KATHMANDU, Nov 22: Living your dreams takes courage. Courage to take that needed step even when you know that the path ahead is full of potholes. In a country like Nepal, currently, when it comes to studying non-conventional subjects and making a career out of arts and music is a risky road, no less.
Senate Shakya, 20, followed the normal education drill of most Nepali students: went to school, passed his SLC exams and took up A-levels to study management.
However, throughout, his only interest was in art. “I was never interested in other subjects. I loved art,” says Senate who has been practicing art for over a decade now.
He wanted to study the subject but wasn’t able to do so initially. “My family advised me against taking up an art degree because in Nepal, you can’t fully support yourself as an artist,” shares Senate who, while doing his A-levels in management, dropped out from college to join Sirjana College of Fine Arts in Uttardhoka. “But later on, my parents themselves encouraged me to pursue my studies in arts because it had always been my passion,” he adds.
Now, he is much satisfied with what he is studying. “I am a 1st year student of Bachelors in Fine Arts (BFA) at Kathmandu University (KU) Center for Art and Design. Although there is lot of work, I don’t mind. I am very much enjoying my studies,” says Senate.
The art scene and the environment for young people to learn arts here in the country itself, is gradually developing. Lalit Kala Campus, located in Bhotahiti was the first and only fine arts college in Nepal to offer a Bachelors degree in this discipline back in 1977. But now, there are two other colleges offering fine arts in Nepal, Sirjana College of Fine Arts and KU Center for Art and Design which were established in 2001 and 2003, respectively.
An artist from Artlab paints the wall outside Social Welfare Council in Lainchour, Kathmandu on Tuesday. The wall is set to be inaugurated today.
Although the arts education in Nepal is satisfactory, compared to the quality in western countries, we still have a long way to go. “We have good Nepali artists here but we don’t have a lot of teachers who can guide us properly,” Senate shares.
“We do have colleges to study art, they aren’t enough. A platform for art itself is lacking in abundance,” Senate emphasizes on the need for a flourishing art atmosphere, be it galleries or organizations working to promote art in Nepal. He, who wants to open up his own restaurant cum art gallery in the future, says that although he will continue with art, he also will take his family business side by side.
Also pursuing her BFA from KU Center for Art and Design is Luniva Shakya. Even with a father who is already in the field of arts, Luniva didn’t get full support from her mother in pursuing this degree. “My mother didn’t agree to this decision at first but now she is fine with it,” she says, happy to be learning more about an interest that is deeply rooted in her.
Luniva also feels that the course at hand is hectic and that she shares the same sentiment with Senate and says, “It is hectic and rigorous but perhaps because it is a subject that I like, I am fully enjoying it.” Luniva opines that parents should remove their reservations about their children studying art and making a career out of it.
“If you are hard working, you have originality in your work and are able to reach people with your art, then it is possible to succeed as an artist,” opines Luniva. She shares that later on, she wants to establish herself as an artist, internationally, and also manage her father’s art gallery.
Following the steps of an artist father, Bhufan Limbu is also studying BFA at Lalit Kala Campus. For Bhufan, studying and working in a field which allows him to express his thoughts through a medium he enjoys, is gratifying. Hence, although aware that it is difficult to make a living solely as an artist, he is determined to do so.
“I have always given priority to art,” says Bhufan who believes that if given the respect and appreciation that artists deserve, the art scene in Nepal will see speedy development. Bhufan, who is also the bassist for the underground metal band, Hatebook, wants to make a career out of his passions.
Realizing the need to improve the traditional art and craftsmanship of his people, Agrim Sakya, 26, studied fine arts. A BFA degree holder, he shares, “I was already painting Thangkas and helping my father with his sculpture-making work. But I realized that I needed to study art to perfect my work.” Agrim, who painted his first Thangka seven years ago, opted to study fine arts after realizing that his work lacked perfection in anatomy and perspectives.
“The traditional sculptures and paintings from Nepal are well valued abroad. Now, I am able to apply what I learnt at college to my family business and earn a living for myself,” he says.
Establishing any career and making it, comes with its shares of struggles. It is the same, or in Nepal, a bit more challenging in the sector of arts. However, if there is passion, working around the hurdles shouldn’t be a problem. We all need to earn a living but it’s important to do what you really want and believe in it.