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Manish Lal Shrestha

Reimagine: Himalayan Art Now

March 15–October 6, 2024

Photo courtesy of the artist




Manish Lal Shrestha (he/him)

b. 1977, Patan, Nepal; lives and works in Patan, Nepal

Manish Lal Shrestha is a dynamic multidisciplinary artist who has carved out a distinctive place in the contemporary art scene in Nepal and pioneered the exploration of postmodernism in Nepalese art. Most of the artist’s work centers on spirituality. As a practitioner of modern Vastu Shastra, an ancient Hindu architectural science used to infuse positive energy, he engages these principles in his approach to art.

His work is laden with powerful metaphors from Himalayan cultures, including images of bells, representing sound, and shells in his visual art. Singing bowls are used in his performance art to convey positive vibrations against negativity. He employs both Hindu and Buddhist traditional imagery and ritual objects to connect past myths and living traditions in a present context.

Manish Lal Shrestha is based in Kathmandu, Nepal, and graduated from Sir J J School of Fine Art, Mumbai in 2001. With 19 solo exhibitions and numerous international workshops and residencies in countries like Holland, Switzerland, France, and the US, his work has garnered significant acclaim. The artist has participated in prestigious events, such as the Kathmandu Triennale in 2017 and the Busan Biennale Sea Art Festival in 2019. He also received the National Fine Arts Award (2011) from Nepal Academy of Fine Arts.

manishlalshrestha.com / @manishlalshrestha



Manish Lal Shrestha; Dipamkara Buddha Is Pop Art; 2021/2023; acrylic on canvas; courtesy of the artist

The term “Dipamkara” is rooted in Sanskrit, where Dip signifies the flame and Ankur the sapling, embodying the idea of nurturing consciousness within oneself. Dipamkara Buddha, an early bodhisattva, symbolizes enlightenment preceding Shakyamuni Buddha. The traditional celebration of the Dipamkara Festival in Nagbahal, Nepal, inspired Manish Lal Shrestha to explore this buddha’s teachings amid contemporary challenges.

Through a two-year meditative and spiritual painting process, the artist created this image of Dipamkara with dots, mimicking the essence of today’s digital age. Made during the global challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, the artwork’s unbroken lines mirror the continuation of these struggles and the artist’s personal journey over the course of this time. The painting reflects a quest to connect with the buddha within, offering healing affirmations to the world. The depiction of a conch shell symbolizes the conquering of inner self and the profound reverberations of life, offering a reimagined spiritual essence in the era of artificial intelligence.



Dipamkara Buddha; Nepal; dated by inscription 1853; pigments on cloth; Rubin Museum of Art; gift of the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation; F1997.17.23 (HAR 100023)

This object from the Rubin Museum’s collection is presented in the Reimagine exhibition in dialogue with Dipamkara Buddha Is Pop Art, inviting new ways of encountering traditional Himalayan art.

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