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 Kathmandu Calling!

This body of work was made in response to the two earthquakes that occurred in early 2015. What started as an urgent need to raise funds for the recovery efforts swiftly turned into a newfound art career. I had previously spent time spent volunteering, travelling and living in Nepal and returned to the country shortly before the earthquakes took place. My artwork was exhibited across two venues in Reading, alongside a series of events and workshops. It was a true Nepalese immersion, through the power of art and community.

Our Sansar. One of the charities supported at the art exhibition. Working in Nepal and supporting communities.
Phase Nepal. One of the charities supported at the art exhibition. Charity work in Nepal doing community and outreach projects with adults and children. The art exhibition was in aid of them.

Images: From the exhibition launch night



The universally understood and accepted notion of hanging our clothes out to dry. If we don’t have pegs or a fancy line: worry not, we improvise. Clothes have to be spread out to maximise the surface area exposed, to dry most effectively. Science. Knowledge. Common sense. Conducted all over the world irrespective of who, what and where we are. The concept could not be simpler, nor more beautiful.   

The power of the mind’s eye and all that goes with it. A sensory exploration of what we feel in a highly stimulated environment of a culture that is not your own. You may not understand what is being chanted and recited. But it doesn’t matter. The ambience is one that is overwhelmingly electric, powerful and glorifying. And that is what I took away; the energy of something so incredible – I don’t have words.

A small, land-locked land in between the giants of India and China. These power houses. Yet Nepal doesn’t need to compete. For it stands so incredibly tall on its own, just fine. With 8 of the world’s tallest mountains under its belt, Nepal has its own unique quirks and it simply carries on going – whatever is thrown at it. The same applies to humans. We can all take note from Nepal and stand tall.

It’s the whole journey that counts, not simply the destination. We know that. But this could not have been more poignant as I made my way from lakeside Pokhara to the monumental ‘Peace Pagoda’ – one of several UNESCO Heritage sites across Nepal. But it was the gems along the way that took me by surprise and delight, as I uncovered my own pathways. The journey was always rich in gold; it’s just that the gold was simply in different shades of perspective and relativity.

The dynamic and striking landscape of Nepal cannot be denied. This painting captures the heartbeat of the land while trekking through mountain paths. The physical endurance. But more so the mental. One thought held fast and never faded: the astonishing grounding feeling of the mountains around me. Always supporting. Holding.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, they say. I saw a lot of beauty in Nepal. In the most obvious forms, but also in the most unconventional and unexpected ways. And then there’s the personal - and arguably, more random notion of what gets noticed and holds our attention. This is a painting saturated with the rays of this type of beauty and how it stemmed from one to another. Always beautiful.

The concept of laying down roots with the resources that we have and growing a community of roots across our lifetime. Recycling is paramount, like in so many countries, and the level of innovation is outstanding – to the point where homes and belongings are inspired by nature and grown from root-level up. It provoked thoughts of scarcity inciting survival. 

Similarly to ‘Laying Roots’, the concept of building a community across time is explored, with how nature, humans and our homes are all essentially one. The circle of life is a well-known concept, but in Nepal it felt more profound than ever, with each shape and form flowing organically in front of my eyes. A real privilege to witness.

The Himalayas are the only mountains in the world that grow by approximately 4mm a year. This fact, to me, is incredible. People grow. Trees grow. But mountains…? It acts as an infinite reminder that we are always moving. Our planet. The Universe. The tectonic plates. Even if we are standing still, and pausing – everything else still carries on moving. The painting is a beautiful reminder of properties that are far greater than ourselves - and our thoughts. 

The earthy tones of the burnt sienna, contrasting with vivid hues of turquoise, coming together to convey the buildings and homes against the rivers and mountains. A non-linear landscape which is compelling, complex and varied - and yet in sync with the mix of cultures, languages and religions. A free flow that seems to work. For all beings.

With no rail system, roads beckon as navigation-central for the country. With a 24-hour bus system, these journeys are an experience within themselves. I discovered jungle-land in the south Terai region of Nepal, not realising such landscape existed. A surprise. On the bumpy ride down to Buddha’s birthplace, while listening to Nepali folk songs through my headphones.

The compelling and poignant shapes of the temples in Nepal. And their vibes. This is dedicated to the boy in the photograph who followed me around the square, selling candy floss. Bhaktupar was one of the worst hit areas from the Gurkha quakes in 2015. My prayers and thoughts are with them, as they continue to rebuild their lives.

The signature name of the exhibition 'Kathmandu Calling!'. Highly profound as a ‘Calling’ to paint, is precisely what I received when in Nepal. These framed art works capture the excitement of how it all started when I touched down in good old Kathmandu…


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