BBC interview Thursday 27 January 2011. London, UK
Nepal Television programme was under Image Channel in 2000. It was taken after my Nationwide three monthos long solo cycle tour with Slogan “21st Century is the Century of Art and Peace” .
Link at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7FugD-lISQ
Newspaper interview on The Ecologist by Ruth Styles
Asian Art Newspaper : interview by Sam Phillips
link at http://www.asianartnewspaper.com/article/govinda-sah-azad-%3A-transcriptions
Anthony Blake (Author/Physic and Philosopher, UK)
Govinda is an explorer – almost a scientist – looking into the world of energies and not of things. Starting with the spirit culture and landscapes of his homeland Nepal, he has moved into modern expressions of what is within and, lately, into the heart of creative energy. His very tangible, textured, exquisite and astonishing canvases are windows into primordial worlds and the mystery of how nothing becomes something. His art is a pleasure. He invites you in to the wonderful world of his intuitions and perceptions so that you can see for yourself. Who knows what he will do next? (10 June 2010)
Abhi Subedi, (well-known writer in Nepal)
I am very pleased to see Govida Sah’s new series of works being exhibited in Britain. They remind me of his creative experimental works of the past years. He has always selected motifs that show broader human efforts to create meaning in a world that he or she lives. But such themes carry broader concerns of the humanity at large. I especially like the theatrical or performative quality of his paintings and his confident experiments with forms and techniques that is an essential quality of paintings that project a sense of immediacy as well as philosophical interpretations of the relationship of human beings with a world that is his or her own creation. Prof. Abhi Subedi, Nepal (18 Sep 2010)
Dr. Jacqueline Taylor Basker, Ph.D.Oxford
GOVINDA AZAD: CLOUD CONSCIOUSNESS, CONSCIENCE AND FREEDOM
Dr. Jacqueline Taylor Basker, Ph.D. Oxford
All humanity shares the same sky, and clouds pass freely across national borders, geographic boundaries and over diverse ethnic and religious groups. The universality of this experience was brought home to me when I first received an email from Govinda Azad in 2007 expressing his interest in an article I had written on the cloud as a symbol, derived from my doctoral research and my painting. I was amazed to see someone whose ideas and work were so similar to mine from across the world! I had been painting and researching the cloud for years and I was thrilled to learn that Govinda had concepts identical to my interest in the cloud as an important spiritual symbol. His travels through India, Bangladesh and Germany confirmed his belief that the power of the cloud was a power for world peace and mutual understanding. His further study in London for his MA in painting developed both his scholarship and his creativity in the use of this imagery in his artwork.
Born in Nepal, he began working with the cloud as a symbol for peace since 1999 with the slogan “The 21st Century is the Century of Art and Peace.” His early work explored this through skilled realistic imagery depicting clouds. Govinda was fascinated with landscapes and painted over 300 multiple miniature cloud paintings, non-stop, in 2006, before going to UK. In London his teachers asked him why he painted clouds, and he replied that he believed the cloud was a “spiritual power of nature.” His paintings were not attempts at realism but from his heart, to express his emotions. In his studies he was challenged to provide intellectual reasons for what he did, which at first was difficult for him since he emerged from a different paradigm . . . one did not need to rationalize creativity and feelings. However his interim MA exhibit at The Nunnery Art Gallery in London, March, 2008, revealed Govinda’s sophisticated merger of conceptual ideas in artwork that transcended appearances, and pushed his work to another level.
His artwork in 2006 (and also a play he wrote) examined the notion of a wall, without windows or doors. Govinda sees that we are trapped inside walls by the religious perspectives of traditional religions. It is the cloud that exists beyond and can carry us outside these walls. His work explores our dreams and hopes beyond the difficult realities of everyday lives. Through the use of exciting contrasts of light and dark, he evokes light as a metaphor for life and enlightenment. His broad brushstrokes and rhythmic compositions move the viewer into a vortex that melts convention and confinement.
Despite his fear that humanity in the 21st century is not getting better, but worse in many respects, he believes the artist’s struggle and message is pivotal for survival. He laments that everything is about business and profits in politics, religion and the artworld. Govinda observes that religion should free us from this crude materialism, but it often does not. He realizes that there are only two things on the planet that can escape the 360° pull of gravity and they are clouds, and the spirit. His installation “Spiritual Gravity: Beyond the 360°” explored this understanding, and provided the viewer with a visual synthesis that incorporated their own image into cloud-like abstract forms on multi-layered materials.
His MA thesis examined the cloud in the art of Constable, JMW Turner and Casper Friedrick, discussing their relationship to the spiritual and the aesthetic of the sublime. This power of cloud imagery was also noted in the work of some contemporary artists. Perhaps England’s humid island climate elicited an interest in the cloud in artists as Constable and Turner. For Govinda, coming from Nepal high in the Himalayas, he too possesses a great sensitivity to the extraordinary shapes, textures and colors of clouds that he then masterfully depicts in his art.
The art of Govinda Azad joins a long tradition of cultural cloud icons that have been used from the earliest art of mankind in all cultures to provide us a sense of spiritual awe and cosmic consciousness within the confines of organized religion and society. It reminds us that we are not limited by our bodies, or by matter; our minds and spirits can ascend limitlessly, as far as our imaginations extend. We are not trapped by our situation, or doomed by history to endless conflict, injustice and misery. Viewing the art of Govinda reminds us that we are ultimately free – as free as the clouds that reinvent themselves endlessly in the wind, the sun and the sky. © Jacqueline Taylor Basker, September 4, 2009
A Curator’s Word
Govinda Sah Azad can be described as an artist in a great hurry to spread the message of peace, love and understanding through his art. His energy and capacity for endurance give him a distinct edge. Very few recognize that this artist’s vision is a deeply spiritual one. Govinda was the first Nepali to declare the 21st century as ‘the Century for Art and Peace’. This declaration or vision has been the driving force behind Govinda’s artistic and spiritual journey.
It is important to acknowledge that this artist has come a long way from Rajbiraj, Saptari. His transformation from a signboard painter in India to a student of Fine Arts has been a remarkable personal story of determination and discipline. His transition from a signboard painter in Rajbiraj, Saptari to an art student Kathmandu could not have been easy. During this period as a struggling art student and artist, Govinda took on several commercial commissions to survive. At a time when the nation was reeling through a bloody civil war, he also devoted his energies to spreading the message of peace through his work. As a student at the Lalitkala, Govinda embarked upon a grueling bicycle tour of twenty-three districts in Nepal in 1999. The Maoist uprising did not deter him. His energy and exuberance seem to have given him the ability to face all odds. While traveling from Mechi to Mahakali, his desire to spread the message of peace came into fruition and Govinda was able to interact with children in the various districts and teach art in local schools along the way. In 2002, he also embarked upon an ambitious tour of South Asia and held exhibitions in India and Bangladesh. In 2005, he traveled to Germany and Holland and exhibited his paintings based on peace. In between his travels and academic pursuits, Govinda has also held twenty-four solo exhibitions of his work. He has also participated in several art camps and workshops and group exhibitions. It is interesting to note that Govinda Dongol, senior artist and campus Chief once described Govinda Sah ‘Azad’ as “Lion Heart”
Though the message of peace has dominated Govinda’s paintings each exhibition of the Artist’s work has been radically different in style and expression. In June 2006, Govinda Azad held a solo exhibition of his paintings at the Siddhartha Art Gallery. This exhibition titled ‘Pillars of Hope’, was a celebration of Nepali culture and documented the artist’s rapturous reaction to the art and architecture of the valley. Carved pillars and windows, stone water spouts, Newari women in their traditional hand woven haku pataasi saris, ancient ritual masks were the recurring motifs in the canvases of an artist who had journeyed from the Mithila realm to pursue Fine Arts at Lalit Kala Academy in Kathmandu. Though Govinda painted the tangible living culture of the valley, a curious stillness seems to dominate these works and is in direct contrast to the artist’s own restless energy.
In 2006, Govinda traveled to Dhaka, Bangladesh to pursue an MFA in painting at 2006. A year later he attended the Wimbledon School of Art in the UK to received his second MFA in painting. The paintings in this exhibition constitute the body of work that the artist created in the UK and is a total departure from his earlier representational and
narrative style. Based on cloud formations, Govinda turns his gaze to the heavens to mirror the storm in his own heart and to understand how the great masters like Turner, Constable and Casper Friedrick portrayed the tumultuous skies in their own paintings.
Though many of the works in the cloud series have already been sold in the UK, Govinda’s paintings compel us to rejoice in the artist’s new found freedom. However, these works give no indication of what is to follow and perhaps, it is still too early for the artist to be tied down to a recognizable style. I believe that Govinda’s work will gain maturity and fluidity with time. His recent installation “Unfortunate Women from the Brave Land ” at the international art festival “Separating Myth from Reality-Status of Women”, made an extremely powerful statement about the status of women. We wish this young artist, every success in his quest for art and peace.
Siddhartha Art Gallery
KATHMANDU: Cloud sometimes is bright and sometimes dark. It has neither definite shape nor size. And when artist Govinda Sah Azad portrayed the clouds in his paintings, he depicted them in an even more abstract form — as a mysterious subject.
Except for a couple of semi-abstract paintings of The Moon series almost all the paintings of Azad are abstract. Merely two colours constitute his canvases where these colours are in stark contrast; one being rather bright while the other dim, if not dark.
Though dark colours like black chiefly dominate his paintings, bright colour emerges from few parts of the paintings. The dark part of his painting represents the gloomy side of life while the emergence of bright light symbolises hope. The bright light is the essence of his paintings.
Besides black and white colours, yellow is another colour preferred by the artist to make the paintings lively. Yellow colour depicts the transitional phase on the canvases. Through the painting titled ‘Mysterious Zone I’, Azad has portrayed a transitory moment of time when there is no presence of sun but still its pale rays are penetrating the dark clouds.
At the centre of his another painting ‘Apocalypse’ the artist has made a small black circular pit equal to the canvas’ thickness.
Looking like flames of fire or rays of light coming out of a dark circle the entire canvas is covered with tiny bubbles of water with some fragments of thin transparent clouds. “Looking at the cloud I went through it and searched for the centre of the universe which could never be found,” describing the same painting Azad said that with this painting he wanted to convey that conflict begins if one is self centred. “Cloud is nothing but the drops of water,” added Azad stating that the bubbles of water in the paintings also symbolise cloud.
‘Unfold Invention’ is a solo art exhibition of Azad, which was jointly inaugurated by Sarah Sanyahumbi, Head of DFID Nepal and Pratima Pande, President of Nepal Britain Society on November 8 at Siddhartha Art Gallery, Baber Mahal.
The exhibition is on till November 23.