Nepali Art today, is known for plurality in thoughts, styles and forms. Of late, diversity has become a key word. But there is also a common unique feature – unspoken but found as a silent collective desire.  This is to dig more on the cultural roots of the past; and to use the findings in contemporary issues. On many occasions this is found vivid. An artist, who stands tall and continues to pursue it consistently within this philosophy for long, is Sushma Shakya.

Sushma Shakya
And today, Sushma as a contemporary artist is a well familiar name. Anyone familiar with the current trends and art movement in Nepal, her varied explorations on Buddhist motifs and Stupas or the ‘Cheevas’ has become iconic. Moreover, since her very debut – a decade or more, her presence is being felt – thanks to her continual impressive explorations.

Her achievements in such a short span of time, one may even find amazing. But to a keen observer, it should remain natural. Born and brought-up in a Buddhist Newar family and as a child – deeply inclined to the Buddhist art forms, it is but natural she began her art quite early. And she could draw inspirations from her native locality at the very tender age. As is proved now, it is all to reflect now in her art, in a big way.

So what has remained true is regardless of her choice of theme or ways of expressions, she always seemed close to her childhood fascinations, and the roots. During her various stages of her art journey, Sushma is found responsive to various issues and themes. Yet, her choice of elements essentially stayed close to her early inspirations. Even while she’s responding to other social or contemporary issues – like the practices of cruelty on animals, or on the sufferings of common people, her tools or the choice of elements essentially revolved around her earlier artistic ambiences – she lived in the past or present.

 She offers an interesting example using is Buddhist player flags-like imageries, but shaped in cut-out mundane objects like gas cylinders, or water jerkins in multi-colors. She created a Buddhist festive environment by hanging it all in ceiling – as show of protest at the day to day social sufferings. She must be commended for her such instant but innovative searches.

Through her works, it reveals in addition to being a creative persona she is also a very kind human being: and sensitive to the sufferings of others. Issues she has chosen for explorations like cruelty on animals, Nepal Diary, or the promulgation of Constitutions remain glaring examples in this regard. Mostly, it all remains satirical statements on the anomalies – inherent in it.

Conclusively, when we look at all the attributes Sushma Shakya has, she indeed remains an artist to the core, an indeed a very promising figure in Nepali Art today. Her consummated style to express, the zeal to explore and most importantly, her profound love for the past heritage are highly praiseworthy. In short, she does beckon a bright future to the Nepali Art as a whole: and a lot can be expected from her in future.

With all the best wishes,

Madan Chitrakar
artist|art writer

Monday, 24 September, 2018