Erina Tamrakar is a well-established name in the field of fine arts for the past 30 years. After completing high school, Tamrakar joined the Lalitkala Campus following the advice of her father.
Despite the social reality that choosing arts is not considered a good career option in Nepal, she moved ahead with strong support from her father and other family members. In college, her guru Prashant Shrestha encouraged Tamrakar and helped her to pave the future path.
She feels that there is a great deal of struggle in this field.
“It is because of that struggle, I have reached this place today. However, you can have a normal life and not a hi-fi one,” she says.
In the mid-90s, Tamrakar was facing family pressure to get married, but ignoring such pressure she started the group Kastamandap in 1994 with a team of 8-9 people under the leadership of her late teacher Prashant Shrestha. “It is because of the dedicated team and hard work of that time that we are known as artists today,” she says.
Starting from a small room, Kastamandap actually had a very humble beginning. “We worked for few years outside the public sight,” she recalls.
Tamrakar thinks it is a big challenge to be an artist in Nepal. “Artists abroad also face challenges. But theirs and our challenges are different. Going through these challenges artists get the energy to work,” she shares.
Tamrakar, who also used to exhibit her work abroad before the lockdown last year, says that there are many opportunities in this field. “Exhibitions help you to get your work evaluated by others. Exhibitions are an opportunity to introduce yourself and get a good value for your work,” she adds.
Despite being a small country, Nepal is known abroad for its natural treasures like Mt Everest, and traditional arts and crafts. “Our work is highly valued abroad because of our traditional arts and craft,” she says.
Tamrakar feels that Nepalis are also showing their interest in buying artworks of domestic artisans. Earlier, only foreign buyers used to look for our creations. But now the situation is changing as Nepali brothers and sisters have become our good customers. There are many people in Nepal who understand and show their love for arts and craft,” she says, adding, “Our artworks are sold for a variety of areas, from banks to restaurants. A lot of people call me personally to buy my paintings.”