UMA SHANKAR SHAH was born in Janakpur in 1963. After his graduation in Painting (1988), he pursued further education in Painting and completed his post-graduation in 1991. Between 1984 and 2017, his solo shows have been exhibited in different galleries, mostly in Jahagir Art Gallery, Bombay, Shreedharni Art Gallery, New Delhi, India Visual Art Gallery, New Delhi, Gallery Ganesha, New Delhi, Juno Art Gallery, South Korea, Siddhartha Art Gallery, Nepal. He has also participated in international shows in Bharat Triennale, Asian Museum Japan, France Triennale, Bangladesh Biennale, and Miami Art Fest Doral. He has participated in several other solo shows and group shows held nationally and internationally. He has won the Best Etching Award at Art Fest Doral in Miami twice in 2013 and 2014. His works incorporate the forms and contents of early Nepali religious and folk arts and they depict the image of nature and Hindu mythologies appealing for the preservation of natural and cultural heritage of Nepal. He is presently an associate professor in Painting at Central Department, Tribhuwan University, Kathmandu, Nepal.
The Nepalese have been astonished by the train ever since its introduction in India by the British and it become a symbol of a search for new life in the hearts of the Nepalese people. The establishment of the Indian Railway, which was to be an asset for the British Economy at the time, has brought a variety of changes to Indian Sub-continent. Nepal too benefited from this establishment as a number of financial opportunities with India were created.
In the Rana regime, trains primarily served a purpose of transporting Timber, Wheat, Jute as commanded by the British. The public was so intrigued by this system that people would climb on top of the goods that such trains carried. People would often travel from Raksaul to Amlekhgunj via train at the time, and cross the hill ‘BhimFedi’ to travel to Kathmandu to get to the temples of Pashupatinath. The Railway system from Jainagar to Janakpur too started carrying people. This was called the NepalJanakpurJanakpur Railway (NJJR) and was later extended all the way to Bijalpura.
The Railway system became a center of attraction for the Mithala people. I was young at the time and every day I would go to the railway station to watch the trains. My happiness had no limits if I ever received the opportunity to touch those trains. In the 40 years that I have grown up with the trains I have developed a sense of empathy with them where It feels as if I understand the moods of happiness, sadness, uselessness, loneliness of the machines and this is what I have presented in these works.
Nepal, a country between China and India, has a population that is composed of 94% Hindus and is a place where a great many of the important national entities are named after Hindu Gods and Goddesses. The trend extends from figures in flags to the name of mountains such as Kailash. Even people have names such as ‘Umashankar’, ‘Gaurishankar’ and banks have names such as ‘Prahabu Bank’, ‘Laxmi Bank’. This trend existed in the nomenclature of trains too with trains such as ‘Gorakhnath’, ’Krishna’, ‘Sita’. ‘Rama’. These trains that run on the borders of Nepal and India establish the many relations between the two countries. Such ‘Roti- Beti’ connections that exist between the two countries are strengthened by these Trains.