courtesy lotus gallery
Yak Tseten’s painting is bisected by a flat, unshaded pillar of brown. The column is covered in writing – two dimensional, linear records of thought. In writing, human beings attempt to capture reality. In writing, too, is power. In written plans for construction lies the urge to dominate nature. Reality, however, is something apart from the written word. As the scripted pillar advances, life recedes into the background. While letters are flat, the living figures of this painting are three-dimensional: their hair stands tousled by a sorrowful wind. Life – human and animal – sidelined by artifice and left out in the cold, forms a picture of desolation. But the reactions to this exclusion are varied. While the yaks to the right of the pillar look truly defeated, those to the left stand upright and alert; they seem still to maintain the potential for angry defiance. Bypassed by civilisation, these beings must continue to live, somehow. Whether they will do so by accepting their exclusion or by reversing its trend has yet to be seen. This is part of a regular series of Himal’s commentary on artwork by artists with the Lhasa-based Gedun Choephel Artists’ Guild. Mixed media, acrylic with mineral pigments. 75 cm x 52 cm.