Medium: MIXED MEDIA ON WOODEN BOARD
Size: 91.45 X 182.80 cm
CAPTURING FESTIVE ENERGY IN RELIEF ART
Biskā Jātrā is a harmonious celebration of tradition, beliefs, culture and ethnic identity which takes place at the turn of the new year according to the solar calendar. The festival is believed to have originated in the 17th century CE during the reign of Bhaktapur king Jagajyoti Malla, who was fascinated with folklore.
Biskā festivities commemorate one such story of a princess who remained a widow because the husband would die the very night of her wedding. Finally, a brave young man with the courage to marry her came forth. Goddess Bhadrakāli, disguised as an elderly lady, suggested to the young man to wait until the princess had gone asleep to see what would happen. The young man followed her advice and waited until the princess had passed out for the night. Two snakes emerged from the princess’s nostrils while she was sleeping, startling the lad. As soon as he regained his calm, he grabbed his knife and killed both snakes. The city folks celebrated the killing of the evil snakes by starting Biskā Jātrā.
Sharada Man Shrestha’s relief work showcases the vibrancy, energy and dramatics of Biskā Jātrā. The artist has easily captured the environment and setting in which this festival takes place. The overshadowing historical monument is the five-storied Nyata Pau temple, with the Bhairav temple in the background. One can also see the people playing traditional instruments and enjoying the energy of the festival.
With this artwork the artist aims to give a message about the significance of cultural heritage and the necessity for the future generation to give continuity to the culture, traditions and festivals.