Niva Parajuli Rice and Lentil 2020
15 x 12 inches
Plaster, Turmeric, Coriander, Paprika, Glue
Vista Gallery - Herbs, Spice and Everything Nice
Exhibition on Display: July 2 - August 7, 2021
Works by Niva Parajuli
In this series, I explore the phenomenon of migration and acculturation using
herbs, spices and plaster.
In my studio, I mix spices and herbs used in domestic Nepali cooking with plaster
and water. I knead, spread and lather the mix onto various platforms or mold.
While the mixture cures, it becomes a form that retains the essence of its
subcomponents and yet is uniquely itself. The exothermic reaction between water
and plaster activates the aroma from within the spices and creates the ambience
of a fragrant Nepali kitchen.
The process of making these pieces is similar to that of cooking. I throw in
spices and ingredients, “according to personal taste”, a common vernacular used
in Nepalese recipes. The goal is to re-create and commemorate the celebratory
ritual that cooking often is.
The spices also suggest migration, assimilation of cultures, and blended
embodiment. Through trade, colonialism and now globalization, spices primarily
grown and used in South Asia, have been spread throughout the globe. Currently,
they are embedded in culinary practices across the world. This has resulted in
cuisines that symbolize the coalescence of cultures.
Another aspect of this work that I'd like to highlight is the smell associated
with spices and herbs. Smell is a fascinating property that has the capability
of entering a foreign space and immersing into it. In these pieces, the smell
was pretty strong in the beginning but faded gradually with time. This urges
one to ponder on the losses and gains that follow the process of migration
Niva Parajuli has been an actively working artist for the past two years. His
work has been exhibited in several group and juried shows in the greater DFW
area, including Gallery West at The University of Texas at Arlington; 500X in
Dallas, TX; Frost Tower Fort Worth, TX; and Fort Works Art, Fort Worth, TX. He
has collaborated with various artists in Dallas, TX and Fargo, ND to work on
public art murals. In 2020, Niva was a recipient of the Doolin and Jones student
fund at Southern Methodist University.
Niva Parajuli is an MFA candidate at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
He was born and raised in Kathmandu, Nepal where he lived until he achieved his
high school degree and moved to the United States for higher education in 2012.
Niva completed his BFA in Painting from University of Texas in Arlington in 2020.
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