Different Shades of the Superintendent

Features Issue 157 Dec, 2014

SSP Ghimire enjoys bright colors, but dark is the word that best defines the world he works in – a world not only of criminals and wrong doers, but also of victims and their suffering.

It was around 2:30 am in the morning, the date: Saturday, August 2 2014. In an instant, a 1.9 km long slope of land perched 1,350 m above the river bed collapsed. Two dozen houses were erased off the face of the earth at Jure in Sindhupalchowk district, and hundreds of people went missing. 

As news broke out about the tragedy, security forces stationed in the area swung into action. One of the police officers involved in the relief work witnessed something that would haunt him for a long time. “She looked at me with a ‘blank’ expression. There was neither stress nor panic on her face. She had just lost her entire family in the incident,” says SSP Subodh Ghimire.

For any other police officer, it would have been difficult to let go of that haunting image. But ‘luckily’, for Ghimire his dedication to art came to his rescue. He put the eyes on canvas. “I felt a huge relief as if a huge burden had just been lifted.” 

Until he had painted the girl, Ghimire, who enjoys bright colors, felt like using dark colors only. Perhaps dark is the word that best defines the world he works in – a world of not only criminals and wrong doers, but also of victims and their suffering. Looking at his job, one would think that he must find it tough to think of brightness and color. But, he feels just the opposite.

“I feel that my job gives me a unique opportunity to interact with a lot of people and visit a lot of places. This gives a lot of input to my art.” And, his art has also made it possible for him to travel outside Nepal. Ghimire’s work was recently showcased at an art gallery in Roanne, France. 

The exhibition in France would have looked like a long-shot for Ghimire when he joined the force in 1987. He had almost given up his interest in art, which he had honed in his school days. “I used to design book covers for friends and do other works of art during that period.” He had to wait until 1995 to make the shift from fine art (‘copying’ things on paper) to making more abstract paintings. “Kiran Manandhar introduced me to abstract art in around 1995. He briefed me for a few hours.” Then Ghimire had the confidence to go at it alone.

In 2000, when he was stationed in Sierra Leone, he spent his free time pursuing art while most of his friends killed time playing cards or listening to music.

Just like musicians have their signature tunes, artists also leave their own mark on their paintings. “I would say my art is semi-abstract. I do not do abstract because I wouldn’t know when my work is complete. I do not put any restrictions on myself when I am painting, I let it flow,” says the Van Gogh and Picasso fan.