This scribe was informed that Sardaman Shrestha, the sculpture-making teacher at Srijana College of Fine Arts, was everyone’s favorite teacher. His witty jokes and compassionate teaching made sculpting lessons very interesting. Many even claimed that he was the ‘best in the world’.
The Week spoke to Shrestha to find his take on the art of sculpture making and its scope in Nepal.
When did you learn sculpture making?
As far as I can remember, playing with clay used to be my favorite hobby as a child. I taught myself how to make beautiful designs and sculptures with clay. My small fingers soon became expert in making interesting sculptures. As time passed, my interest for sculpting also grew and I decided to join Lalitkala Campus where I learnt the technicalities of this form of art.
Have you always been passionate about teaching?
I have always loved sharing my experience and skills with others. I feel lucky to have found such an interesting bunch of students who are curious and enthusiastic to study this form of art. I have been teaching at this institute for six years now and every batch comes with fresh energy. It is really satisfying.
What challenges do you face while teaching sculpture making in Nepal?
We do not have many advanced technologies in Nepal that sculpture makers use abroad as a result of which our students are told to focus primarily on the traditional medium. Sculpture making could have been a lot faster and better if we had that technology. Also, making extremely big statues or sculptures would not have been a problem.
Over the years have there been any changes in this art form?
Art evolves each day and there are new forms of skills that my students need to learn. So I make sure I research a lot before every class. I want them to learn and grow with time. With the advance in technology and the popularity of YouTube, students are exposed to a wide variety of art forms. This ensures that I not only teach but also learn a lot from my students. Also, in my time, students could not specialize in sculpture making for all four years of their bachelors. Now, they can choose to specialize in their field of interest. Allowing students to choose their course makes them more productive.
What’s the scope of sculpture making in Nepal?
When I was younger, there was very little scope for sculpture making. The scenario is completely different now. Sculpture makers are highly in demand at various international exhibitions, hotels, interior design and even in movies sets. This form of art is being increasingly recognized and appreciated in our country as well. Yet, students will have to struggle to make sculpture making a prominent and respectable profession. There is still a long way for us to go.