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A chaotic relationship

KATHMANDU, DEC 18 -

A single look at our lifestyle will give a clear picture of just how dependent the evolution of human civilisation is on earthly resources. Without mining, extracting, cutting, and killing elements of nature, it would be increasingly impossible to maintain our over-stimulated, materialistic lives.

Even though we may have developed a bit of a habit to turn a blind eye to our responsibility towards that which nourishes us, it isn’t a sustainable approach and sooner or later, our reckless actions will haunt our future. Apart from the physical devastation it assures, there is also the less tangible loss of values that is an inevitable consequence of this.

Resources in Chaos, an exhibition by US artist Rick Cummings and Nepali artist Ragini Upadhyay, draws attention to the nature of our relationship with our environment. In a collection of paintings, prints, sculptures and handicrafts, Cummings and Upadhyay strive to connect the dots that many of us have failed to do so far.

Cummings—whose treatment of his subjects highlights his history of delving into multiple cultures—was born into a family of artists in the US and currently resides in Kathmandu with his Nepali wife. The crow—a motif in his paintings—projects different messages to eastern and western audiences. While it is seen as a bad omen in western culture, in Nepal, it is considered the reincarnation of Brahma, and thus, a holy bird. Although Cummings says darkness is oft difficult to define, his Batti Gayo, Batti Gayo is a sharp reminder of the reality of load-shedding that inflicts lives in Kathmandu.

Upadhyay’s Sutuwa Kukur, similarly, shows the degeneration of ‘man’s best friend’ to a value-less creature that is either bound by chains all day, or left to roam the streets without a home, without dignity or purpose. The painting also serves as a strong commentary on the lackadaisical attitude that pervades present-day politics—a recurrent idea in Upadhyay’s paintings. “We should stop being Kumbakarna in the face of the current political turmoil,” says Upadhyay.

Resources in Chaos is currently being exhibited at the AP Art Gallery in Jhamsikhel.

Posted on: 2012-12-18 08:42