Meet the Artist
By Nandita Rana
Surprises are mostly exciting, especially when ‘pleasant ’. Patan is one of those places where stumbling upon little surprises is more than normal. What previously was a horse stable for one of the high Ranas is now an eventful courtyard, popular as the Yala Maya Kendra. Located right beside Patan Dhoka, literally Patan Gate, the
place itself is a mixed bag of the unexpected.
Despite its popularity for various events, from charity concerts to exhibitions, the place seems shy of the loudness outside. A reason why the place is strangely appealing on its own is its periphery, surrounded a popular café and the Madan Puraskar library, which seems nearly hidden.
The burden of history heaves on the building of the library, lingering with its aged charisma. And ‘surprisingly ’ it also houses an art studio, where the office of artist Bidhata KC sits comfortably.
To recognize Bidhata KC is not difficult. Her short hair and a spirited attitude with artistic flair is her trademark. She can often be found lounging at the Dokaima Café reading books. As we met her at the entrance of Yala Maya Kendra, she walked us from there to her studio. A mini tour to an artist ’s den. The late winter afternoon was complimented by whiffs of spring in the air. The chirping of birds and, of course, our own conversation were the only interruptions to the quietness of the place.
Her studio on the first floor has an accent, very movie like. An old building, winding staircase, the coldness of stone walls, an extended balcony with pigeons fluttering all over and green outgrowths on the sides. Everything seemed quite dramatic and inspiring at the same time. The door then opened to an artist ’s abode, the large windows accentuating its historic look and highlighted by orange veils. Canvases full of colors and leaves, some stacked on the floor and some hung on the wall.
Bidhata ’s recent collection exhibited at Yala Maya Kendra was seemingly fresh, based on leaves. “For me leaves are what compare to a human life, ” remarks the artist. “The way leaves define the liveliness of a tree, is what is existence. Similar to life. Leaves are shed and they grow again, and so do humans. The ups and downs in our lives, they come and go. ” The artist wears a serious expression, often overshadowed by her jovial side. The artist
whose interests are more inclined on leaves than on fancy flowers has most of her works based on Nature. For the past five years her collections have been on leaves. Her studio is surrounded by them. “I don ’t know how long I am going to continue with the theme. There ’s way too much to explore now that I have only started with it. ”
She is an explorer at heart, with a fondness to travel. Recently back from her trek to Manang, she is now working on an upcoming exhibition. Her inquisitiveness and need for change is reflected in her works. Even her series on leaves stresses on the leaf ’s veins bound by its periphery. The artist actually relates them to human thoughts and feelings. “They run all over the leaf but never to break away from it. It ’s like our thoughts, always confined within self created boundaries, ” adds the artist. “I think travelling is extremely necessary, especially for artists. You come across different objects, and ideas to mull over. Nothing can compare to colors and composition of nature, so inspiring. ” She ’s still in awe of her memories of Manang and the Larke pass, which can easily be made out from her expressions. “A great, great trek, but I tell you it was not easy. The company, however, made it all too fun ”, she says about an adventure that included a group of artists. Apart from her domestic expeditions she has travelled and exhibited her works in Bangladesh, India and Korea (where she also studied arts for six months).
The artist who prefers leaves to flowers, ironically, grew up surrounded by a colorful garden. “My father is fond of gardening, he ’s always working with plants. And I am the one to enjoy the benefits. ” Her proclivity towards plants probably stemmed for there, rooted in her subconsciously, from her surrounding.
And being the youngest of four sisters her love of good company is also obvious. It reflects in her tone and also her love of movies and hanging out with friends. “I was not always like this. I was more of the quiet kind and rather sportier, ” Bidhata recalls. Back in her school days, the artist was a volleyball player who has competed in district level tournaments.Despite all this, she claims to be “spoilt ” at home. With three elder sisters and a loving father to pamper, it ’s not unlikely that she is a ‘lazy bone ’. “There ’s ten years age difference between me and my elder sister, and she is very parental. She is also the one who ’s spoilt me like a child; nevertheless she ’s great company. ” Lucky for the artist, showers of aspiration and appreciation never cease for her, at least from her family. They provide strong support to her projects.
Talking about her involvement in arts, it was actually her father who introduced her to the idea of pursuing arts professionally. “I would sketch out cartoon characters, Mickey Mouse and others, when I was young. I did not have a serious penchant for arts those days, ” She says. “After my high school, my father introduced me to Lalit Kala Academy for arts, and that ’s when my journey in professional arts began. ” Art, for Bidhata KC, is a medium to
express. “You cannot always say what you feel. Some emotions, some situations in life are totally incommunicable. And arts is a retreat where expression is free. ” For the artist “arts speak louder than words, they mean much more than that. You can express without sounds and actions, right from your soul. That ’s what artis.”
Bidhata has been painting her series on leaves and is determined to continue her venture until she feels she ’s “quite there ”, satisfied with her efforts and maturity. She is a firm believer and practitioner of perfectionism. There is a factory like process involved to produce a piece that meets her expectations. “I myself don ’t know how many times I reject a painting. I throw it away, and sometimes the same inspires me to a different idea. ” It is this philosophy that connects her love of nature and her “increasing ” seriousness in arts. “Its different when you are an art student and when you ’re starting out on your own. The independence also means a lot of responsibilities. Yet you get opportunities to experiment with different themes. ”
This is one reason for her shift to another studio. The artist who previously based her studio at home realized the need of a proper workplace to focus on painting. “It was not easy. You tend to slack off because here ’s plenty things that can distract you at home. The seriousness is not there all the time. ” Bidhata, therefore, identifies with the maturity that has evolved in her over time. She finds her new studio, having been here for a year now, much more comfortable than the previous one she had in Kupondole. She also spends a lot of time in her workplace. Indeed, the open view, the large windows, the historic appeal of the place is already artistic enough. “I have to visit my studio at least once a day, whether I work or not. ” And to see her reading books over coffee at Dokaima café, or strolling along the pathway of Madan Puraskar building and contemplating the leaves by her window, is plain natural. This is where Bidhata K.C. paints out the creativity in her, an amalgamation of modernity, history and nature.