Mukesh Shrestha’s paintings are dominantly related to the Hindu and Buddhist religious shrines and spirituality. He captures various events from the Buddha’s life like the nativity, renunciation, meditation, enlightenment and preaching. He has also portrayed five transcendental Buddhas in their respective colours- Ratnasambhav in yellow, Akshobhya blue, Vaairochana white, Amitaabha red, and Amoghsiddhi green. Lotus, wheel and vajra are recurrent symbols in his works. The meditating Buddhas are seated on the lotus seat. Lotus is the symbol of prakriti, the female principle and the universe. The union of sadhaka with the prakriti leads to the enlightenment and the nirvana. Thus the lotus seat, meditation and nirvana are the interconnected and coherent concepts.
Likewise, vajra, the popular image in the Buddhist shrines, is also the symbol of the union of prakriti and purasa, the male and female principles respectively. The lotus in the middle is penetrated by the linga (phallus) thereby signifying the self and the cosmic being.
On the other hand, the wheel is the wheel of life, that is, life is changeable. Nothing is permanent. Thus, why to be attached to the transient things? The concept of the wheel encourages the people for renunciation and seeking the truth beyond.
Another formal quality of Mukesh’s paintings is the abstract decorative pattern. He nestles the inner realistic images with the outer splashes of the fluid. The fluidity and the intricate and spontaneous fibers and nets give the sense that the images are within cosmic womb.
In his works, sometimes, the form and structure itself, not the contents, carry meaning and significances. For instance, he juxtaposes dark and light, bright and dull colours, likewise, rough and smooth textures to signify the possibility of concentration and distraction, creation and destruction, and certainty and uncertainty as we experience in the life and the world.
Mukesh’s works are response to the contemporary situation like the people’s discontentment, hatred, violence, fear, suffering, pain and death. He works with the mission to generate peace, compassion, love and enlightenment out of the chaos and disorder.
Despite the fact that Mukesh captures the images of nature and critiques on the socio-political concerns of the time, most of his works revolve around spirituality, myths, tradition and ultimate peace in one way or other.