The problem is that you see this kind of art on every corner and it’s hard to find an artist that stands out from the crowd. It was not before I went to bhaktapur, a little town in the Kathmandu valley, and visited a little gallery on ‘Peacock square’ that I found art that was different. Prabin Karki is a self-taught artist who is inspired by his extensive travelling in the region. For Prabin, art is a representation of culture. His work is based upon the many religious expressions found in the region, from which he tries to distil the best features. In some of his paintings he represents the two faces of humans: Good and evil.
Experimenting is part of Prabin’s passion and so his works will never be the same. By experimenting he also came across his special way of creating relief and a mystical feeling that draws the viewer straight into the Nepalese culture. Prabin is a true ambassador for Nepal.
Music by Shyam Nepali, a very talented Sarangi player from Nepal. A full version of the song in the video can be found here.
‘It takes a crane to build a crane’… (Jason Mraz in his song: ‘Life is wonderful’) Life certainly is wonderful in Nepal, or at least: if you know where to look! Madan Shrestha knows this very well and has both a talented eye as a talented hand when it comes to painting the moments of life that make Nepal such a unique country. Being only 22 (1989), Madan is a remarkable talent. He is part of a group of upcoming artists, schooled in the school of arts in Kathmandu. In Madan Shrestha’s case, it takes an artist to make an artist. Not only did he become passionate about art because of his teacher when he was a little boy, he now also shares this passion with the vast amount of children that he teaches in school.
When I met Madan, he had just finished a very successful first solo-exhibition in Kathmandu called ‘moment of life’. I couldn’t wish for a better moment to help Madan with more digital promotion. It should be noted that Madan considers himself to be in the experimental faze of his painting-career and that he will experiment further with different styles and materials. One thing is very clear however. Madan is very much inspired by everyday life in Nepal and how it relates to Nepalese natural beauty. I, for one, am very interested in where his creative career will lead him. For the Global Talent Project (and because my knowledge of the Nepales language is limited to ‘namaste’), Madan bravely talked with me in English.
Madan’s art has mostly been sold, so this time it will not be possible to buy his art via the GTP. If you are interested in contacting him however, you can contact the GTP for his details. More photo’s of his work here.