No first time visitor to Kathmandu can avoid being struck by the power and impact of the capital’s street art, in a way that cannot be matched in for example Western cities such as London. The street artists of Kathmandu may rightly be said to be hero social and social justice activists that tap in to the passions and concerns of countless numbers of the broader population, and doing so in a way that is completely accessible to all.
Styles range from the naive/simple to elaborate and technically outstanding: the images of the murals on the wall of the capital’s mental health hospital for example are searing in the depiction of mental illness, and call for the humanity of all passers by who see them — educating the latter, and in so doing performing almost a spiritually enlightening service to those who view them.
Other subjects include pollution, climate change, factors which hold all too many in the grips of poverty with little chance to escape — except through education. Gender equality, perspectives on corruption, birth control, all of these and so many more form subjects for the street art of Kathmandu, as can be seen in some of the images captured for the NIAP: Kathmandu street art images selection October 2014
The Siddhartha Art Foundation is involved in a major initiative to visually record the street art of Kathmandu, which will be of major benefit as an educational resource once complete.
In addition to contemporary street-art, murals, commonly of a religious or spiritually-focused nature, have long been an important feature of public display art: the Mithila Art mural below, is an example of this (you can read more below about such work in the Arts of Nepal.com website article):
‘… Not too far from Mithila Yain Gallery is the famous eatery Fire & Ice, at the entrance of Thamel, which has parts of its walls painted with Mithila motifs. However, Bhumi Restro Lounge in Lazimpat has its walls specially designed by six JWDC women with mud brought all the way from Janakpur.
“We had to provide some cow dung,” laughs Rinesh Amatya, one of the owners of Bhumi, sharing that several customers inquired about the mud relief and paintings when the restaurant opened some three years back. A pair of elephants, a witch, and once again, plenty of fish flank the walls that face the outdoor patio.
Taking some 22 days, artists Sudhira Karna, Sita Karna and Urmila Yadav climbed up on bamboo scaffolding to paint the walls of Mahaguthi Handicrafts in Kupondole, Patan. Made over two years back, the paintings depict the narrative of Sita and Ram’s wedding in Janakpur, along with a huge Ganesh. … read more.
Other links and information:
Artudio website’s Street Art section.
The following links concerning the Kolor Kathmandu Project show so well the special role and importance of street art as an egalitarian and instantly accessible visual art that directly and powerfully is able to express the concerns and topics that move the minds and hearts of countless people from all walks of life, of the nation’s capital:
“In Kathmandu, life was hard, but I felt alive,” Daas added. “I find myself thinking about the wonderful people I met and the passion burning within them.” he said. “They don’t see the struggle, they see the journey.” ….. Mural Artist Daas Raises Awareness about Endangered Panda in Nepal