can mean seeing the same image twice, when blurred outlines can reveal an unexpected multiplicity. But it can also mean two ways of looking at the same thing, or looking at it from two different directions at the same time: east, west; inside, outside; past, present; inwards, outwards; up and down. This exhibition attempts to represent all these different ways of seeing.
Two artists from Europe approach Asia through eyes and minds steeped in their own heritage. They are outsiders, yet when in Nepal or India they feel a strange sense of recognition. Somewhere in the nooks of their imagination East and West share the same space and their art explores this borderless country. Two artists from Nepal (one of them born in India) gaze upon the familiar world around them ---at the gods paraded in the streets of Kathmandu and the young girls, the Kumaris, who become living goddesses--- and dive beneath its colourful surface. They wish to portray the multi-layered significance of this great panorama, evoke all that it means to their people, as living myth, re-incarnation, the divine-yet-contemporary embodiments of their deepest beliefs.
Why these four artists? It all started in 2004 when Gea Karhof and I went to Nepal. The country was going through a difficult phase. The Maoists regularly instigated strikes, forbidding even cars and buses on the streets. Travel was difficult and we spent much longer in Kathmandu than planned. However, this gave us the opportunity to explore the contemporary art world in the city. In the Siddhartha Gallery we saw the work of printmaker Seema Shah and met Ragini Upadhyay. Seema and her husband Uma invited us for a meal and showed us their printing press and work. Ragini drove us to her ‘Village’ outside Kathmandu and welcomed us into her house and studio, both testament to her unbounded creativity and artistic energy. All four, linked by a love of printmaking and a shared imaginative, borderless vision, and the idea of a joint exhibition grew out of this. As with that original journey of 2004, the exhibition begins in Edinburgh where I live, then moves to the Netherlands where Gea started her travels and arrives in March 2008 in Kathmandu.