Bringing People Together Through Art: Manish Lal Shrestha

“ I like to see things in a positive light. There is some kind of positivity in everything”.

30, Dec 2022 |

“I use sound as a metaphor. Without sound, life doesn’t exist. Without heartbeat, life doesn’t exist”.

Manish Lal Shrestha, a multimedia visual artist and co-curator of first Yanjiao Biennale 2021, is a legator of the Nepali art industry. Since his early years, Shrestha has developed a distinctive style in which he incorporates contemporary, modern motifs. He is a popular visual artist, who had helped launch Nepal's postmodern movement in the early 2000s. Also renowned as the bell painter, he expresses his ideas and feelings through art.

Excerpts from the interview:

How do you describe yourself?

I'm a multimedia artist. I work with different mediums. I started with painting. I do performances, installations, videos and many more. I’m an artist and I express things, concepts, values, and cultures through art.


How did you start your career as an artist? Growing up, did you always want to become an artist?

I have enjoyed drawing and painting since I was a child. Eventually, my mom encouraged me to pursue art, which led me to Bombay to study art. In 2001, I came back to Nepal after graduation and decided to follow my passion. It’s been more than 25 years since then.



Does your birthplace influence your work?

I’m from Patan and I live nearby Patan Durbar Square, which back then was a football ground, where I used to play with my friends when we were younger. My love for the heritage and culture, especially the bells, influenced my work a lot. People know me as the ‘bell painter’.


What inspires your art the most?

Nepali culture and its evolution both culturally and politically. I’m a contemporary artist so I take inspiration from contemporary scenes. It might be concurrent issues or something progressive. I believe there is some kind of positivity in everything and I try to radiate those into the community. I use sound as a metaphor. Without sound, life doesn’t exist. Without heartbeat, life doesn’t exist. Even when a baby is born, we check the heartbeat to know if the baby is alive.


Who are your biggest artistic influences?

There are many; Sashi Bikarm Shah, M.F. Husain, Laxman Shrestha- to name a few. I feel lucky to have got the chance to know a lot of talented artists globally.



Where do you see Nepali art industry in the next 5 years?

I would say Nepali arts are evolving. Gradually, we are seeing a growing number of international audiences. So, 5 years from now, I see Nepali arts bringing in a lot of international attention and fame for the nation. 

What is the hardest part of being an artist?

Art itself is hard. To live as an artist, it’s a bit difficult. But, there is some sort of affection and beauty even in those difficulties. There is struggle in everything. But, after being in the industry for 25 years and living through the changes, I feel responsible to pass on the values to the younger generation.


Of all the art you have curated, what's your personal favorite?

Every art has its own story and significance, I can’t really decide on one. Each item is like a child to me and you can’t choose your favorite. Yet, one work that I feel created a wave of influence is project #1336. I created a pool of around 400 volunteers, carrying the connected art and walking around the Boudha. I like bringing people together and creating a synergy.


Is there any special environment that is integral to your work?

It really depends on the concept. For example, I do series which takes a lot of time requiring to be in a subtle environment, whereas some work require a lot of interactions like project #1336. I worked with around 50 people for that project. I wanted to create a community art and bring lives together.

What is your upcoming dream project?

I’m planning to work on Project #8848. It is similar to Project #1336. However, the knitted wool will be 8848 meters long, signifying the highest peak of the world, Mt. Everest. It will take around 3 years to complete.

Interviewed by: Simran Shrestha

Photos by: Ayush Maharjan and Sankalpa Nakarmi

Also Read:

Ashish Kumar: “The Key To Success Is Contentment.”

Shreejana Rana: For The Welfare Of Hospitality In Nepal

Gajendra Malla: Moving Forward With A Comprehensive Approach

Natasha Shrestha: Foresighting Nepal As An Air Sports Hub

Subodh Thapa: Reshaping Hospitality For Tomorrow

join our newsLetter

powered by : nepal traveller digital publication pvt. ltd

developed by : Web House Nepal