Sneha Shrestha demonstrates her air ink technique. PHOTO: WITH THE ARTIST’S AUTHORIZATION
The Simmons University Trustman Art Gallery is located on the fourth floor of the historic Fenway Institution Center Building. Currently, the walls of the Federal-style showroom are adorned with IMAGINE’s (aka Sneha Shrestha) unique fusion of Sanskrit scriptures and graffiti tags. The golden floor-to-ceiling installation is part of Shrestha’s “Golden Equinox” solo exhibition on display at the gallery until April 17th.
“Golden Equinox” features a diverse body of work, including pieces in air ink on handmade Nepalese paper, acrylic paints on wood and canvas, and mixtures of aerosols and oils. acrylic. “Saya Patri” blends traditional methods of art history with Shrestha’s unique contemporary style in a triptych of acrylic on wood pieces that display her Sanskrit graffiti text in a semicircle. Here, the triptych format, associated in the canon of Western art with religious images, is reversed for a fusion of cultural identities. Below the glowing yellow and orange text, transparent words float against a bright blue background.
Originally from Nepal, Shrestha is the first artist to combine Nepalese letters with an American graffiti style. Although she is known for her street art, which can be seen throughout the greater Boston area – from Underground to Ink Block in the South End and Zone 3 at Western Avenue to Beyond Walls in Lynn – the practice of Shrestha s ‘extends well beyond the wall. She was Artist in Residence in Boston, established Nepal’s first Children’s Art Museum, and has a long history of working with Artists for Humanity. Education and activism are as essential to her practice as her spray paint.
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Shrestha holds a double degree from Gettysburg College in Globalization and Studio Art Studies and an MA from Harvard University. His street art work was influenced by time spent with Rob “Problak” Gibbs of Boston working in the Artists for Humanity program. Gibbs’ background in American graffiti inspired Shrestha to explore the medium in his own work. From there, incorporating his own cultural influences was a natural step.
After extensive research and planning for site specific work, Shrestha lettering is created through a combination of aerosol spray technique and hand acrylic paint. This process results in a dynamic and multidimensional style.
“Golden Equinox” offers a more in-depth look at the famous street artist and the intimacies of her artistic process. There may only be 13 pieces in the show, but there are endless discoveries to be made in the depth of its colors and the ease of its brushstrokes.