Taragaon Museum and Siddhartha Art Gallery
Small works by Maureen Drdak
The sacred banyan tree, or peepal tree, is the vehicle for an intimate exhibition of ten small exquisitely rendered works—each a visual meditation on environmental degradation—by American visual artist Maureen Drdak. In 2012 while on a walk in Kathmandu during her Fulbright research fellowship, Drdak passed an ancient and stately banyan tree enclosed by a chautari and girded by a traffic clogged village roundabout. Deprived of room to grow naturally, its aerial roots had been severely cropped to prevent their descent, resulting in masses of hanging gravid bundles. Inspired to explore their forms, Drdak experienced these striking shapes as powerful yet poignant metaphors for development’s relentless strangulation of natural forces. Seven of these works employ precious lapis lazuli and palladium—evocative of water—which delicately flow through ethereal graphite drawings. The remaining three works feature her unique synthesis of copper repoussé metalwork integrated with painting, a material synthesis pioneered through her study with Newar Master Rabindra Shakya of Okhubahal, Patan.