Manish Lal Shrestha


Personal Statement

Constantly emailing Adeela, Auj and Naiza to know the situation of the place, made me feel comfortable to come to Pakistan for the first time. Suicide bombing in Karachi on Bhutto’s return and then her assassination in Rawalpindi were intimidating facts of the land intensified by the broadcasting international media. Undoubtedly all the uncertainty on the socio political level had terrorized me. It is always the same back home and wherever you go in South Asian region. At home, I am used to the news of our own problems but it is always difficult to know others ground reality.

As I reached Jinnah International Airport in Karachi and was driven toward VASL flat my conversation with the driver started from the security in the city and ended up with the cricket game.  After meeting all the people at VASL and Karachi, I felt much more comfortable and at ease.  After spending time in Pakistan, I felt that all the news of the land was perhaps exaggerated facts internationally.  Might be it was all remote from me, but watching the media it seemed as if it was happening everywhere in the nooks and the corners.

Since I am an artist, this idea is always a subject for my thoughts. I always try to make people smile and that is the intuition of my personal behavior.  I created a symbol of privacy or silence, by using repeated photographs of myself with a finger on lips, directed towards the media to shut the rumors up and make the world a peaceful place to live.  To find space for yourself from all this facts, it is better to make a private place, but it is hard to find the space for privacy in this busy life style, therefore I depict the idea of privacy with the symbol of wash room, the commode, where the picture of shutting the lips are pasted. It is entitled “Privacy Please!!!” The work “…” also depicts the thoughts of being yourself and free the mind from external pessimistic influences.

Somewhere in my mind I think, I brought my nostalgia along. And also chatting with Naiza’s little daughter Lolo, always reminded me of my newly born son back home. I take everything so personally because of being born, brought up and also trained on a very personal level. In such personal influence, I took up the challenge to make a family of three people- father, mother and child coming to this Islamic land. It is always so beautiful to know geographical differences of the nations and that always inspires me.

There is no sea in Nepal and hence my desire to see the sea. It is my assumption of my child’s desire to see the sea.  “Mama, I want to see the sea” is the site specific art work. This concept is the amalgamation of nostalgia and reality. Intuition of back home nostalgia drives me to depict the idea of the desire of the child’s playfulness. It is more about my own personal experience of being a father of a newly born child. Fulfilling desire of child, “Play on …its baba’s toys” is the interactive art piece where people can play with their innovation of life. Four balls are designed with very local accents like ‘ Kya masla hey!?!”, made in mind, papu ki gaind, almost red, mere lal, to depict the local reality and celebrating life whole heartedly.

To add on the gesture to the reality, I created “Man in White”, pasted with Urdu Scripts and heart of silver determines the mystery and “Woman in Black” with golden heart and just the eyes shown, which I see usually in the crowded city market in Karachi. “Karachi and buses” is also an art piece that deserves the artistic exploration of the city. I always feel so curious to know about all the hidden tendency of the people here.  Almighty Allah has given them the heart of generosity and optimistic thoughts for better future. “Listen heart” and “Big heart” always came in my mind and depicted into the art pieces.

“Are you looking?” are the pieces of work that gesture with all the reality you see through. It creates dual conversation between the viewers. The process is all about getting the reality into positive way through the window of eyes.

All these art works are created in the influences of life in reality and determination of nostalgia. Somewhere these also determine playfulness, satire and humor. It is all about creating awareness to the socio-political environment around the globe by the gesture of humorous satirical juxtaposition.  “Art depicts life of individual, social and political potential. In many circumstances it predicts value of spirituality with all meanings of history and directs the apt senses into future. I am into this deep thought of making the world know better about all these facts. We know we are all nature but the brain acclimatizes the materialistic term. Life of materialism sophisticates the urge towards the reality to make it easier.  From this area of intuition, I plunge into art to face the veracity and the facts. Out of this muse, practicality is more profound.”  It is all the process of creativity and I believe in these facts.

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