The grainy dark strokes are what drew 21-year-old Rohan Chitrakar to charcoal. In the sandy blackness of ash and the smeared smoke of lost trees he can easily lose himself. It is a late monsoon afternoon in Kathmandu with dreary drizzle outside, and Rohan\'s drawings are up on display. Somehow the brooding charcoals dry the air.
Rohan is an avid rock climber, and this seems to explain the muscular strokes of his work: presenting pain, angst and frustration. "Climbing presents me with a very personal challenge, especially because 1 also have an acute fear of heights. But it forces me to confront my emotions and fears. But to a much larger extent, I keep pondering about the greater questions dealing with our social and environmental behaviour as human beings. Has modern development led to a better life for all?" asks Rohan. And that pretty much sums up everything he has to say as an artist.
These eternal questions are what he ponders with his medium. The texture of the rocks are carved out in dynamic and dramatic human gestures, dance forms frozen in time and yet mysteriously fluid. Some are restless, some struggle, others hang on the edge of cliffs, some loll about in drowsy stupour; others writhe in agony.
The paintings symbolise question marks about why, what and where we live and climb. Rohan is a pessimist: "Often, I come with negative conclusions about our progress, our climb. Maybe it\'s just me, maybe I have not had adequate experience...but my consciousness tells me that we are all blundering down the wrong path." The sky, the air and the divine terrestrial souls of the mountains have found their way into Rohan\'s haunting work-nature, struggle and vapid doubt seem to propel him along. "We were intended to be nature\'s creation. We\'re gifted with a special capacity to create and discover. But we have drifted so far from the natural world that there is a sense of loss."
Rohan knows where it hurts when he climbs. He knows how the muscle is stretched to the limit, he knows the tiredness of clinging fingers. "Why do I climb? Or to rephrase the question why do we climb? What are we reaching for? I look at climbing as a metaphor for life and for our entire existence." he says.
Rohan hopes to keep one foot in Nepa! when he goes to the United States soon as a student. His travels have dispelled any concept of any single, pure culture. It is evident Rohan is searching for meaning. We hope he finds it.
Rohan\'s drawings were exhibited at the Siddhartha Art Gallery last week.