Raj Kumar succeeded because he had the passion, and he believed in himself. The time and effort it took to craft each of the masterpieces the artist has gifted to the world did not matter to him, because he loved what he did. He was dedicated to promoting and preserving the repoussé art form, and all the skills and techniques that went with it. The most important lesson of his life is that we must not be afraid to set big goals.
Raj Kumar’s art did not exist in a vacuum. He was rooted in the community, and articulated his craft through traditional art of the Kathmandu Valley. He learnt from countries like South Korea and Japan that in any major project, human resource is the most valuable — and the biggest variable.
Therefore, he was always on the lookout for skilled people like himself, or young passionate artisans whom he knew he could train. He inducted them into his team and then painstakingly and generously shared his knowledges and skills with them.
For this, he knew trust was essential. It was this mutual trust that he was able to expand his work into the larger community, and the community reciprocated that trust and respect. Raj Kumar was always at the forefront, engaged in many community events, speaking there about the need to preserve tradition. He spoke clearly and persuasively, putting out his ideas as any good communicator.
Coming out of the woodwork, Kunda Dixit
Raj Kumar Shakya was also a mentor, and this is his most important legacy – ensuring that his knowledge and skills were passed on to the next generation. He was worried that there were too few families left in Kathmandu carrying on the repoussé tradition.