Wednesday 6 March 2024

Nepal: Mountains, People, Biodiversity

(click on the image for a larger view)

Every mountaineer dreams of summiting the Himalayas where they are at their mightiest- Nepal. As an illustrator and an orophile, my dream of summiting Nepal's mountains was through drawing them, and this map of our beautiful neighbour's biodiversity, mountains and people, created for the International Mountain Museum at Pokhara, was the perfect opportunity! From the tallest peaks in the world to the most pristine grasslands, from creatures as large as the Wild Yak and the bone-cracking Lammergeiers, to the diminutive Hispid Hare and the Himalayan Newt, from intricate architectural marvels like the Darbar Square monuments to the rustic Mustang Caves, here is Nepal in all its glory.

Nepal's majesty, mystique and aura can never be justly captured in illustration, and certainly not contemporary illustration. So when this challenge was thrown at me, I was convinced that incorporating stylistic elements from its indigenous art form Paubha (the precursor to Himalayan Thangka) would be the only way of doing justice to a project of this nature. I must convey a huge thanks to Samuel Thomas for facilitating a visit to the veteran Nepalese Paubha artist Lok Chitrakar's art studio, where I received some very important quick tips and insights into not just the art form but also the mind of the Paubha artists who he trains. 

The map will soon be on display at the International Mountain Museum. If you happen to visit Pokhara, do pay the museum a visit!

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