Asha Dangol

Asha Dangol


Asha Dangol's paintings have wider range of subject matters and techniques. Some of his works depict the experience of alienated and disillusioned contemporary youths by reincorporating the images of myths, and Newar and Mithila folk arts. The combination of images is shocking and dream like. The artist combines the contrary images with free association exploiting surrealist technique. His art works create a symbolic connection of the myth and reality, past and present. Religious, social and cultural images and symbols are merged. The presentation of simple, naïve and rustic figures are also the elements of folk art. Folk and primitive ambience is the comfort zone for the artist to escape away from the complexity of the chaotic world.

The combination of some images represents the alienated and disillusioned condition of contemporary youths and their nostalgia for carefree childhood and attraction toward mythical world for consolation. He wishes to live in mythological world.

The reality and imaginary mythical world are juxtaposed. In reality, the characters are falling down and tied to the ground whereas in mythical world they are free and rising up. Real world is narrow and monotonous whereas mythical world is wider and more variegated.

The use of some images and techniques of Mithila folk art also creates the mythical atmosphere. The images of horse, elephant and the sun, and flat colours and decorative pattern on the right border are taken from Mithila folk art. Likewise, he incorporates Kohbar and Aripana, the renown Mithila art forms. The artist, remaining at the inbetween space, negotiates with Hindu myth and Nepali folk art. This in-between-ness is the dynamism of his works.

Asha Dangol also incorporates the tantric philosophy in some of his works. He represents the theme of Nepali paubhas in different form. Some of the Nepali paubhas depict male and female deities in sexual union at the centre. For instance, such images are found in the paubhas like Nritesvara and the union of Samvara and Vajravarahi. But Dangol’s compositions show two couples in union in two sides of the canvas, and the circle representing lotus at the centre. The compositions not only share the images of the early painting but also modifies them. The positions of the images are altered. The couples in union appear in the periphery instead of centre. However, the position of circle in the shape of lotus appears in the middle as in early Nepali mandala. The variegated abstract shapes within square and triangles enhance the surrounding. The unusually elongated flexible hands of the couples in union imply rhythm and plurality. One or two singing birds perching on the branch above the couples are cohesive to the same rhythm and music.

Furthermore, as in Nepali manuscript illuminations, the artist reintegrates the verbal texts (alphabets in Ranjana script) within visual images. Furthermore, the collage of poems and mantras make their presence on the canvas. He experiments with innovative and ever new techniques.

The images of the copulating couples are not the objective representations of the mythical figures having many hands and the instruments with them. The figures are anthropomorphic. They resemble more to the normal human beings than to the divine figures. Furthermore, the artist has made the figures suggestive using expressionist technique. The colours and texture on the surface of their bodies do not resemble to the conventional representations. The whole bodies of the female figures are in deep red whereas the colours of male’s bodies are in the form of mosaic.

The compositions are the mélange of various forms, techniques and motifs. The abstract and figurative images are put together. The anthropomorphic forms are figurative whereas the images in the background are abstract.

Nature and humanity are also the key contents of his works. Through his lines and colours he expresses misery, mystery and joy of life. Rural setting and the chores of daily life also get expression in his works.

His art works depict the fusion of folk art, tantric religion, old scripts and the secular images. The sacred images encompass the external mundane world, and at the same time, the nature and the physical world integrate the religious icons, images and symbols. He deconstructs the binary opposition of sacred and profane. The recurrent images of Himalayan mountains suggest the native Nepali root of the artist.

Asha is not only inspired by the traditional art but also subverts the established icons. He takes the images of deities but installs the heads of beasts like tiger, rhinoceros, leopard etc. By doing so, the artist implies two things. First, he divinizes the beasts, and next, he appeals for their preservation. On the other hand, he imagines the possible images of divinities of our time putting guns and grenades in their hands. Such images make us ask question: Are these divinities benevolent? In the like manner, the artist picks up the art work of Newar religious rituals and rearranges them in innovative way. The presence of real objects in his canvas gives the painting three dimensional quality. He dismantles the established norms and blurs the boundary between various art genres.

Asha Dangol's paintings have wider range of subject matters and techniques. Some of his works depict the experience of alienated and disillusioned contemporary youths by reincorporating the images o...

Art Works