Clay, bamboo, and pigments

Courtesy of the artists and Janakpur Women’s Development Center

Mithila mural art historically adorned the earthen walls of houses across the Janakpur region of Nepal. Images from nature, rituals, and legends were transferred onto the surfaces of homes. Depicted here is the Jhijiya dance performed by women to ward of evil spirits before the arrival of winter. The dancers bear tattoos that reference Bollywood songs and modern commodities such as hand watches, as well as the intercultural exchanges that take place between those living in Janakpur and Bihar. This mural painted by artists afliated with the Janakpur Women’s Development Centre now colours Carl Pruscha’s bare, modernist architectural designs at the Taragaon Museum. Vernacular architectural forms across Nepal have either been lost or are endangered, given the allure of brick and mortar constructions that have come to represent wealth and social mobility. While Mithila art has undergone its own rebirth as paper-based paintings, traces of such tactile, sculptural murals are rare.

Commissioned for Kathmandu Triennale 2077. The artists’ participation is made possible with support from UN Women Nepal.

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