In this series, Gurung scrutinizes the changes that he witnessed in Khorla village, perched high in the mountains of Gorkha district, where he was born. Gurung’s paintings display the dilemma of the people stuck between their ethnic tradition and modernity, and still unable to embrace one fully.
In this series there are 21 sepia-toned and monochromatic oil paintings that give a sense of history, capturing everything from people to musical instruments to kitchen utensils. In spite of the use of a single color, Gurung has managed to give minute details in each of his paintings. They are mostly of women as Gurung feels men have already been completely engulfed by modernization. It is rather the women who are in a dilemma whether to stick to their tradition or embrace westernization.
In the paintings, women wear fariya and traditional ghalek, but the cholos are replaced by modern t-shirts, padukas are replaced by crocs, madals by box speakers, and the traditional theki by plastic bottles. “I could not capture these moments ten years ago and I regret not being able to do so. But now I don’t want to miss anything because if we can’t capture them now, it will be very difficult for upcoming generations to trace our tradition. It will vanish without a trace,” Gurung says.
The exhibition at the Siddhartha Art Gallery runs till 9 June 2019, from 11 am to 5 pm.