Batsa Gopal Vaidya

Batsa Gopal Vaidya’s art forms are associated with symbols and images of Nepali culture. His works show the influences of Hindu mythologies. There is “Tantric abstractionism and the use of Hindu sacramental pigmentation” in his paintings. Culture and heritage dominate his paintings. A magical ambience is created with recurring motifs: mountains, thick clouds and temples. Sharp, triangular tantric mountain shapes appear from more solid mountain forms, symbolizing the hidden mystery, spirituality and power of nature.

The images of gods and mountains in his paintings are not the realistic representations but suggestions created by lines, colours and texture. At a glance, his compositions are “abstract pieces in vibrant colours, but a closer look reveals images of gods.”  Constructed around symbolic images, Vaidya’s works create spiritual atmosphere in the canvas.

Batsa Gopal Vaidya creatively recycles the Hindu myth appropriating surrealist and expressionist techniques to depict the theme of meditation and the realization of cosmic being. The religious figures, icons and images like Hindu gods and goddesses, trident, Shivalinga, rosary and so on are recurrent in his works. The images and icons are not purely referential but altered and plural having multiple significances. The expressionist distortion makes the images unconventional.

The unusual positioning of the images as in dream acknowledges the surrealist technique. The way contrary images are put together is unusual and unexpected. The mountains, river and the Himalaya in background are far smaller than the central images in foreground.  The artist makes some images bold and asserting to attract the viewer’s attention toward the centre.

Some of his works, which depict the influence of Tantrism and the structure of Mandala, contribute to the theme of meditation and concentration. To realize the existence of cosmic being, the works suggest, one should go beyond the material reality toward underlined conditions of beings. Likewise, the overtly pointed peaks of Himalaya also point to the same direction.

The structure of green mountain, Himalayan peaks and trident also reinforce the theme of concentration. The peaks of green mountains in lower part of the canvas are blunt. As the viewer moves higher, one finds the pointed Himalayan peaks suggesting the higher degree of concentration. The dominant red colour in the Himalaya are expressionist, for we do not find these objects in such colour in reality. The fire -like red colour suggests that the process of meditation and concentration is painful though the result is rewarding and blissful.

‘A magical atmosphere is created with recurring motifs like thick clouds, mountains and temples. The sharp and triangular images in the composition aid to the concentration of the viewer pointing toward the hidden mystery and spiritual power. The compositions attempt to resolve the dualities between the self and cosmic being. The decorative pattern at the bottom of the canvas has been taken from Mithila folk art.

Batsa Gopal Vaidya’s works also recycle the myths of Hindu religious texts. But the artist presents the images and events through altered form. The images are condensed and displaced. The artist does not show many hands of deities in realistic form as in traditional paintings but implies them by presenting many yantras (instruments). The figures of deities are proportionally bigger than the realistic green mountains and expressionist Himalaya. The artist condenses, amplifies and distorts the images with purpose. The bigger size of the divinities than that of mountains and Himalayas and signifies the power of the deity.

Both creative and destructive aspects coexist in deities. The voluptuous and monumental bodies signify creative power whereas their attack on devil represents destructive aspect. The composition subverts the traditional representation of the deities. The age old images and events appear in renewed and revitalized form.

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