Saurganga Darshandhari is a visual artist and printmaker based in Kathmandu. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from Tribhuvan University and a Master’s degree in printmaking from the University of Development Alternative 2009, Dhaka, Bangladesh. She has shown two solo shows ‘ Printmaking Feelings’ 2010 at Kathmandu Contemporary Art Center and ‘Stories’ 2019 at Siddartha Art Gallery. She has frequently shown her artworks since 2001 in Nepal, Bangladesh, India, China, South Korea, Poland, Argentina, United State Of America (World Bank, Washington DC ), Germany, Australia, Finland and Sri Lanka and has participated in artist residencies in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Korea, India and homeland. She has also taken part in the Kathmandu International art Festival 2009, 2012. She has participated twice in the 13th and 15th Asian Art Biennale in Bangladesh and 1st Printmaking Biennale, India. She participated in the 19th and 22nd Nippon International Performance Art Festival at (Tokyo, Nagano, Osaka) in Japan 2013 and 2017, also participated in the Imago Mundi art project. She has participated in Kathmandu Triennial 2017. Her work was exhibited in the Tokyo International Mini PrintTriennial 2018 Japan and she also participated in the International Print ExchangeProgram(IPEP) India and in the Now|There exhibition at the Latitude 28 Gallery, India.
She has won several awards and was felicitated with first prize from red cross society 2001, received a second prize in inter-college art competition 2003 and in the same year she received Sita Shree Award from Pant Society, best media award from University of Development Alternative, Dhaka, Bangladesh 2008. Some of the noteworthy felicitations and awards that she received are Basanta Women’s exhibition National Academy of Fine Art 2012, National Regional Award Nepal Academy of Fine Art 2014. She was awarded from Australian Himalayan Art Foundation Award 2014, youth award 2016, awarded with Desh Dhakta Ganatantric, Shakti Award 2017 and received National regional award from Minister of culture, tourism and civil aviation Nepal government 2018.
She is the Founder of Bindu Space for Artists and a general member of Sirjana College of Fine Arts, vice- president of Printmaking Nepal, through which she has conceptualized and coordinated various art events. Amongst various events that she coordinated such as printmaking workshops, performance workshops etc; the latest and significant are the art projects in the earthquake hit areas in Nepal. Through her art organization, she initiated art camps for children and other art projects helping the earthquake victims to recover from the trauma caused by the earthquake that hit Nepal in 2015. Furthermore, her organization Bindu co-organized artists’ residency and exhibition with Siddhartha Art Gallery in support of the artists who lost their homes in the earthquake.
She teaches printmaking at Tribhuvan University Lalitkala and Sirjana College of fine arts.
Saurganga Darshandhari is an artist who has multiple identities: printmaker, painter, performance artist, teacher and the Founder of Bindu space for artists which she runs with her husband, the artist Prithvi Shrestha. I have worked closely with Saur on several projects and workshops and have embraced all her avatars. In particular, I have been moved by her compassion and commitment to the community during the Great Earthquake in 2017. I take pride in sharing that she is the recipient of several prestigious awards including the Shakti Art by Women Award (founded by my childhood friend Mohini Malhotra ) which helped Saurganga realize her work Mero Aama ko Thaile* for the Kathmandu Triennale in 2017. The series which consisted of Ten etchings and an installation was based on memory and nostalgia – the artist’s mother, family and remembrance of a time past is the locus of her inspiration. Saur’s portrayal of her mother’s purse – the lure, struggle and power there in – the clinking of the coins synonymous with the simple needs and joys of childhood ; the ice-cream man, candy and flying kites! Saur’s work thus has multiple narratives which evoke the innocence and joy of childhood while also addressing the fact that coins have become replaced by paper currency. Understanding that sound of the clinking coins will one day fade from public memory, the artist recreated this cherished memory by installing a gigantic thaili with a sound loop of clinking coins.
In the series Stories , Saur has created additional work’s that seamlessly incorporates both the Thaili series and her present work. The image of the reclining and self absorbed woman with revering hair makes a comeback from her earlier series A Printmaker’s Feelings – the hair in which stories and memories are entangled and connect one mother Goddess to another. Memories, nostalgia and family continue to inspire the artist – while motherly love continues to be central to her work, objects and the associations they conjure is intricately rendered in her etchings. The artist reflects on how technology is transforming society – thus the portrayal of a woman covered with all the confusing binaries of technology – connectivity, dependence and alienation.
The link to nature and an agrarian past is made with the imagery of paddy stalks , plants and leave that surround the image of a voluptuous earth mother and an eternal couple. It is interesting to note the interchange of ideas, imagery and symbolism between Saur and Prithvi – both artists succeed in introducing the viewer to the ecology of the their imagination – lotus, fishes, frogs, birds and dogs are symbolically amalgamated into the body of the artist’s work to signify the intrinsic bond that we have with nature, while clouds are associated with a bountiful harvest and dreams. The artist uses the image of the lotus to symbolizing the divine that lives within each of us and in the characters that she presents. While the peacock symbolizes beauty and enlightenment, the crow is the harbinger of bad tidings and death. A peacock and a mother come face to face in a symbolically charged moment, in another, Saur’s bulls awkwardly signify the eternal socio political tussle in society. In one work, the artist presents us playful vista of threesome on an imaginary riverine journey on duck back where a blood red moon is suspended in the sky. In another work a woman sits aloft a giant yomari her flowing hair providing space for both aquatic life and a woman who wields a cloud in her hand. Another print depicts a group of men, women and children gathered along an endless fluid space – represented once again by the revering flow in the backdrop and a surreal sepia tinted sky. The gathering there in, mark multiple moments where “precious stories” though suspended in time in the artist’s etching, reflects both the fluidity and capture of memories.
Where am I? Installation art, 2012
Today, a huge amount of change has occurred in a lot of things. Accordingly, my needs and demands increase day by day. In order to fulfill those needs and maintain my individuality, I created many things, as a result of which I have polluted the earth’s atmosphere. Furthermore, I have invented weapons and machines for my security. Yet no matter how much I do or whatever I do, this is where I live; on this planet. My steps may progress, but no matter how many steps I take, I will remain on this earth. No matter how suffocating or painful, the atmosphere changes and it pursues me wherever I go. And no matter how far I go, I cannot go any farther than my own land. I will remain here.
Politics Performance art 2014
Almost everything that we face in life is directly or indirectly influenced by politics. Politics is responsible for the changes that happen in society. All the politicians think of them as good human beings and justify their doings and frequently criticize their opponents creating a state of chaos and confusion amongst the people. But in reality these politicians can go to any extend in order to achieve power. Most even degrade to any state and for the sake of power/authority; controlling the common people like puppets. The white dress in my performance symbolizes purity and the colorful feathers are people; they are almost weightless and easily float in any direction in the air. The politicians are blowing these feathers n any direction they want. Similarly, I am linking red color with corruption and the golden color is purity. This is how my performance speaks of the politicians whose hands are dipped in corruption yet are asserting that they are pure. The future of the country and its people depend on their deed which is known to us as POLITICS.