"I express through water colours the soul of a flower," says Neera Joshi Pradhan, who is perhaps Nepal's only botanical artist. Pradhan's solo show Colors of the Sepals and Petals, is divided into a 'botanical' and an 'impressionistic' section. Both showcase her deft depiction of the delicate beauty, complexity, and grace of flowers.
The botanical art is rigorous-the magnolias, rhododendrons, hibiscus, and orchids you see in perfect formation on their stems are exactly what the plants look like.
The free-flowing impressionistic paintings on the other hand so closely focussed on the petals and sepals of flowers that they practically create another world of not-quite-abstract shapes and vibrant colours.
A trained botanist, Pradhan says she has always been intrigued by flowers. "I think flowers can express every kind of emotion and, more than that, they are the perfect embodiments of beauty" she says. Pradhan's impressionistic paintings are sprawling explorations of the feelings evoked by the flowers in all their detailed, delicate, multi-hued beauty. She believes that watercolours are the best medium to capture the different hues of flowers. "There is a transparency in watercolours that brings out the essence of every flower I paint." Pradhan has had four solo exhibitions and eight group exhibitions in India and the US, but this is the first time that she's exhibiting her impressionistic paintings of flowers.
The 40-year-old believes that, sadly, Nepal's rich floral heritage is lost on most people here, and hopes that her art inspires people to look more closely at the beauty around them. "These paintings are personal, and everyone who sees them should interpret them as they see fit," says Pradhan, who is also curator of Park Gallery. "Flowers touch everyone, in many different ways."
Pranaya SJB Rana
"Colours of the sepals and petals' runs until 15 May at the Park Gallery, Pulchok.