I am from Nepal, and I have always been interested in representing cultural issues through my art. My early work focused on realistic, feminine figures, through which I conveyed the struggles for freedom and equality that women in Nepal face. After moving to the US I found myself between two cultures – the rich, traditional culture of Nepal and the modern, contemporary culture of the US. I wanted to use my art to blend and contrast these two cultures. My people group, the Newari people, use straw materials to hand weave mats, and I incorporated this traditional weaving style into my art using discarded plastic bags. This developed into my current style, which consists of 2D and 3D installation works, merging traditional Nepali culture with contemporary, western culture.
Through my work I revisit the memory of my childhood,in which my mother wove mats as part of her livelihood. My works reflects the woven mats that I grew up watching women make. Weaving in my culture is mostly a woman’s job. Nowadays, since Newari women are allowed to work outside the home, weaving is done primarily by those women who are not educated. In contrast, I am weaving mats with same traditional techniques as part of my higher education. Through my work I am introducing the art/craft/labor of those underprivileged women.I use discarded bags to make woven mats, blending the culture that I grew up in and the culture I have adopted. The hand-made woven mats of my culture represent a simple agrarian society where waste materials are used to provide household items. In contrast, discarded plastic bags represent modern materials and consumerism where every bag represents a new purchase.