Uttam Nepali

Uttam Nepali’s paintings synthesize modern art techniques with some aspects of traditional Nepali art. He has recreated erotic images found on the tundals (wooden struts in temples) of Hindu temples. The compositions juxtapose celestial and mundane images. The artist exploits unconventional and altered colours and shapes. The union of male and female is the sexual symbolism of Tantric religions. The concept symbolized the act which created the world the eternal cycle of procreation without which nothing would exist. The whole world, from divine to mundane is held together by the union of male and female. The images lead toward the exploration of underlined conditions of world and our existence, in other words, in search of cosmic being. Thus, the presentation of sacred and profane images simultaneously is justified, for both of them are the integral parts of the cosmic being.

Likewise, he reformulates the images of Hindu deities in modern forms. Nepali himself believes that modern art evolves from the tradition. His works are subjective, for he exploited lines, colours and images to express his personal feelings and imagination in response to the existing tradition and contemporary situation. Imagination and conscience play vital role in his works. The relationship between life and nature are evident in his paintings. Philosophy and spiritualism are additional vigor for his creative initiation.

His attachment toward tradition and spiritual feeling has been depicted through his rhythmic and plural images of dancing Ganesha, the Hindu god who is considered to remove obstacles from the way that leads to success. Religiosity and spirituality are the guiding motifs for his expression. Although he uses traditional themes and subject matters, his forms are not objective and referential like that of traditional arts. They are coloured with his subjective feelings and imagination.

Some of his paintings have inter-art relationship, for he presents poems and other verbal texts, and visual images in the same canvas. The union of literature and visual art in his works appeals to the inner feelings of the viewers. “He has sought to bring the cumulative experience of artists who use different mediums, from words to colours in his canvas. He projects themes that carry the sensitivity of peace as represented by Buddha.”

The colour combination in his works creates movement, rhythm and musical effect. In his paintings, viewers find figures in abstraction, and abstract feelings in figurative works. However, he has also executed some portraits, landscapes and still-life paintings. Some of his works depict the proximity of feeling between poet and painter, and poetry and visual art through the combination of expressionist, abstractionist and realistic techniques. The verbal text is inscribed in Devanagari script on the canvas. The sharedness of feelings is further reinforced through the presentation of shared and melting colours. The merged figures of poets and painters suggest that they work with common feeling, experience and vision. More or less they perceive the reality in the same manner and depict the similar vision in their creation.

The proximity of the poet and the painter is depicted through visual images and colours whereas their vision is presented through verbal text. “His style of representing poetry in art was by directly writing short text along the conceptual dimension of the painting.” While creating art, both poet and painter go through the “similar experience in the realms of creative arts” as shown in his compositions. Since some of his works of art deal about artist, art and the process of creation, they may be taken as meta-art.

Rejecting duality between various elements, the artist reconciles heterogeneous images, concepts and techniques like poet and painter, vision and textuality, abstract and figural images, and western form and native contents. The artist attempts to “open up new modes of inter-art discourse.”

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