Artists, despite the challenges brought by the pandemic, utilized this time at home to create new pieces of art. As a result, this Dashain we will be flooded with exhibitions, from virtual to in-person, and many of us will have the opportunity to showcase and sell our works.
One thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of great artworks have come out during the pandemic and that has helped us sustain the industry. A list of great books for art in general, and also sculpture art, painting, traditional art, ancient art, architecture, and books about creativity, scripture, and many more have hit the market. Sales have picked up as well, as art lovers and collectors can finally visit exhibitions.
During the pandemic, many galleries, especially in Thamel, couldn’t gather as many people as they did before. The works of artists who have already earned a name were easily sold, while those struggling to make their artworks stand out couldn’t do so.
Now with the Covid-19 restrictions being relaxed, we recently organized an exhibition at my gallery where we put up artworks by five different artists.The outcome was overwhelming; most of the pieces, including four of my own, were sold. Virtual exhibitions are also being organized and sales are going up. This was also visible at the recent exhibitions at Siddartha Art Gallery and Kala Premi.
The market is slowly waking up and, in this season of festivities, we are optimistic that more local artists will be able to showcase their works. We plan on working on more creations in this time of transition, so the next couple of months will see a flurry of bigger exhibitions.
We are also hopeful that more Nepali people will buy pieces of art this year. Before the pandemic, most consumers of this industry were foreigners as painting and sculptures are expensive for many middle-class Nepalis. With the travel ban, we lost most of our clients and that too contributed to the slow movement of the market in the past one and a half years.
There are, however, comparatively more Nepalis willing to buy locally created art than was the case pre-pandemic. We see that as progress and are working on creating an easy-to-use, accessible, and affordable platform for local people who want to buy works of art. We have found works of art such as chains and paperweights are more affordable to local clients.
My goal now is to open a private museum. Over the years, I’ve loved collecting paintings from different reputed artists. I realize there still aren’t many private museums in our country, and I plan on opening one soon.
Similarly, now, more and more colleges are recruiting fine arts teachers at the plus-two level. More youths have a space to pursue fine arts from a young age. We are also campaigning on incorporating art as a compulsory subject for all school students.
I hope after Dashain the market will continue to boom and more local artists can sell their work. In order to promote local art, our goal is ‘one house, one painting’. We believe if every house has at least one painting instead of printed posters, we will get a step closer to promoting art and appreciating the efforts of the artists.