Ishan Pariyar did not intend for his exhibition at Siddhartha Art Gallery to coincide with the raging protests down the street against the Guthi Bill, but it so happened that it did. Pariyar’s series, started in 2015, seems prescient today: a crane moves in to dismantle heritage buildings, whose lion-like guardians rise up to form a protective guard of honour around the structures.
Titled Reminiscences, the paintings are a voice raised for the protection of our culture and heritage, although the artist says he is not an activist.
Most of his work depicts boats at sea. “Water is a symbol of time, and the boats are a symbol of life,” says the artist. “I have used boats because they take you from one place to another. Here, the boats take us on the journey of life through time.”
Many of the boats contain statues of deities: a golden Avalokiteswar and a large, red-hued Bhairav, among others. Pariyar says the deities symbolise our faith and the traditions they embody. As the boats ply vast bodies of water, sometimes gently floating and sometimes rocked by the waves, some deities floating as the boats capsize, the viewer gets the sense that the gods are delicate, fragile figures. They need protection, like our heritage.
Read also: Mithila art with a message, Prakriti Kandel