KATHMANDU: The top floor of the Siddhartha Art Gallery, BaberMahal Revisited was packed with curious art enthusiasts on January 27. There were different questions about what was going on at the venue. The crowd was not sure about the happenings till they reached the top floor where visual artist Sujan Chitrakar was in action working on his performance art titled ‘The Marks of our time …”
Chitrakar donning blue jeans and a tee-shirt sat on a straw mat. Then a barber began to shave off his hair, beard and moustache. Chitrakar stood up and took off his pants and tee-shirt — he was wearing white trousers and socks underneath — then he sat on a wooden block and closed his eyes.
The audience were then asked to pick a chit from a glass bowl placed and read aloud the name written on it.
The chits had the names of all 601 members of the Constituent Assembly and the audience were requested to write the names on Chitrakar’s body in white colour. Chitrakar looked like a white sculpture when all the names were written on his body. Following that Chitrakar washed all the paint with water from a clay vessel, wrapped himself in a white shawl and walked away from the venue without speaking to anyone leaving his audience surprised. This started a conversation/discussion among the members of the audience making his performance a success.
This performance, dedicated to the artist’s grandfather Chiniya Chitrakar who passed away in 1976, and the shaving off of his hair symbolised his mourning and respect towards his late grandfather. Similarly, it represented the artist’s frustrations towards those whom the Nepali citizens have trusted and voted with a hope to get new constitution and end to the crisis in the country, but it was all in vain.
Artist Pratima Bajracharya from the audience expressed, “I did not know what Sujan was going to do and I was curious about the performance. When he began the performance shaving his head, it touched my heart and I found it interesting till the end. The message I got is that like the time of Sujan’s grandfather has ended due to death, the time of CA members have also passed leaving the country and people in a state of mourning and sadness.”