Interview



Bhuwan Thapa
Bahuvi
              
Published in:- communitynepal.com
2006 AD
Bhuwan Thapa.- A multitalented Nepali Sculptor.
               Bhuwan Thapa ‘Bahuvi’ is a multitalented figure of our country. A highly skilled sculptor, he is:
The secretary of ARAMBHA, Contemporary Nepali Sculptors' Group.
Faculty:  Kathmandu University, Center for Arts and Design
Not only is he involved in sculpture designing, but has embraced literature and social service too. An appreciably down-to-earth person, this multitalented sculptor is an example to all. We even got to view his collection of sculptures at NAFA that was indeed praiseworthy.
We identify you as a multitalented personality? Sculptor, teacher and writer. Is there anything more that is not known to us?
        No, I am not a multitalented person like you say- just an ordinary plain man. Sculpture designing is my interest and literature also my hobby. I was really interested in playing with natural things and turning them into different structures, which eventually moulded me into an artist.
I am interested in social service and so; I’m involved in an NGO (Graamin Bikaas Tatha Chetana Samuha Nepal). I’m from the village of Gulmi and a part of Gulmi inhabited by Magars is very backward due to illiteracy. So, to literate the whole village, we formed a committee and started the NGO and fortunately 90% of our mission was successful. I like involving in such social service with all my heart and I so, I like calling myself a social server. I am also involved in Arambha (an association formed by a group of artists) as a secretary.
Were you interested in sculpture designing since childhood or did you have any dream of taking some other profession?
               I liked the art of designing since childhood. I remember playing with roots of trees and turning it into different shapes like snakes and others, when I was an eighth grader. The habit grew from then. Talking about childhood dream, I didn’t have any I guess. But yea, if anyone asked me what I’d want to be in the future, my answer was always “Engineer”! But then, I never knew what an engineer was!
Internet phto 2
Other than sculpture designing, what are your interests?
               I have great interest in writing poems. I have published a few books that weren’t really successful but I’m satisfied with those collections. Recently, we had a programme organized by Arambha with some Japanese people. We would work together - talking about ‘Haikyu’, writing, editing, typing, photocopying, modifying etc and finally the book (‘Haikyu’) was prepared that was distributed to all.
Why does your name include the title ‘Bahuvi’?
               Keeping nicknames was a trend in those days. But I had a different reason too- there was another person also named ‘Bhuwan Thapa’ who was also into literature, in my college days. So, to have a separate identity, I wanted to have a nickname for myself. Then one day, I had a dream that suggested ‘Bahav’ could be a right choice; that led to ‘Bahuvi’ as my nickname. It is meaningless but after everyone started questioning me about the origin of this name, I started telling people it was the short form of “Basanti Vaisha ma Bairagee hoo ; Huri Hool ma Haraami hoon; Vish Bann ma Biraami hoon.”!
You are involved in many fields! How do you manage time for all these things?
               Oh yes, it’s quite difficult for me! In fact, I sometimes feel that due to my involvement in all these things, I haven’t been able to give proper time to any of them and everywhere the work was left incomplete one way or the other! I guess that’s how it goes and I somehow manage it. Well, I don’t have to worry about the NGO as my friends handle it pretty well- I am just a member there. But whatever said and done it is difficult!
What is your first priority out of all these?
               It’s really difficult to choose but I would say- it’s Sculpture Designing, because I am more attached to it and spend most of my time in it. I believe that the title of ‘Artist’ is truly honourable.
 It is said that artists are too busy in their profession to give enough time to their family and friends. What is your case?
               Well, that is a general truth indeed. Talking about me, it’s been 3 years since I visited my village that has half of my family. And that’s really sad and unfortunate. There are just so many things going on!!
Who do you consider your source of inspiration?
          I would say ‘my brothers’-they were the ones who took my hand and took care of me after my parents passed away, when I was just a kid. In fact, every word spoken by them is like a ‘Niti Shastra’ to me. They weren’t artists themselves but their sentiments were quite artistic; and I tried giving their emotions a living touch through my poems and sculptures. Also, realizing that I was really doing well in designing sculptures, my teacher advised me to study fine arts in Kathmandu after I had finished my SLC. I did search for Lalitkala Campus a lot in Bhotahity but I couldn’t find it at the first shot. So, I returned to my village and after teaching at a high school for two years, I again returned here. So, that led me to the beginning of this journey…….So, my teacher was also the one who had inspired me to continue what I was good at.
It is said that creations of art are created when the soul is triggered by inner feelings. Are you also triggered by your emotions to create your art?
               Well initially, art may be created through feelings. But in the process, you have to learn the techniques of art to do well. I believe that only after the careful study of the ways and techniques of art and going according to them, you can come up with better work- quality art. But
              I would say ‘my brothers’-they were the ones who took my hand and took care of me after my parents passed away, when I was just a kid. In fact, every word spoken by them is like a ‘Niti Shastra’ to me. They weren’t artists themselves but their sentiments were quite artistic; and I tried giving their emotions a living touch through my poems and sculptures. Also, realizing that I was really doing well in designing sculptures, my teacher advised me to study fine arts in Kathmandu after I had finished my SLC. I did search for Lalitkala Campus a lot in Bhotahity but I couldn’t find it at the first shot. So, I returned to my village and after teaching at a high school for two years, I again returned here. So, that led me to the beginning of this journey…….So, my teacher was also the one who had inspired me to continue what I was good at.
It is said that creations of art are created when the soul is triggered by inner feelings. Are you also triggered by your emotions to create your art?
               Well initially, art may be created through feelings. But in the process, you have to learn the techniques of art to do well. I believe that only after the careful study of the ways and techniques of art and going according to them, you can come up with better work- quality art. But
so, it’s difficult to sort out the best from your own collection of work.
But I can remember some special moments of my creations…..
Within 3 days of the sad demise of our Guru, I had made his statue out of stone that was placed in the school premises. Looking at the statue,
               everyone present there cried except me- that incident shall always remain memorable to me.
I remember another such incident in Kathmandu – I was asked to make a sculpture of the mother of my acquaintance from British family. He and his brothers had come to my place to have a look at the sculpture and as soon as I unveiled the sculpture, there was a moment’s silence followed by loud sobs from all of the brothers! I was glad that my work was realistic enough to make them feel their mother’s presence. Indeed a big incident for me.
Another of my special asset is the collection of naturally structured stones that represent the evolution of Buddha. The stones through their respective structures, represent the life cycle of Lord Buddha from his birth to enlightenment to his death. Everyone has appreciated it and I have exhibited it too.
What is the best thing that you would like to portray in your sculptures?
         Nothing in particular. I make whatever I want to, at a certain mood. I especially like giving expressions to my art the way my hand wants me to.
Have you done any exhibition of your artistic creations?
               Well, I had initiated it in 2045 at my village. During Dashain Mela, I had exhibited my creations in the middle of the fair. I didn’t really know then what an exhibition was, but I claim that exhibition to be my first solo exhibition. Thereafter, I have had no solo exhibitions but I have submitted my creations in group-exhibitions like those organized by NAFA annually (Rashtriya Kala Pradarshani).
Why do you have such a long beard and hair- is it a way to reflect your personality of an artist?
               Well, once, on the last of Chaitra i.e. New Year’s eve, I decided to shave all of my hair and after having done that, I resolved to never ever cut my hair again! It’s an act of sacrifice for me and it brings confidence in me; I am confident that I have strong will- power to stick to my resolution or anything that I have decided. But there are many things that I have failed to complete. In 2047, 2 friends from NAFA(painters) and I(as a poet) had got together for a mission – ‘Samarpan Nepal’; with the subject of ‘Dhunga, Mato ra Pani’ a poem about each of the 75 districts was to be written , and those poems of all districts were to be added by and by to form a long roll of paper and that would be placed as a symbol (as ‘Samarpan Nepal’) in Singha Durbaar . But unfortunately, the mission couldn’t be given continuity and hence, it remained incomplete but I’m optimistic about its accomplishment. Moreover, the poems are considered prestigious, and I’m really happy and contented with that work.
At this stage, do you still take art as your interest or do you plan to commercialize it? Haven’t you thought of doing business out of your art?
               No, I haven’t yet thought of selling my creations, I shall think about it later. Art is a matter of great interest to me; but I believe that it has to be taken in an occupational way too, only preserving them isn’t really a good idea. But the art that has been created for commercial purpose isn’t a genuine art for me nor can the ones that are copied, enlarged from the original ones can be called art. A real art is that which is created by feelings, imagination, love for beauty and which reflects sheer originality.
What do you have to say to the new generation who want to take this field for their career?
               Any work done with a true heart, devotion, labour, patience and sincerity will definitely be rewarding. This field isn’t about competition; it’s an easy and beautiful way to get fame or represent yourself and your country in the world. The world of art is all beautiful- experience it in a positive way.
By Priyata Thapa
Photo: Sunita Singh

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