As a prominent teacher of paubha, Ram Prakash knows all too well how complex and intricate the art of his chosen style can be to execute, especially when put in the context of centuries-old traditions. Born in 1982, his family comes from the Dallu area near Swayambhunath temple, where a number of paubha artists live. Unlike many paubha artists, he does not come from a family of artisans. He has also not been through formal education in Fine Arts, having learnt his profession and skills over many years. His father was in the antique business, so there are some connections to the fields of history and cultural traditions. His mother had a small shop selling groceries.
Like most paubha painters he follows the traditional practices but is not averse to adding his own, more modernistic attributes to his work. He works in both pencil and vivid colours; quite often his style includes both in the same image. This satisfies some of the traditional aspects of paubha (for example when depicting a Green Tara in colour but then adding artistic flare by using pencil). Such so-called ‘Fusion-Style’ works are often produced for exhibitions and modernist workshops, where tradition is set aside to display the artists’ unique means of expression. These paintings and images can often be produced in 2 or 3 days, and are much sought after by buyers.
A traditional paubha might easily take 5 or 6 months of work, and maybe be done concurrently beside other traditional paintings – keeping a fresh inspirational eye on the various paintings. Fortunately (the detail and color changes are so abundant) the paint dries fast on paubha images, unlike oils which need more patience!
Ram Prakash is a very popular guru for many younger students and practitioners of paubha today and enjoys imparting his own 25+ years experience of the traditions to his enthusiastic classes.
He normally sells his art through local galleries and, being a highly experienced artist, from word of mouth. Ram has also generously produced some ‘Fusion-Style’ works for charity –in particular for the Kanti Children’s Hospital oncology department funding. Some of his major paintings can be viewed on the MoNA website and viewers will be surprised by the imaginative art to be seen.