“Had I not become a woodcarver, I don’t know what I would be doing today,” says Indra Prasad Shilpakar. “I have never thought about it.”
Indra Prasad, 38, cannot see himself in any profession besides wood carving, despite having a degree in fine arts and a masters in contemporary sculpture from Tribhuvan University.
Not only is wood carving a passion for Shilpakar, his family has been into the craft since the 6th century, and their surname literally translates as ‘woodworker’.
Indra Prasad, like his father Indra Kaji, started playing with wood when he was just 12. By the age of 17 he had already learned the basics of carving from his father.
“I grew up seeing my father’s woodwork and his dedication to keeping our traditional Newa craft alive. It inspired me to follow in the footsteps of my ancestors and continue what the Shilpakars have always been known for,” he adds.
Both Indras have built and restored windows, doors and struts of temples and falcha resting places, and crafted replicas of old masterpieces in Bhaktapur and Patan Darbar Squares. All their work is purely handmade and reflects traditional art, mythology and symbolism.