Life is a cluster of time and thoughts. It is metamorphosis of different emotional stigmas. Throughout my process of art creation, my personal indulgence is directed towards the vibrative metaphor of sound, situations and fractions of time.
Art and life are interrelated and bound by correlative entities. Through these interrelated queries, my art moves towards the ideology of spiritualism. The meaning of life changes with time and circumstances.
Sirani: the headrest is a conceptual quest that interrogates social, personal and conservative circumstances. It is an experiment that explores the psychological and emotional realm, where queries about the meaning of life and death are addressed. The series of works have been created with pen and ink drawing with dots. Dots, depict the sound of impermanence, the breath of seconds, the relentless journey of time and the fragmented realm of the thoughts. In Nepal white symbolizes mourning, red is regarded as an auspicious color and is associated with weddings, while black is regarded as inauspicious, or ashuva, and represents bad fortune.
Sirani represents the lap of the mother which is so soft and yet protective. I know that I have been facing some kind of psychological and emotional pressure after my mother passed away. There are so many obligations: it is Ashuva to wear colorful clothes, as it is a sign of mourning, and yet, it is not out of choice but out of obligation.
After the day I cremated my mother, I did not feel like going anywhere, attending any Shuvakarya, or auspicious ceremonies. Though it is obligatory not to attend auspicious programs while mourning, I have stayed away from attending such auspicious functions, out of my own personal feelings borne from the love and respect I feel for my mother who gave birth to my sisters and I, and who brought us up. Throughout this year I did not feel like using color pigments to paint. In the memory of my mother, I stopped using colors to paint for a year. This is a personal and spiritual ritual that I have consciously undertaken to awaken my consciousness while paying tribute to my Mother for giving me life.
Making these works is an emotional and sensitive process and is the metaphor of this series of works. I question why such conservative socio-cultural practices have become a restrictive part of life. The answers I receive are in terms of Dharma (Good Deed) and Paap (Bad Evil). In my simple understanding of life – if one has positive feeling towards their deed it is good, and if one harbors negative feelings towards their deed it is bad. With my recent performance Seto Chappal, (white slippers, worn during mourning)) I instigated a series of silent questions to the audience. The audience was receptive as they have to undergo the same socio-cultural circumstances too and face the same psychological pressures within their life time. Sirani is the realization of the self, and living with the serenity of life. I have depicted myself in number of ways: as a monk, as a stranger to the inner self and in meditation sometimes staring at life. Death is the ultimate truth of life. And yet we are anxious in the face of this truth and live in fear.
Life is all about good and bad, happiness and sadness, pleasant and unpleasant feelings. The series of Sirani: the headrest is the metaphor of comfort, healing norms, protection and a feeling of Contentment.
Manish Lal Shrestha
Multi-Disciplinary Visual Artist
PC: Art Nepal, Bidhata KC, Rabin Kaji Shakya