Thursday, 1 March 2012

exhibition paintings


Sketches and paintings depicting the people and lifestyle of the `Bote` communities living in Darpuk, Palpa district of Nepal.

These paintings will be displayed on the 24th and 25th May 2012 at Blossom Gallery, Ahmedabad, India.

Any inquiries or donations or purchase of artwork please send message at bottom of this post along with your E-Mail ID and I will contact you. Thank you for your support.

fish trap 600by400

Kerala 600by400

old but wise 600by400

shadows of the past 600by400

Nameste 600by300

grandma Bote01 400by600

Grandma Bote 400by600

Friendship 600by400

Memories 400by600

Tribal Dance 600by400

Crucifixtion 300by500

Paani 300by400

hunger 400by600

Joyani dream 800by600

Montage of drawings from 6 year old Joyani Sharma who wanted to help with the exhibition so produced her own work of art. She would love to have someone make an offer on her painting and know that she has helped these people of Palpa

power 600 by 400
innocenceII charcoal 600 by 400

Panni 600 by 400

playtime 600 by 400
Ink drawings made on site using sharpened bamboo sticks and sugar cane strips.

the village A4

home from school A4

Rita Bote, making Sadri A4
Mending fishing net
Panni pouri A4
Traditional house A4

site of new school A4
a splash of colour A4
removing corn husk A4
A place to think A4

Panni pouriII A4
Basket making A4

Darpuk A4



Who knows at the start where these journeys may lead us to, it is an unwritten story waiting to happen, a story which is unfolding each day, every kilometer as we follow maps, follow directions, meeting people along the way, new information, new ideas, new goals and objectives.

Now after 17,000km ideas of cycling around the world seems less important, I have challenged myself to a point where I am satisfied and overcome many obstacles to get to where I am, being rewarded for my efforts with such natural wonders and exhilarating rides through a variety of geographical locations, meeting many different interesting people and cultures along the way.

I discovered new abilities and limitations, and were surprised actually how much you are able to achieve, physically and mentally, there really is nothing in this world that is impossible if you are determined and brave enough to follow your dreams.

Now I have a new challenge to put on an art exhibition, based upon the journey, a visual description from the start to the present moment.

Whilst visiting Anna, an Indian friend of mine that I met many years ago now, who is living in Ahmedabad, I met an old man of 78 who introduced himself as an artist, very quickly we started talking and I explained I am also very interested in art and have been trying to record my journey as much as possible by keeping a sketch book, and gave it to him to look at, as with many other people I have shown along the way, they all seem to be very interested to see the variety of places which I have tried to capture, I was not that aware people would be so interested, he urged and inspired me to put on an exhibition, there in Ahmedabad as he was a member of a large society of artists who would all be very interested to be involved and to help, so why not I thought.
Anna started telling me about her sister who was working for a non profit organization ` Hamro Chahana Nepal` that is helping to support underprivileged remote villages in Nepal, they have been doing some great work and made many improvements in these areas, such as building schools, distributing clothes, health awareness , but desperately always need funding so that they can help more.  That is where I suggested maybe if we make this exhibition public enough, get as much media attention as possible maybe we could promote this charity, make it a charity exhibition. Personally that filled me up with more inspiration and felt it was a way in which I could give something back, particularly to people like these in the remote villages that I have met along my journey, who have invited me into their villages and homes, fed me and want nothing more than contact, to share cultural differences and ideas, curiosity and a beautiful exchange of smiles.

Remote villages Nepal

With the grace of a cabbage I took to the center stage..

Darpuk, Palpa

 After arriving in Nepal I met up with some of the members of Hamro Chahana Nepal, who were very helpful and very quickly organised for me to visit some of their working areas, with the idea that I could stay there for a few weeks to actually experience for myself the lifestye of the Bote community and the conditions in which they live. A perfect opportunity for me to to record and collect material to be used for the art/bicycle journey exhibition to be held later on this year in Ahmedabad.

The first village I visited is situated about 150km west of Katmandu, in an area called Palpa. There are small communities of people living in these areas known as `Bote` people, who are a simple community that rely on fishing for their basic needs.

It was a long journey to reach this area, so I took a night bus which is no different to the day bus, just as bumby, noisy, uncomfortable except you have the advantage of not seeing where you are going, which is a blessing sometimes.

I arrived in a small town called Tansen, where I was met by one of their NGO operatives, whose name was Ganesh, immediately we got on very well together, he spoke good enough English and explained to me a few things about village life what to expect, concerned that I might find it difficult, I had no fear in what I was going to find.

We jumped on the roof of a jeep along with sacks of rice, potatoes and supplies that were dropped off to various inaccessible places along the way. It took about two and a half hours along rough dirt/mud road to finally reach a steep winding descent down to the village of Darpuk below, where we will be staying.

Immediately upon arrival we were greeted by a large crowd of villagers, presented with garland of their sacred `Tulsi` flowers and given a plate with a few offerings, coconut, sweets, we were literally treated like Gods.

I was not prepared for such a reception, and felt extremely humble, emotional, as I am generally a shy, reclusive type who likes time by myself, so this was another moment amongst many that my journey has forced me to overcome my shyness and be the at the center of attention.

We were prepared a meal courtesy of one of their local chickens and then it was time to `dance` I could hear that the drumming had already started, and for a moment the comedy partition in my mind activated and I started to think, maybe that was that just a meal to fatten me up a little before the main European course? .... I was the main course, but only as a respected guest, the whole village had turned out to welcome us in a tradition song and dance evening, where it was obligatory to get up and dance or risk offending them, again I am no dancer by nature, but I took a deep breath and decided to break the ice, it was time to take center stage and present them with my with the grace of a cabbage and the energy of a small atomic explosion, I launched myself into some sort of tribal, death, battle, attack, thrashing around with arms and legs, you know just to break the ice......I looked around and saw hundreds of wide eyes staring, speechless, no cheering, just shock I think. OK no applause so I slipped away into the crowd and watched the others, then I got the idea to be a little more rhythmic and peaceful, my next attempt was exactly that, now that my appearance and last attempt had indeed broken the ice there were no more need to be quite so dramatic and I actually enjoyed moving around to the sound of the drum, clapping of hands and now real cheering....I got it, a great evening had by all.

Ganesh took the opportunity to speak with everyone to introduce me and to explain my intentions being there  in the village, he would be leaving in a few days so I would be left to my own devices, so it was good opportunity to be introduced to them all at once.

First night, a meal prepared from local chicken

Ganesh NGO, soon to be good friends

Thats what you have to do if you want milk in your tea, just make sure you get the right type of animal, preferable female.

I can understand why they worship them...they are so peaceful and harmless....

A typical kitchen

Typical `Boti` style house......Boti being the name given to this community of people.

A new school being built, a recent project through HCN

looking towards the village and the steep descent in the background where our jeep zig zagged down.

Learning to weave straw mats, called `Gundri`

With the help of HCN this man was able to see again after struggling with Cataracts all his life, a problem of lack of education these people do not know what is curable or not.

This is your bath direct from the HYmalayas.....hence I prefered to bath just once the entire stay.

repairing fishing nets

A typical trapping method used by the Boti people, they rely upon fishing and have developed various methods of catching fish, nut now because of a new dam built it has disrupted their only way that they know to provide for themselves.

A wooden plough

Keeping the Hymalayan chill at bay, mornings and evenings were a bit fresh to say the least.

Boti people, preparing a animal for slaughter.

I let your immagination deal with the rest....that is the reality of life here, this is actually where your plastic wrapped meat comes from.

Making fish traps, their idea is to create a channel of slow moving water where the fish will prefer to swim upstream, they find the easiest route through these man made channels and get caught in a trap at the end.

Local `Gundrik` a fermented and dried cabbage, actually very tasty. Very traditional food used in soups.

Gundri making

Even in rural life there are conflicts

Basket making

The first time I saw rain since riding through Hungary.....boy did it rain, all day

It makes a real mess everything is mud, the houses are mud and literally crumble and have to be patched up again.

Working milk into curd
Drawings, sketches taken whilst staying in these villages.