An outcome exhibition of KIAR 2022-October

By: Pavithra Perera WJA

Venue: Siddhartha Art Gallery (Annex), Kathmandu

Date: 30th and 31st October 2022

“My artwork is primarily inspired by the human face, emotions and the stories they carry in the lines and shadows unique to each and every person.

I keep portraying the hidden stories of emotions, untold stories with the intention to voice them and process the memories later in the beautiful opportunity that artwork creates.

My main goal is to achieve many expressive portraits focused on emotions and feelings delivered through the eyes, the wrinkles and lines of the face that carries stories of our life. I use charcoal, acrylic and oil paint depending on the mood, the subject and the geographical scene of the artwork to tell the stories with much intensity.

I was so excited to apply for the residency programme in Space A Artist Initiative in Kathmandu, as this opportunity would give me the ability to focus on research and experimentation in an inimitable geographical setup with many social and Buddhist cultural similarities to my motherland yet unique in its own way to take my work in some very interesting new directions.

Two weeks I took to visit many rural areas of Nepal before arriving at Space A filled me with so many emotions, a fighting spirit and a responsibility to speak up about the social issues that touched me in the deepest part of my conscience. I visited ‘Tharu’ women and participated in the ‘Jitiya’ festival where I got an opportunity to dive into their lives and their challenges. At an age they must carry the books to school and get educated, they were married and were carrying the whole responsibility of a family on their shoulders. My vision started turning black and white while the bloody red ‘Sindoor’ and the bead neckless representing their marriage started appearing very bright.

I saw adult women taking heavy work as labours carrying weight, looking after children and cattle while they had no basic rights including voicing their opinion in the family or making decisions in their life. Lack of education among women have robbed them of better opportunity as workers. When I heard about the harmful cultural practice of ‘Chhaupadi’the social tradition related to “menstrual taboo” in the western part of Nepal for Hindu women, which prohibits them from participating in normal family activities during a menstruation period, as they are considered “impure” the red stain they carried in their forehead started being more and more bright in my eyes.

The red voice I am trying to bring through this body of work portraying Nepali women is a creative intervention to start a discussion.”