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“What I have chosen as a career is satisfaction over material success”

Sundar Lama/Visual Artist

How did you start your art journey?

My brother used to make the art of the lord Bhairav doors which is my source of inspiration. Even though I was a student of management, I got attracted to the designs and patterns of the artworks. Once I had thought about becoming a tattoo artist. After the completion of the Bachelor’s degree program, I become more serious about it. In 2005, I joined the College of Fine Arts (Lalitkala Campus) and completed my Master’s degree in 2013.  

When did you start working, before or after college?

During my college days, I used to make tattoos-like designs with general writing pens on the hands of my friends and get praised for my work. It was when I joined Lalitkala and realized the true meaning of art as an ocean of knowledge.

Did you think about your future in arts?

The management stream was trending back then, and every second student used to join college to study it. But eventually, my real interest and passion grew in the arts. At that time, I just followed my heart and didn’t think about the future. My mother was a little bit upset about my decision to become an artist as she wanted me to become a banker.

Have you ever felt like ‘I should have continued with management and earn big money”?

There was a time when such a thought came into my mind. Some of my childhood friends are in Australia living lavish lives and riding expensive cars. But what I have chosen as a career is satisfaction over material success.

Is painting enough to rely on for a living?

For me, painting is sufficient for living. The situation for artists today is not like those of the old days. Today, people appreciate art, we get many opportunities in the market.

 How is the competition in the market?

Previously there were only 3 colleges for fine arts studies. The Tribhuvan University affiliated colleges Lalitkala Campus and Srijana College of Fine Arts, and the Kathmandu University School of Arts. But now there are many other colleges. These educational institutions have been producing artists helping to increase competition in the market. Talented artists can have a lot of opportunities. 

In this field, how should people think when they hear Sundar Tamang?

Previously, my artworks used to be figurative. But later, I thought of going out of the box, and my focus in the last 8-9 years has been on performance art. People know me as a performance artist.

Performance art is the depiction of reality. I usually paint pictures of animals like bulls, horses, dogs, and birds. My pictures symbolize, for example, horses for power and birds for freedom.

How are your artworks received by art lovers?

It depends on one’s choice and understanding. Some, understand and purchases my art and some don’t. I must say I am lucky my art pieces are often sold.

How is your family supporting your work?

Luckily, my family is very supportive. It’s been 15-16 years in this field and I have won awards too. I have artworks as my main income source to support my family’s needs.