Saurganga Darshandhari, one among the prominent visual artists and printmakers, has been contributing to the development of the art sector in Nepal since 2001 with her skills and talents. Darshandhari completed her Master’s degree in Fine Arts from the University of Development Alternative in Bangladesh. She has even showcased her artworks in various countries, including the USA, Poland, Argentina, Australia, South Korea, and Germany among others. She has also participated in many national exhibitions in the country.
Currently, she is teaching Printmaking at the Lalitkala Campus and at the Sirjana College of Fine Arts. Likewise, she is also the Vice President of Printmaking Nepal and a General Member of Sirjana College of Fine Arts. Furthermore, Darshandhari has also founded Bindu-a space for artists, a platform established to bring various genres of art together in connection with the international art community. Here she talks about her journey, the quality of art, and the current scenario of visual artists in Nepal.
Could you please tell us about your artistic background?
Actually, my father wants me to become a dancer because he was an eminent Charya dancer. He used to take me to dance programs, but I always saw colors in it more than performance. I still remember when someone asked me my aim during childhood; I used to say I want to become an artist. To be honest, I do not exactly know how and when my artistic life began. I don’t even know it would continue for this long. Just that I am pursuing it currently as my career.
What is art for you and what inspires you? What is your involvement in the sector at present?
My work is my diary. So, whatever I do— printmaking, performance art, video art or installations— all are my diary entries; they are pages from my diary telling a story. My work relates to my life. I cannot define art per se because it is like a deep well. Once you go for it, you will not want to come back.
My parent’s effort to make me the Saurganga that I am today is something that motivates me to keep moving forward with everything in life. I did a series work on ‘Mero Ama Ko Thaili’. Recently, in my second solo show, I captured the stories from daily life moments in the theme ‘My Maa and Mama’. Similarly, in another artwork name – Flow, I tried to capture the short time of having tea.
After Bindu started in 2006, we have organized many art workshops, artist talks, artist residency programs, exhibitions, performance art events, and more for visual artists and artists otherwise. Similarly, I’m the general member of Sirjana College of Fine Arts, Vice President of printmaking Nepal, and currently, I am teaching printmaking in Lalitkala campus and Sirjana College of Fine Arts.
As one among the professional visual artists and printmakers in the country, how do you see the Nepali artworks in terms of quality?
Visual arts and printmaking are like a puzzle game. They look easy, but are not. Therefore, visual artists need a lot of patience to complete the work. When it comes to artworks, we are as good as any foreign artist. However, we are improving day by day. But, we have compromised in art materials. It is difficult to get good materials in the country. Artists who can afford to collect quality materials from abroad. Our artworks, on the other hand, are also roaming the world.
How would you describe the current scenario of art in Nepal?
Currently, artists have learned to accept challenges in art. Artists, whether professional or commercial, who have been working for a long time with all their might are serving for the development of art. Art itself is growing day by day. I feel this is the changing phase of art.
Are there enough artists in our country? Does the artists/art manpower produce from colleges/individually enough for our country?
All human beings are artists, but it depends on them how they present their artwork. We have a very small art market. We are a small circle. But I think we are still enough. I would only say that colleges are for learning skills, but it heavily depends on student interests. Regularity in creating art is important to become an artist and even more when we talk about visual artists.
As an artist yourself, do you feel there is a gap in demand and supply of artists? Can you please tell us how can we minimize the gap?
No, there is not, per se. It is all because of changing time and phase. Previously, artists were small in number. Today, we are increasing and growing at the same time. When it comes to opportunities, there are many opportunities for artists too. It is not a gap. It is like a thin and thick line.
What are the prospects of art or visual artists in Nepal?
Nepal itself is a huge colorful art in terms of many things. We can see historic artwork in culture or in religion. We can see the artwork in paintings or sculptures or prints in different places. Slowly, local people are collecting artworks too. We can see a good example in the ‘Himalayan Art Festival’ organized at the Nepal Art Council by E-Arts Nepal and ‘Amalgam’ at Siddhartha Art Gallery. Unfortunately, only local people knew the value of artworks and artists, but the government did not. That is the irony.