visitor entered the door, paused, took a step back, and said one
word, “Outstanding.” His comment was directed at Param Meyangbo’s
artwork “My Wall”, one of the 42 paintings on display at her exhibition
Enamel Works at Spiny
a young woman artist emerging in Nepal, Param Meyangbo has been
able to impress those who visited Spiny Babbler to view the modern
art presentation. In its Spotlight weekly program Hits FM described
the exhibition as “Excellent, professional, and vibrant.” Manjul,
the modern Nepali poet, felt special attraction to the spontaneity
and honesty of the artist.
a viewer, the first aspect of the exhibition to strike my mind was
its emotional content. Sometimes confusion and trauma drown all
thoughts (“To dad, March 29, 1998”), sometimes the emotion is warm
and gentle (“Our Youth”), paint displays depression (“Enamel strokes”),
and at times everything is at peace (“A cold quiet evening, after
second aspect of the exhibition to strike my mind was the haunting.
When I say haunting, let me tell you about the painting “My thought”.
The painting is, in bare essentials, blue squiggles. I would not
say it is the best painting in the exhibition, or the most powerful.
But three days after I saw the artwork, suddenly, there it was,
bright and living in my mind, and I felt within me loss and confusion,
the willingness to look for a direction in life, the inability to
know clearly where to go. I was distracted for several hours.
another instance, I was taken away from my world, to a dream. Everything
in this dream was breathing, everything was deep deep blue and dark.
I walked among bushes and trees and entered a place where depth
was never ending. Among all of this was a magical luminescent light
and this light would guide me forever. This was my journey when
I viewed Param Meyangbo’s “Fairy Tale”. This haunting was of a pleasant
kind, but it was a haunting nonetheless.
deep blue depth and surreal luminescence, I am confident that this
painting will remain one of her best creations ever. “Striking luminescence…”
were the words of a Canadian artist on viewing the same artwork.
“Her ability and her special talent are obvious,” were the words
of a Nepali educator.
stark implementation in black and white work and temperate handling
of color, Meyangbo’s work show remarkable confidence and a high
degree of professionalism. It is clear that abstract expressionism
has worked well for Meyangbo. A popular art movement in the US in
the 1940s and the 1950s, “abstract expressionism” is also called
action painting and features a curious way of painting. The paper,
canvas, or the plyboard is placed flat on the floor and the artist
may paint, drip, or splash colors upon it (in 22 instances of Meyangbo
paintings, the color used was black enamel).
has gone a step forward with abstract expressionism, using knives,
cloth, wood, and bare hands to create her work. She gives the paintings
a twist that has rarely been seen in Nepal. “Force, vitality and
originality,” are the hallmarks of this art from according to Bennett
Schiff (contributing editor to Smithsonian). He also says that it
“embraces a wide variety of styles, some of them distinctly opposite
to one another.”
these styles, “opposite to one another” can be seen more clearly
because Spiny Babbler decided to present Enamel
Works with 18 of Meyangbo color presentations. Initially intended
as a pure black and white exhibition, her color artwork compounded
this series to provide variety and to avoid being “monotonous”.
upon viewing the artwork many times, I think this combination may
have been a mistake. The color artwork seems to take the focus of
the audience away from the originality and the beauty of her stark
black and white presentation. With several publication covers, two
1.5 by 3 meter displays for PEN International, and Pepsi calendar
to her credit (and all of these in black and white), she has much
experience in working with this medium. But there is no doubt that
her talent is obvious in color as well as black and white, and perhaps
one may excuse this lapse in judgment.
words “pure emotion” that Schiff uses to comment on abstract expressionism
is fully evident in Meyangbo works and she treads a path walked
by de Kooning (who also, by the way, worked with black and white
early on), Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko among others. After
viewing the explosion in black and white of Enamel Works and its feelings first hand (it has the ability to come
at you, stay in the mind, and haunt your dreams), I was also amazed
by the physical presence of the artwork.
physical presence, I refer to the ability of Meyangbo artwork to
effect the atmosphere and the feelings of those around them. Among
the black and white paintings, take, for example, “My father’s death”
and the swirl of emotions that it so effectively portrays, or “With
the wind” and the strong and splendid movement that it carries (4
by 8 feet in size, this painting takes you inside a storm), or the
bewilderment and the rush of “A busy morning” and it is easy to
see even at her first solo exhibition, Param Meyangbo is to become
a reckoning force in the field of Nepalese modern art.
the audience who wish to view more of Param Meyanbo’s creations,
Spiny Babbler will bring out her series of 34 artwork Dark Flowers
in the form of a publication in mid-1999. From around the globe
poets have been invited to choose an artwork from the series and
write poems based upon the artwork.
the 33 poets that are contributing to this edition are T. Saluman
of Slovenia, M. Harlow of New Zealand, T. Collins of Australia,
and Manjul of Nepal. The issue will carry poetry of Africa, South
America, and Europe to Nepal and the publication of this Spiny Babbler
is to coincide with an exhibition of Param Meyangbo’s Dark
Flowers artwork series.
series displays Param Meyangbo’s skills with other forms of art
besides actions painting. Her talent, so explosive and emotional
in Enamel Works (the exhibition
was held from September 12 to 27 at Spiny Babbler art gallery in
Kupondol Heights), is clearly stated in this series as well, her
first foray into the realm of original art at the age of 25. And
the work of this young artist, with her creativity, with her emotionally
charged work and internationally appealing creations, has taken
me on a journey to another world, to her world, and her world is
full of hauntings.