Synopsis: A wonderful exhibit brings together Finland and Nepal via the work of young and talented local artists.
by Evangeline Neve
The lovely seating spaces between the buildings of the Taragaon Museum in Boudha were filled with people, young and old, sitting expectantly. Like me, they were here to attend the opening of a unique art exhibition, celebrating both the collaboration of “Nepal and Finland Together” and one hundred years of Finnish independence.
The exhibit featured artists made by the Sushila Arts Academy’s scholarship students, and what a talented bunch they turned out to be!
To start things off, Finland’s ambassador to Nepal, H.E. Jorma Suvanto, spoke about the warm and growing relationship between the two countries, and the promise shown by the young people whose work we were there to see. Chancellor of the Nepal Academy of Fine Arts, Ragini Upadhayay, was also on hand, along with several other prominent Nepali artists who also shared their insights with the audience. The young artists were introduced to the group to great applause. It’s wonderful that these opportunities are being made available to these talented individuals who are clearly doing so much with it and benefiting by advancing their craft.
Sushila Arts Academy’s founder and director, Yulia Koirala, spoke with great passion and enthusiasm, and it was fantastic to learn what is being done in the field of the arts for Nepal’s young people.
Then, we all moved inside the Taragaon Museum to see the main attraction: the art. The pieces on display were a cross-section of art of all sorts—painting, drawing, ink-work, and more. The Finnish embassy had provided the students with a great amount of material, both print and digital, which enabled the students to experience an immersion into Finland’s lifestyle, culture, and nature, which they then employed in the art pieces on display. The juxtaposition between what they saw and read and learned about such a far-off country, and their daily life in Nepal, make for some fascinating and truly original and beautiful art. I was particularly impressed by the nature pieces: wide winter landscapes and open expanses of water, birds familiar and foreign, and the many ways the students had tried to capture the beauty of the northern lights.
The pieces were all on sale, with the money going directly to the artists. It was really excellent to see these young people experimenting with new styles and themes; it bodes well for the future of Nepali art. New experiences are important, as is cross-cultural understanding and all that promotes it. Stepping out of one’s own routine and day-to-day life and attempting to view the world through different eyes is an important skill, and it’s not hyperbole to say that learning this, even through the medium of art, can help make the world just a little bit of a better, more inclusive place. I’ve never been to Finland myself, but as I moved out of the building to sample some traditional Finnish sweets before I left, I felt like I’d had a little glimpse of it. Hats off to these amazing young artists, their art resonates and has stayed with me since.