EVER-EXPANDING REALMS

Published in: 
The Kathmandu Post
BIDHATA KC has been involved in the Nepali art scene for a good decade or so now, and has held numerous exhibitions in that time. Although her mainstay is painting, she has also incorporated print-making, installation and multimedia works into her everexpanding repertoire. In 2010, the young artist was honoured with the Arniko National Youth Award for her contributions to Nepali modern art. At present, Bidhata is working as an art teacher at Matribhumi School, British College and Lumbini International College, stints that have helped her sharpen her own skills, she says. Rajita Dhungana caught up with the artist to talk about her work and interests outside of it.
You appear to have a fairly hectic schedule...do you get any time for yourself?
It’s only recently that I’ve starting teaching art at school, so that’s taken a bit of getting used to. With young kids, you need to establish a whole new foundation, and that can be difficult. A-Level students are easier to teach in comparison. But work isn’t my whole life, of course, and I do try to set out time for myself, usually to go catch a movie or spend a couple of hours with friends and family. That pretty much relieves me of the stresses associated with my job. 
What kind of films do youusually watch?
I prefer documentaries for the most part, so when film festivals like Film South Asia and the Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival are in town, it’s a real treat for me. But then again, I also enjoy masala films from time to time, comedies in particular. The last film I saw, just a few days ago, was One Direction: This is Us. I went with my niece, who is a huge fan of the band, and surprisingly, I enjoyed myself a lot. The audiences were practically going crazy for those boys, shouting and screaming, and that was something I hadn’t seen at a movie before.
Are you much of a reader?
I can’t say I read extensively, but I try to go through reviews of new books and pick ones that I think I’ll like.
Most recently, I read Buddhisagar’s Karnali Blues, and it was really interesting. The way he has portrayed
different parts of Nepal is extraordinary, I think. I’m hoping to read Take the Lead by Anil Chitrakar next. I’ve heard a lot of good things about it.
Where do you like to hang out when you’re with friends?
I’m a big foodie, so you’ll find me at different restaurants. I’m often at the Nanglo Chinese Room because I love their soups, and I’m also fond of salads and pastas, sovthat’s usually what I order elsewhere. Two of my all-time favourite eateries is Decheling and Roadhouse—there’s so much to pick from at these places.
Does your love of eating
translate to a love of cooking?
I do cook sometimes, but not too often, and not too well. I’m the youngest in my family, so I’ve always been pampered by my sisters and haven’t had to exert myself too much in the kitchen [laughs]. Of
course, I can do the basics, and my golbheda ko achaar is really good, or so I’ve been told.
Did you always imagine you’d be an artist?
Not really. I was more into sports—volleyball in particular—when I was a child. I had some really good teachers back then, who encouraged me to do something, anything. I used to make little drawings of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, but then everyone did that. The moment I knew I wanted to be an artist was right after my SLC when
my father took me to the Lalit Kala Campus, and I was instantly hooked by the creativity I saw
around me.
So who has inspired you most in your artistic endeavours since?
I go to a lot of exhibitions, so it’s not hard to be inspired at all. Each artist is so different, they have such unique points-of-view, so many different stories to tell, and techniques to do it with. If I wanted to be specific, I’d name Shashi Bikram Shah as one of my favourite artists; he plays with colour with such mastery, such skill. Likewise, I also admire the work of Mark Rothko, who employs blanks spaces incredibly well in his pieces.
How fashion-conscious a person are you?
I’m pretty happy so long as I look presentable. I like wearing dresses usually, so I do try to shop for good ones. But I’m not overly concerned about such things. Given how difficult it is to make a living as a Nepali
artist, anyway, if one were to brandconscious, you’d probably starve before long [laughs].
Is there anything you would change about yourself if you could?
I do wish I was more confident. I’m also a fairly lazy person and I sleep a
lot. Which means I keep postponing my work, which makes me angsty.
What do you have planned in the near future?
I want to do more research-based work. I had certain fixed motifs and themes I was fond of, but I’m hoping I can expand my scope in that regard. I want to learn more. And I’m also hoping to do a solo showing, maybe sometime next year. Essentially, I just want to explore more avenues in art, and just grow
as an artist.