This Mukti Singh Thapa masterpiece at MoNA is titled “NARÌ” (Female) and is an exposé of present-day Nepali society. Provocative and perceptive, it consists of 47 figures of deities and humans in distinctive forms that express various aspects of female characteristics.
The 54cm x 104cm canvas brims with activity, there are so many things happening here. But one is instinctively drawn by the central singular female figure. Red-bodied, eyes wide-opened, five pairs of hands holding attributes ranging from a book to a gun, and everything in between.
Miss World Beauty Pageant sash in particular stands out. No matter how resilient, determined and dedicated a woman may be, is society always judging her only by her physical attributes? Despite the inner strength and vigour of womanhood, a patriarchal world still judges and appraises women through their exterior appearance and youthfulness.
Thapa is known for his aggressive and free-flowing use of nudity in both his traditional and contemporary artwork, even though he is skilfully subtle in this one. His representation of raw phantasmagoria stands out among today’s artists.