Upstairs,in the Lajimpat Park Gallery, Neera, Neeti and Juni point reverently at a portrait of their father, Ramananda Joshi, who set up the Gallery 34 years ago.
Ramananda was a painter himself and wanted to create a home for the arts at a time when there were few places to exhibit in Kathmandu.
The three sisters grew up in an artistically-stimulating environment. They watched their father paint but didn't really want to become artists themselves. Park Gallery first opened in Pulchok and the girls got involved in organising things and helping out dad. Park hosted many exhibitions and gained fame quickly. When Ramananda died suddenly in 1988, the responsibility of running fell on the delicate shoulders of Neera, Neeti and Juni.
"Dad had plans to expand the gallery and we are fulfilling his dream," says Neera, the eldest. With the support from their mother, the three sisters have been running the gallery in Lajimpat now for a year and a half. There have been people who have offered to buy the gallery but they are determined not to sell. "We want to try and promote young talented artists and give them exposure," says Neeti.
Park Gallery also offers custom framing for exhibiting artists and gives art classes to students during vacations. For the Joshi family, Park is more than just a business. "It is tough to survive just on art. There are times when we feel discouraged but we remember dad's legacy and that inspires us to carry on," explains Neera, who is a botanist and has published her own collection, Flora From Kathmandu Valley.
The sisters have divided up the work: Neera takes care of the creative end. Neeti is the manager, while young Juni does the interiors. Juni has learnt fast, and says people in Kathmandu have realised aesthetics is not just costly interiors: "A painting doesn't just brighten up a room, it adds beauty and expression to people's lives." (Sampada Malla)