Dreams play an important role in my art. Most of them have some relation to Kathmandu, the ancient city where I grew up. The mystical images of gods, deities, demons, animals, and many other elements from old myths and stories, intertwined with the feudal traditions established by a long ruling monarchy, have had a deep influence on my dreams and my art. The recurring dreams, somewhat fuzzy when I was a kid, became more transparent as I matured. When I moved far away to California, some of these dreams, still rooted in Kathmandu, started becoming more alive as though they were speaking to me. Many times, in my dreams, I saw warmly lit, surreal landscapes consisting of temples, gods, deities, mythical animals, statues of kings, queens and many other elements inviting me to enter into them. Mesmerized by these experiences, I would reach for my camera in an effort to capture this magical view just to realize, in utter disappointment, that I forgot to bring my camera.
I feel that this endless frustration of not having my camera when I need it is perhaps a metaphor for my struggle of having to choose between two worlds, the Ancient and the Modern. It feels as if my subconscious wants me to go back into the ancient world I left behind, while the conscious part of me is more comfortable being in the West. Here I am surrounded by the fast paced modern life, which is much isolated and different from the idyllic place that I observe in my dreams. This creates an eternal yearning to go back to this magical place I see in my sleep.
The act of painting lets me enter into this dream-like realm. However, despite my affinity to the ancient world, how I express this experience in my painting is affected by my Western style of art education in techniques and execution, and everyday elements of Modern life, like fashion and technology. My paintings are reflections of this struggle, and expressions of my conscious and subconscious tug of war.
This painting was inspired by the tale of the encounter between Kich Kanyas (beautiful female ghosts) and King Pratap Malla (16th century). This king was known to be a practicing Tantric (esoteric Tantrism). The text written at the top of the painting is Nepali with Devanagiri script describing this encounter. The piece is on a gallery wrapped canvas and the painting continues around the sides. It comes ready to hang.
- Yuvak Tuladhar