Their paintings did not just depict the desolation, but also heart-warming stories of people helping each other and their inner strength in overcoming the crisis. Sometimes, the artists were mistaken for relief workers, and survivors came with their citizenship cards to ask for help. Others would say: “My house is much more damaged, you have to come and paint it too.”
Up in the mountains they would come across shepherds living in wooden huts who were completely unaffected, and even blissfully unaware of the earthquake. Survivors amidst the ruins of their homes, who were themselves short of food, would offer to share meals.
“A woman in Sindhupalchok offered us a jumbo bottle of Coke after we said we had to finish the painting and had no time for food,” recalls another Paasapi member Akash Budha Magar.
For the artists, the work is not just about portraying structures but also capturing human emotions. “We found that people engage more with painters than with journalists,” says Shrestha. “A photographer takes a snapshot and is off, but we are at one place for days. People want to strike up conversations, and we communicate their feelings through our paintings.”