Art and language are languages on their own. They can give wonderful messages without words and they are so powerful that they touch not just the mind but the Soul.
Last Friday, 25th of March, I visited a wonderful exhibition, thanks to my friend Bimal, at the Nepal Academy. The exhibition had been held on the occasion of World Wood Day. It was a units experience as I had been on such a huge international exhibition for the first time with my friends and also because I had never heard of such a festival as World Wood Day before. (I’m still not sure which day is the Wood Day, but I’m guessing it was on 21st March!)
Unfortunately that was the last day of the event and there were very few artworks on display on the ground of the Academy. The Chinese wooden letters, symbols, monasteries and pictures were the first things I saw. Then there were Nepalese ethnic communities- Chepangs, Newars, and Tharus exhibiting their art by the effective use of wood. The Mouse Killer of Chepangs and Tharus, the wooden puppets (kath putali) and the Masks of Newars attracted me the most. Then there were huge flutes, an educational stall of the Tribhuvan University’s Central Department of Botany. Then there were artistic tables and chairs designed by carpenters from different parts of the world. One Arab carpenter told us to sit on his carpentery and then rate the work. We were not experts, but then we rated it as a good work. Then we went inside the building where the actual exhibition seemed to be running.
The first thing I noticed was the carved head of the Buddha and a woman with rosy hair. They just looked beautiful. Some Arabs were showing their work, and I looked up around at the Laughing Buddha and some other trunk carvings by Nepali and foreign artists. It was turning into an amazing experience and the music coming out from the Academy Hall was turning it into a charming one. As soon as we heard the music coming up, I rushed to the hall with Prafulla, Khumendra, Sanjeev and Romi.
The Nepal Academy Hall is historical. It is the very stage upon which the Great Poet Laxmi Prasad Devkota recited his poems. It is the stage that has hosted itself for most of the writers, theatre artists, musicians and poets. On the stage, that day were Spanish(?) and Nepali musicians playing instruments made of wood such as flute, saarangi, maadal, guitar, and some instruments I do not know the manes of. The music went through the air and then touched my heart and soul. The Spanish group even sang a song and though I did not understand the language of words, I could clearly feel the beauty of the unspoken language. Four musical performances later, four of the Nepali musicians left on the stage presented the music of the Himalaya. That was the moment I was most overwhelmed and the one I don’t think I will ever forget.
We went upstairs to see other artworks. There were works of various designs and themes. One of them included a look-alike puppet of the puppeteer himself. The representation of the Greek art of wood was amazing. But then there was one simple work by Palestinian artists in the shape of question mark. The note on its side read:
We have come from around the world and have worked together to create art. If we can do this together, why do we have to fight in the names of religions and all?
The ending ceremony of the event was due when I had to go back to my home. I came mesmerized, peace in my heart and Soul.