7 Art Galleries In Kathmandu That Are A Must-Visit
The aesthetic beauty of the snow-capped Himalayas has not only encouraged tourism in Nepal but has also inspired artists all over the world. The intricate interweaving of threads of Hinduism and Buddhism has also lent ideas to the artists here. The mirror-like lakes with still deep blue waters have imparted numerous ideas to the lovers of nature to paint masterpieces on the canvas. However, a recent shift has been noticed towards contemporary ideas of socio-political issues. Nevertheless, the art pieces here in Nepal remain a feast for the eyes.
Kathmandu is home to some of the best art galleries in Nepal which host exhibitions of the works of renowned artists all over the globe. A visit to these is a must if you are an art lover.
1. Siddhartha Art Gallery
This art gallery was established by Sangeeta Thapa and Shashikala Tiwari, on 27th September 1987 as a convergence point for artists from Nepal and abroad. The Siddhartha Art Gallery has played an instrumental role in bringing overseas artistic ideas to Nepal, and in particular, Kathmandu. It has also acted as the promoter of contemporary Nepalese art in Kathmandu. With the belief that culture is an inalienable part of the development at its core, this gallery has always strived to bring together artists, poets and musicians. 'Investing in creativity' is the gallery's motto. It has even made generous donations for the Red Cross Earthquake Relief Fund, renovation of the Krishna Mandir in Patan and for the construction of the Maternity Ward for Underprivileged Mothers in Prasuti Griha Hospital.
Location: This gallery is located in the magnificent Baber Mahal Revisited complex. It also conducts its programmes in the National Association of Fine Arts, the Arts Council, Patan Museum, Kathmandu University Department of Fine Art and Design, Bhaktapur and has also conducted several art projects in various hotels:Hotel de l' Annapurna, Everest Hotel, Soaltee Oberoi, Hyatt Regency, Bhanchha Ghar, Imago dei' Gallery and Café Mitra.
Artists and Exhibitions: The Siddhartha Art Gallery has the credit of holding about 315 exhibitions over the past 35 years. These include the retrospective exhibitions by the late Amar Chitrakar, Karna Narsingh Rana, Shashikala Tiwari, Ragini Upadhyay-Grela, Uttam Nepali, Shashi Shah and the late Tej Bahadur Chitrakar. It launched 'Celebrating Line', the first ever exhibition of drawings in the capital, an influential anti-conflict exhibition by the eminent artist from Pokhara, Durga Baral and an exhibition by the celebrated Bombay based artist Laxman Shrestha. The Gallery has also organised exhibitions of Nepali artists in London, India and Pakistan. At present, the Gallery is collaborating with GTZ, and is working on its third community art project "Whose City is this?"
Timings: The gallery is open to art lovers from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM (Sunday to Friday). On Saturdays, it is open from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM.
2. Artudio Centre for Visual Art
This gallery provides a contemporary art platform for art enthusiasts. The celebrated contemporary artist Kailash Shrestha started it. The community of artists here considers art to be 'dharma' and believe in coexistence. People here are artists, art educators, designers, visual communicators, initiators, curators and makers. Founded in 2010, the gallery provides a space for art lovers from various genres to explore art and creativity, thereby fostering social transformation. Artudio houses a studio, an art platform, an art centre, a studio apartment and a gallery. It has even played a leading role in imparting visual art education by holding various workshops on drawing, photography, printmaking, painting and other forms of multimedia. The most famous are ArtSaturday and Little Picasso.
Location: This leading art gallery of Kathmandu is located in Swoyambhu.
Artists and exhibitions: Artudio Centre for Visual Art has been a pioneer in organising various exhibitions. It curated an exhibition by nine artists in the first ever Kathmandu Art Fair 2018 from 3rd March to 12th March 2018. Artists who featured their works included Kailash K Shrestha, Krisha Tarakar, Karma Tsering Gurung, Pawan Joshi, Srijaya Shrestha, Agrani Thakuri Jhan, Rupesh Man Singh and Deepa Shrestha. Other exhibitions include The Little Album, You are the Observer by Lena Koestler (a solo exhibition) and Spectrum, a fundraising photo exhibition.
Timings:The gallery is open on all days of the week from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM.
3. Sarwanam Art Gallery
The Sarwanam group has served as a melting pot for different art forms in Nepal, basically performing arts and theatre. The esteemed playwright Ashesh Malla started the renowned theatre space in 1982. The Sarwanam Art Gallery is considered to be an offspring of the Sarwanam theatre group. Also known as '
kaladeergha', this spacious art gallery sprawls over an area of the 30-metre square and features art pieces of talented artists from all genres. Here, you will also be allowed to see the artists at work and ask them questions about the art pieces.
Location: The Sarwanam Art Gallery is located in Kalikasthan Bashghyang, Kalika Marg.
Artists and exhibitions: The gallery has shown the works of emerging Nepalese artists Bidhata KC and Saran Tandukar. It even collaborated with the Sarwanam theatre on a unique project amalgamating both art and drama where the esteemed abstract artist Mukesh Mulla painted a live picture of the ongoing Mrityutsav play. The Story of Mithila Art was a solo exhibition organised by the gallery displaying 22 paintings of Poonam Kumari Das. Another solo exhibition 'Tuli' by Shailesh Gurung was held in 2015. The gallery even organised 'Kalyana' in 2016.
Timings: The gallery is open from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM on all days of the week.
4. Nepal Academy of Fine Arts
Nepal Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) is the umbrella organisation of artists, art researchers and art critics in Nepal. It was formed on 13th April 2010 to establish an autonomous body of art and Nepali artists. It has served as a pedestal for artists all over Nepal for voicing their opinions on various social issues. Multiple genres of art are promoted here - these consist of paintings, sculptures, handicraft, folk art, architecture, traditional art, contemporary art, alternative art, video art, performance and installation art. In order to encourage qualitative research in the history of Nepali art, the academy even grants fellowships and scholarships. Its museum is a storehouse of all artworks from past to present and is an invaluable source of information on traditional and contemporary Nepali art in paintings, sculptures, and handicraft.
Location: This nodal art gallery is situated in Sita Bhawan, Naxal.
Artists and exhibitions: The art gallery of NAFA display the brilliant works of both national and international artists. It has hosted four National Fine Art Exhibitions since its inception. Past exhibitions include the Mithila Folklore Exhibition, National Solidarity Exhibition, Dharan Art Workshop and the Cartoon Workshop.
Timings: The gallery is open from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM on all days. It remains closed on Saturdays.
5. Himalayan Art Gallery
This art gallery is a small beautiful world full of Himalayan art and artefacts. About three decades old, this gallery is located in the heart of Kathmandu. It primarily houses amazing antiques from Tibet. People who are into collecting quaint artworks from different places will find this gallery to be a heaven. The rare artefacts from Tibet and Himalayas have been preserved here with a lot of care. Moreover, special assistance is even provided to the customers in making the right choice. The owner guarantees the quality and authenticity of these ancient pieces.
Location: The Himalayan Art Gallery is located in Ashok Galli, Thamel.
Artists and exhibitions: The gallery is owned and taken care of by Bijay Lama Moktan, whose passion for collecting classic artwork of Tibet culminated in a profit-making business of selling these collected items. The Himalayan Art Gallery proudly boasts of a beautiful collection of Tibetan artefacts and has one of the largest and the best assortment of Tibetan antique furniture. The Thangka paintings, (Tibetan Buddhist paintings made on silk or cotton) are quite lovely here and even a good buy.
Timings: The gallery is open from 6:30 AM to 10:15 PM on all days except Saturday. It remains closed on Saturdays.
6. Universal Art Gallery
This magnificent art gallery has a vast collection of landscape paintings, portraits, heritage and street paintings, watercolour paintings, abstract paintings and Nepali handicraft. It was founded in 1989 and has since then worked tirelessly towards satisfying the expectations of art lovers and art enthusiasts. The gallery even holds the distinction of being one of the oldest Thangka Gallery of Thamel in Kathmandu. All the paintings here are handmade, strictly observing the traditional guidelines of Thangka paintings. The owner, Bikash Shahi, is also a renowned businessman of Thamel and endeavours to provide the best services to his customers.
Location: The gallery is situated in Narsingh Chowk Marg in Thamel.
Artists and Exhibitions: The gallery has an extensive collection of paintings of different genres and styles. The curated sketches here include the works of such notable artists as A.Jabbar, Basudev Thapa, Purna Wanem, Sanjeeb Maharjan, Tek Rai, Dil Kumar Gorkhali, Anup B.K. and Uddhav Raj Riman. The artistic acumen of these people are quite commendable. Moreover, the paintings here are available at reasonable prices.
Timings: The gallery is open on all days of the week from 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM.
7. 21st Century Art Gallery
This attraction point was established in the year 2000 due to the sincere and coordinated efforts of Manoj Kumar Shrestha and Pramod Kumar Shrestha. Another blessed artist Gunjan Shrestha joined them in 2003. This gallery has a range of exquisite paintings created by the founders. The gallery has never failed to see an expression of wonder on its visitors' faces.
Location: This gallery is located in Satghumti, Thamel.
Artists and Exhibitions: The fantastic pieces here are created and curated by the three founders. There is a wide range of paintings including abstracts, cities, mountains and semi-abstracts. The gallery is a must in case you are in Thamel. You will be left in complete awe of the beautiful pieces here.
Timings: The 21st Century Art Gallery is open from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM on all days of the week.
Breathtaking views in Nepal have found their way on the artists' canvases in the art galleries. However, that does not mean that paintings here only depict nature, abstract and contemporary art forms are equally common. Do drop in at the art galleries here to stare in disbelief at most art pieces.