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Creating dialogue through art: ‘Object in Focus’
Photo Courtesy: Taragaon Museum
“Art for me is a way of communication. I used to be shy and couldn't express myself. But as I kept doing art, it has also helped me in my communication skills. Now, I can express myself in better way," expresses internationally renowned contemporary artist Ang Tsherin Sherpa who is based in California, US.
Ang Tsherin whose core is traditional art, explored contemporary art after 2 decades long experience in traditional Tibetan thangka painting. He inherited traditional Tibetan thangka painting from his father Master Urgen Dorje. He started his journey as an artist when he was in his early teens. “My father introduced me to art. I used to draw comic characters when I was in school. And my father thought I could learn his trade and he made me learn the skills,” shares Ang Tsherin.
He gives all the credits of being an artist to his father. And added, “My father in my initial days used to say art will help me sustain my life and out of respect or fear I learned Tibetan thangka painting. One must have a lot of patience and dedication to create an art piece. And with consistency, I learned the trade from my father.”
In 1998, Ang Tsherin immigrated to California, where he taught traditional thangka painting at various Buddhist Centers. There he got to explore international art scenario and he was free to discover about modern art. There he experimented and created master pieces with the fusion of traditional and modern art using tantric motifs, symbols, colors and gestures placed in purposefully contemporary compositions to express his personal experiences.
Currently, his work is being featured in third edition of ‘Object in Focus’ hosted by Taragaon Museum, Bouddha. ‘Object in Focus’ is a concept that would allow viewers and artists to ‘look, see and think’ contemporary art in a completely different perspective. The concept is inspired by the Room 3 gallery of the British Museum, UK.
In the exhibition, a sculpture of Buddha is placed at the center of right side of the gallery. It is a gold plated metal statue whose size is similar to the size of an Oscar award, wearing an undergarment. And the facial expression of Buddha is different than the expressions we are familiar with. According to Ang Tsherin, his Buddha is rejoicing and is a symbol of resilience that Nepali showed after the devastating Gorkha earthquake -2015. Moreover, it is also his way to create value to traditional art where he collaborated with a traditional artist.
In Nepali art scenario, he is also known as one of the expensive artist. And when asked about his opinion about being expensive artist, he replies, “Art cannot be compared according to price and the price of an artist’s work do not scale his/her success. For me art is priceless and valuable. Art should be created for the sake of art not for money.”
The artist who believes that he is a bridge between traditional and contemporary art says art is similar to journalism. He adds, “Art gives us identity and we should acknowledge the value of art. And through art, an artist tries to create dialogue and depict the picture of society and current happenings as journalism does.”
The exhibition that began in September 3 will continue till September 13.
- by Sangita Shrestha
- by Prasanta Lamichhane
- by Kiran Lama