Maura Moynihan first visited Kathmandu in 1973 when her father, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, was US Ambassador to India. It was love at first sight, and her love for Kathmandu’s unique artistic and cultural heritage continues. In 1999 Moynihan held her first exhibition at the Siddhartha Gallery, and spent many years in Nepal as a designer, painter and author. Back in New York Moynihan served from 2004-2010 as a consultant to the Rubin Museum of Art, which specialises on the Himalaya.
Picasso said “painting is just another way of keeping a diary”, so Moynihan uses watercolors since they dry quickly as she depicts Nepal’s colours, movements, sky festivals.
“I have great admiration for the people of Nepal. How it is sustained by the artisans, shamans, and pujaris who perform the rituals that are the foundation of daily life, and have sustained a great civilisation for over 2,500 years,” she says. “Lord Buddha was a Sakya prince when most of humanity was mired in barbarism. And so I say, Jai Nepal.”
Moynihan carried paint, brushes, pencil and paper in her travels across Asia over the past three decades to Bhutan, Sikkim, Ladakh, Tibet, China, Japan, across Central Asia and Southeast Asia. “But I always return to Nepal, where seeds of Hindu myths and Buddhist philosophy mingle in Kathmandu’s rich and varied culture, it is a feast, a challenge and a quest for an artist,” she says.
Indeed, while Moynihan has a deep appreciation for India’s culture and history, it is Nepal, and especially Kathmandu, that mesmerised her enough to inspire her art. In the past years, however, she has also admired Thailand, its culture and art heritage. She has admired the Thais and their devotion to its monarchy and had an exhibition in Bangkok titled ‘King of Kings’ after King Bhumibol’s death.
Moynihan has exhibited across Asia, and her works have received wide acclaim.
WHO LOVES KATHMANDU MORE THAN ME?
Paintings by Maura Moynihan
21 April – May 2018