Nepalese art is renowned for its quaint, religious aesthetic, reflective of the country’s rich cultural heritage and fusing Buddhist ideology with Hindu representation. While this still holds true, contemporary art in Nepal veers towards socio-political issues, with new aesthetics to follow. We profile ten must-visit contemporary art spaces in Nepal.
Established in 1994 by a collective of eight contemporary visual artists, including the late painter Prashanta Shrestha, Kasthamandap Art Studio is a community arts center in the heart of the Lalitpur district in Kathmandu Valley. The studio is a non-profit, non-governmental organization geared towards inspiring artistic creation in Nepal and encouraging public interaction with visual art. One of Kasthamandap’s seminal exhibitions was the Living Canvas project, made up of art pieces designed for the human body, which exhibited not only in Nepal but also Sri Lanka and Bhutan. A number of canvases created by the founders of the studio are available for purchase, including artworks from Erina Tamrakar and Pradip Bajracharya.
Kasthamandap Art Studio, Kupondole, Lalitpur, Nepal, +977-1-5011573
A collaborative project between online art marketplace Kala Voice and Newa Chen House set up in 2012, Newa Chen Gallery offers art enthusiasts the unique experience of modern art in a traditional Nepalese setting. The gallery is located in Newa Chen House – a historic Newari house dating back to the Malla Dynasty – whose ground storage floor, the Dalan, houses this intimate art space. Newa Chen Gallery hosts a varied range of exhibitions, with past shows including the feminist-edged Anubhutee: A Group Painting Exhibition by 8 Women Artists of Nepal and Coming into Being, in which artists Ghana Shyam, Sumitra Rana, and Kripa Joshi explored the theme of consciousness.
Newa Chen Gallery, Kulimha, Kobahal-9, Lalitpur, Nepalr, +977-1-5533532
NAFA (Nepal Academy of Fine Arts) is a government-established organization set up in 2009 to share Nepalese art with international audiences. Overseen by Kathmandu-born Abstract Expressionist Kiran Manandhar, NAFA comprises two galleries exhibiting both established and emerging Nepali artists, located in the beautiful Sita Bhavan – a neo-classical Rana palace. NAFA, in collaboration with NGO Transparency International Nepal, has recently hosted an art workshop exploring anti-corruption and it holds the country’s annual National Fine Art Exhibition, which awards artists for their contributions to the Nepali arts. Previous recipients of exhibition awards have included traditional Newar artist Amrit Dangol and modern sculpture artist Agam Shrestha.
Nepal Academy of Fine Arts, Naxal, Kathmandu, Nepal, +977-1-4430251