Born in 1966, Shakya was raised in a family that was acclaimed for their skill in the traditional form of paubha painting, son of Siddhi Muni Shakya and grandson of the legendary Ananda Muni Shakya. He is the third generation of traditional paubha artists in his family, and he is proud to say that the legacy is being continued by his daughter, Priya Shakya.
Although discouraged by his father to take up this profession, his interest developed while observing his father, and the various priests, both Newar Vajracharyas and Tibetan gurus, who visited his home to commission paintings from his father. He practiced in hiding, until a patron visiting his house, noticed his paintings and expressed the opinion that it would be good for him to pursue this profession, after which his father took him under his wings.
His strength is in the minute details of compositions, but sometimes he also enjoys making works with lesser details. ‘Paubha painting is a form of meditation’ – this is his mantra; it is not just skill, it involves perseverance and deep knowledge of the Canon of Iconography of Deities. He believes that painting the gods and goddesses is a task to earn great merit. He continues to use stone and mineral color brought from Tibet, and from merchants used by his grandfather and father. The luster from this medium is extraordinary and cannot be matched by another kind of paint.