Kathmandu is a crazy city!! And this is coming from someone who has lived in New York City her entire life. My homestay is a sizable house made of red brick, placed down an alley. It is a thirty minute walk down the main road, to and from the program house. My relationship with this city has developed a great amount during the past two weeks, and I certainly believe that observing it through the photos I have taken has been influential to shaping my opinions. My Independent Study Project is photography, in which each class has been structured around developing my creative eye, with help and mentorship from my mentor, Kishor.
Being introduced to Nepalese photographers, when taking a look at some influential photographers of modern art, flipped my view of art quite a bit. Quite honestly, when I was told about my ISP, I was entirely excited idea by the prospect; however, I was not expecting to learn more than I already had about the art of photography. I learned, from analyzing some of the works of the Nepalese photographers, that their artistic visions hold different meanings. Every true, artistic photographer has a unique eye, due to the fact that each person has a different life experience. Therefore, because each Nepali photographer’s life experience has a greater cultural gap from that of a Western photographer’s, their style follows suit.
The idea of the history of Nepalese and Southeast Asian art sparks an even larger question in my head. Looking at the religious murals of Nepalese artists, each portrait displays an incredible amount of meaning and deep history. Especially in the context of a Buddhist monastery, one can feel the beauty of the ideals of the religion and those who follow it. This religion, which I am very slowly learning about, is transparent in terms of the mindfulness and peace is holds its followers to. However, it is a little less transparent about the complex portraits, architecture and idols that hold a much richer, much older meaning and history than the world famous European religious paintings about Christianity. Though, obviously, wonderful works of art, as I have been able to appreciate them from the amount of time I have spent in art museums, I have come to understand the underappreciated Buddhist art of this country. I have felt an urge in curiosity to understand why this is, especially because Buddhism has been heavily introduced into the Western world recently.
Though I am excited to be leaving this compact city soon, I am also excited to extend myself to this part of Nepalese culture, which seems to be often overlooked in my experience. This is one mysterious country thus far.