The Himalayan Art Award was established in December 2008 by Margie Thomas. She established the award in memory of her close personal friend and renowned travel artist Murray Zanoni, a friend of the AHF who had visited and sketched in the Himalaya on a number of occasions. It was a way of honoring Murray and his wishes to support young artists who might struggle to find the time and/or resources to express their talent. Margie has close ties both professionally and personally with Nepal and couldn't think of a better place to kick-start the Artists Award project.
With the invaluable assistance and guidance of Ms. Sangeeta Thapa, Director and Curator of Siddhartha Gallery in Kathmandu, two young Nepalese artists were interviewed, selected, and granted the award. The inaugural award was established by Murray's estate to encourage and enable these young artists to continue their art and allow time to focus on producing a body of work.
Integral to the award is an obligation by the artist(s) to donate to the AHF one major and one minor work, which can be auctioned at a fund-raising evening in Australia. The funds raised from the auction will then be allocated to sponsor the next award the following year. Therefore, the award is self-sustaining.
As the first recipient of such prestigious art award form Australian Himalayan Foundation I got an opportunity to turn my art journey from fresh graduate to the professional artist. The award has become a big support not just to artist like me, who came from rural village and had been struggling for professional art practice in the capital city in Kathmandu but also to the young budding artists who have shaped their artistic journey after having an award from AHF. The ecosystem of AHF award has its unique and sustainable characteristics of its own that have also played a vital role to shape the Nepali Contemporary artists and art practices, giving an enormous experience which also opened the door to establish many independent contemporary art spaces like Artudio and many other independent art institutions to practice art collectively. AHF Award has become not just a financial support to the independent artists but has also contributed for building a unique art ecosystem to the Nepali Contemporary Art and Artists community.
I feel really proud to be one of the first recipients of AHA. I was just starting my art journey when I got this award and gave me immense encouragement to engage in this field more deeply since this award is specially targeted to young and emerging artists. During my residency I explored various mediums from painting to mixed-media, printmaking to installation in which I became very confident to present conceptually thro so as to express myself through my art works. Since then I have participated in many national and international exhibitions and workshops too. I had teaching career for 8 years and had conducted some print workshops in different places of Nepal.
The aspect that I most liked about AHA foundation is the concept on which it continues its journey- where by each award receiver donates 2 art works to raise fund for upcoming project. It made me feel really content to be part of this Foundation as it gives lots of hope and motivation to emerging artists as I once was and has helped me to pursue my passion and transform it into a very satisfying career. I get the same impression from my friends who have won the award and they are also happy to be associated with this foundation. This foundation should live and continue supporting the artist and I am very happy to support it in all the ways possible. I wish all the best for the upcoming projects that the foundation will be organizing going forward.
I was one of the Australian Himalayan Foundation Award recipients along with my colleague artist Laxman Karmacharya in 2011. Through this program I came to know more about these wonderful visionary women Sangeeta Thapa from Siddhartha Art Gallery and Margie Thomas from the Australian Himalayan Foundation. Through this Award I had the opportunity to know many lovely people from both organizations, receive their love, wishes and friendship in my artistic career.
We are all well aware of the reality that in Nepal there are not enough government support systems or institutional structures to foster art practices, especially for the emerging artists, despite the fact that there is a parallel dynamics in the contemporary art environment of Nepal. Personal initiations, artists led initiatives, and the passionate art lover’s contribution have always played major role in nurturing and sustaining contemporary artists.
In past few decades Nepali artist have been actively participating in lots of international exchange, residencies programs, prestigious major contemporary events like Biennial, Triennial, Museum exhibitions, seminars and conferences. This has definitely put Nepal in the discourse of global art scene.
To add to this energy and potential, Nepali art is in need of different types of support systems. AHF Award has been one of such encouragement. Through AHF Award program, each year 2 young emerging Nepali artists are given opportunity to explore, nurture and create network to keep continuing their artistic practice. The annual exhibition of AHF Award recipients at the well know Siddhartha Art Gallery has been always well received and is one of the most awaited shows to discover young talent.
The AHF Awards have received impressive remarks through the years and as the member artist of AHF Award, I have always expressed my opinion about the significance of this scholarship program and the importance to continue it. I will always be there to support this program in anyway possible from my side.
First of all I would like to thank Margie Thomas and Sangeeta Thapa for creating and founding the Australian Himalayan Art Foundation. I felt very honored to have been the recipient of this award. Through this project I received an opportunity to exhibit my art works and a establish a path to start my career.
Currently I am working in the capacity of Founder of "Artography" which is related to both art and photography in Bhaktapur. Through this non-profit organization I am trying to promote both art and photography in Bhaktapur. I would like to thank Once again thank you and Australian Himalayan Foundation Art Award .
After I graduated in 2012 Ms Sangeeta Thapa Curator/Director and Ms Thomas nominated me for the Australia Himalayan Foundation Art Award, which I received in 2013. Even before I received AHF Art Award, I was quite aware and influenced by the regular AHF art exhibition of Siddhartha Art Gallery. The AHF award exhibitions inspired my own art practice. Even after being awarded by AHF and holding my exhibition at the Siddhartha Art Gallery, the Award has given me strength to encourage me to keep the integrity and quality in my art practice. The impact of the AHF art award still plays a key inspirational role in my art practice.
I am a Kathmandu based artist and I graduated from Kathmandu University with BFA in 2012. Looking at my previous work, Miss Sangeeta Thapa, Director of Siddhartha Art Gallery recommended me for the AHF award, ( a solo exhibition project). This opportunity became one of the most important turning points of my art career and helped me enhance my skills and techniques ( especially drawing and painting). During this project I got to play with different concepts and ideas very openly. For a fresh graduate, these kinds of grants are not only about exposure, extending capital support to artists but also about providing strong mental support too. I think, this prestigious grant came with responsibility and it thus brought maturity in dealing with the art market and art communities. Somehow it is this grant that helped established my identity in the Nepalese art scenario. Since then I have been working as a multidimensional freelance artist, participating in different art project nationally and internationally.
An Award represents recognition for hard work and perseverance. It’s always an honor to receive one. When I received the Australian Himalayan Art Award I felt so revered and ecstatic. This award is one of the most important awards for me as it has refueled the artistic energy in me. The most positive thing of this award was to showcase my artwork in the Siddhartha Art Gallery which is very important for any artist, along with the recognition and financial support it provided.
The Australian Himalayan Art Award helped me financially to produce a series of works for a year. Earlier I used to work on smaller zinc plates but with the art award I attempted to work on bigger plates as well. So financially it supported me to buy the art materials which I had been using in a limited means. I got the opportunity to showcase my works and share my feelings to the viewers which otherwise I would not be able to it on my own. My only concern is that after the tenure of the award ended there was no such follow up from the Foundation. Soon after the exhibition started the earthquake struck and my works didn't sell well. If it had gone well, it would have helped me to create new works for the upcoming years, I would have been able to convince my parents that I am able to make income out of it. So lastly, I would like to thank Australian Himalayan foundation and Siddhartha Art Gallery for the opportunity you have given to me.
I was the recipient of the Australian Himalayan Foundation Art Award (AHF) Artist Fellowship Award 2015. The award has helped me immensely in creating my first solo exhibition which took place in the well-known and prestigious Siddhartha Art Gallery, Kathmandu. The fund I received from the award was a major support to work on my painting series titled ‘Holy Head Space’. With the money I managed to purchase all the materials and resources need for my work like canvases, paints and to create a video of the project.
Moreover, since there were two recipients of the AHF award that year, I got a wonderful chance to collaborate and learn from the other recipient and a friend Kiran Maharjan. We both specialise on murals and street art therefore, we created a couple of murals in Kathmandu and in the gallery. Furthermore, the award led me to get in contact and work on new projects, one major project would be Kathmandu Outdoor which is a clothing, travel and adventure gear brand from New Zealand. I was the first artist to work on their Artist Series which was a limited edition t-shirts. Every $5 from the sales of the t-shirt was donated to AHF to build schools in rural Nepal and help under privilege communities. This collaboration was very special because it was the first time the company worked with an artist from Kathmandu and moreover, I got to be a part of a noble project which was contributing in the welfare of my country.
I also got invited in the AHF fundraising gala dinner in Sydney, Australia where I participated in the live auction were my artwork was auctioned to raise fund for the AHF. During the same time I was also invited to the launch of the project in Christchurch, New Zealand. This visit to Australia and New Zealand was very successful because with the help of AHF and the team of Kathmandu I got to work with artists from Sydney and Christchurch and paint two murals in the respective cities. This collaboration with Kathmandu is still going on. After the first artist series, I am again working with them on the same project this year.
The AHF award not only supported me financially but also helped in building new connections as I got to travel and work with international brand and artists which helped me to grow personally and professionally. I am very much thankful for the AHF team and the Siddhartha Art Gallery for selecting me for the award and will always be grateful for the journey I made.
I felt the freshness in the AHF award exhibition. I could relate more with the recipients and their process of working. I loved how AHF was highlighting the up and coming artists within the art community and I enjoyed checking out the AHF shows at the Siddhartha Art Gallery. It is almost a one of a kind award at the moment in the city so it is very important for the receivers and the audience. I've never missed it because it is more of a showcase of up coming artists itself and not just the exhibition of their work. The Award also partially helped me realize my work for the Kathmandu Triennale as well my solo exhibition at the Siddhartha Art Gallery.
I am fortunate to receive the Australian Himalayan Foundation Art Award. And this award gave me a chance to showcase my 2 works - In between (installation) and Shifting Values -Expectation vs Reality. Because of the Award, it was easier for me to realize my installation In Between (installation) for the Kathmandu Triennale. I created another 12 paintings for a solo show with AHF exhibition at Siddharth Art Gallery - Shifting Values-Expectation vs Reality was something that I feel strongly about as well. Like every other award, this award definitely gave me encouragement to further my art practice with creativity and dedication. There is no doubt that this award pushed me a step further to do my best. I was totally satisfied to hear the wonderful feedback of my works in both exhibitions and I still feel that these 2 exhibitions which I did under this Award were one of the best of my works.
First of all I am very glad and excited to have received this prestigious Australian Himalayan Art Award 2019. Before the covid-19 pandemic, our lives were going on smoothly and in very healthy manner. The pandemic has had a direct impact on everyone's lives and has affected every sector including the arts and the artists. Being an art student and practicing artist I feel a a real sense of frustration due to the pandemic. There are so many things I would have liked to have done in my studio besides learning from my college, my mentors and from my seniors especially regarding the practical and theoretical knowledge about printmaking. I feel disturbed about the loss of these beautiful days. My consolation is the quality time that I now have with my parents. This covid-19 landscape has brought threat everywhere: our art suppliers shops are closed and for us student artists, it is difficult to work in the printmaking medium as we are dependent on our college studio and other independent studios. Somehow despite these odds I am still productive and making work while some works are in progress. Ideas for me are like seeds. Some grow and some don't. Some become healthy, powerful trees and some barely survive or don't survive. I look at the covid-19 days as very bad luck for all of us but it is time to for us to revive ourselves again.
As a recipient of the Australian Himalayan Foundation award, I must say it was an immense help for achieving my ideas and visions. The liberty to do whatever I wanted and have the capacity to just focus on art making was immense. The award has helped me reach a wider audience with my art and was an immense boost for my art career.
In 2012 Pasang Lama was awarded the Autralian Himalayan Foundation Art Award . Pasang Lama a Lo Manthang Mustang based Sakya monk and traditional artist was restoring murals in Lo Manthang at that time. Along with Pasang a group of Thankga artists Tashi Gurung, Pema Angyal Gurung and Angyal Gurung also show cased their work at the Siddhartha Art Gallery. All the artists were members of the team which, since 1997, had been receiving training to assist the wall painting conservationists with the Upper Mustang Cultural Conservation Project, which was restoring and conserving 15th century Tibetan Buddhist wall paintings in gonpas in Upper Mustang. The artists were working with the Cultural Heritage Conservation Committee in Lo Manthang in Thubchen Gonpa, Lo Manthang. During winters all these artists used to come to Kathmandu where they were schooled by master Thangka painter, Mukti Singh Thapa, in the iconography and painting style found in the gonpa. I also had the opportunity to showcase my photographs at the Gallery.
The exhibition at the Siddhartha Art Gallery was a historic as it would mark the first time that Mustang artists had shown their work in a Gallery in Kathmandu. After the show at the Siddhartha, Pasang left the restoration project in Lo and started a career as an independent traditional artist and is currently in Paris. The other recipients are currently very successful entrepreneurs and have established art galleries, which is a very lucrative business and is in sync with the local tradition, thus playing a role in preserving the tradition. These individuals are also actively engaged in traditional wall paintings of newly built houses, community halls and religious structures like prayer (mani) house, stupas and monasteries