Kailash has not had an easy ride on his journey to become an artist, but through sheer persistence, talent and determination he has now established himself in the field. Born in 1986 in Gairimudi, a rural village near Dolakha below the peak of Gauri Shankar, his family background did not suggest a career in art. His father was a schoolteacher, and at an early age Kailash was experimenting with red, yellow and white clay, painting and decorating the house for fun. His family encouraged a path in business, and he did in fact study business for two years at Public Youth Campus. But his passion lay elsewhere, and he was able to switch to the Lalitkala Campus, where he studied Fine Arts. He went on to pursue his Bachelor’s at Kathmandu University and completed it in 2007.
Kailash actually failed twice to get into Lalitkala, but after intervention by a union that encouraged borderline qualifiers, he made it and his talents were unleashed. His art is striking for its unique style – a style that borders on the abstract, yet the themes, imagery and details shine through. His first connection to art was with calligraphy, but he soon moved on to portraits, landscapes and still-life. Today these themes have been eclipsed by his contemporary style; he is very moved by his moods in his creations. Everyday scenes, objects and images are portrayed in a way that delves into the ‘mood’ of the moment. In 2009, he was awarded the very first Prestigious Young Artist Award from the Australian Himalayan Foundation.
In 2010 he established artudio (www.artudio.net), initially in his small room in Asan, to promote art to the greater population of the country, children and adults, through workshops, camps and charitable work. It has since moved to larger premises near Swayambhunath. He believes that there is a lot we can learn from children, whose minds have not been programmed by outside influences. In his ‘Visual Diaries’ series he explores the frustrations that he and many others felt during the tumultuous period of political change following the end of the monarchy through 2008.
Phantasmal is a long-term series that he started back in 2012, that questions and through satire critiques political movements and current affairs that are rooted in social ills and malpractice. This mixed-media series uses newspaper clippings, photographs, paintings, drawings and other experimental media to view the situation of Nepal in a global context.
After the 2015 earthquake, he established the Pran Community Art Centre in his birthplace to bring the healing power of arts to his community, which was significantly affected by the second quake. The centre set up a community homestay residency program for artists. Rivers of the World 2017–2018 and 2021–2022 was a project in conjunction with the British Council, aiming to teach children the value of nature and bring out their artistic talents. This was very dear to Kailash’s heart, especially after his struggle to study art during his own childhood.
Recently he has sought to open physical public spaces (such as walls around buildings or on roadsides, like the boundary wall of the Hotel Himalaya in Patan) for use by artists and other social thinkers, to allow them to counteract the overpowering political dominance of social media.
Kailash and his wife Krisha will undoubtedly continue to contribute a huge amount to the contemporary Nepali art scene.