Gallery of the Dirghaman & Ganeshman Chitrakar Art Foundation
Many of us remember Ganesh Photo Lab in Bhimsensthan fondly as the go to place for professional and amateur photographers who loved black and white prints. But as the digital age rolled in, manual printers were on their way out. Color pictures could even be turned into black & white! It was time to move on. Ganesh Photo Lab was turned into a gallery and the Dirghaman & Ganeshman Chitrakar Art Foundation was established in 2014 to preserve the works of the two legendary photographers and painters. Today one can walk into the gallery and admire some amazing photographs from the Rana era. There are some remarkable historic photographs on display. Dirgha Man Chitrakar was appointed as royal painter and court photographer by Chandra Shumsher Rana in his palace. He even accompanied Chandra Shumsher on his trip to England and France and became influenced by European art. When he retired in 1945 at age 71, his son Ganesh Man Chitrakar took his place as royal painter and court photographer. When Nepal opened up its doors to outsiders, it also opened the door of opportunities for Nepalis and Ganesh Man became the Chief Photographer for USAID, one of the first aid offices to come to Nepal.
It was Ganesh Man who established Ganesh Photo Lab and was also the first to take aerial photographs of Kathmandu. The invaluable collection of paintings and photographs make the gallery incredibly valuable. Ganesh Man’s son, Kiran Man Chitrakar looks after the gallery and has added his own works to the treasure trove. Now Cristeena and Swaraj Man from the fourth generation of Chitrakars have also added their own. The photographs here include portraits, landscapes and capture historic monuments, diplomatic visits and festivals as well. Some photographs also depict the aftermath of the earthquake of 2015 alongside photos of the same locations before the big quake.
Bikalpa Art Center & Café Bar
A small, cozy gallery located in Pulchowk, Bikalpa Art Center is a hidden gem. A café/business center/gallery, the location is perfect if you want to admire art works and also enjoy a nice meal while you are there. There is provision for guests to actually sit inside the gallery and have a snack or a meal. A new concept when it comes to operating a gallery; the art and café bar is the perfect place to have a quiet meal while at the same time you admire the exhibited works. Bikalpa Art Center is a non-profit, non-financed and non-government association led by self-inspired youth who want to give a different art experience to Nepali people. Anyone and anybody can install their artistic creations for public viewing. Besides art exhibitions, the center can also be used to showcase creative activities such as performances, photography, music, poetry etc. Besides weekly documentary screenings, silent movie nights as well as space for special events, the gallery functions as a multipurpose hall catering good food and drinks within its premises. The center is one of the most interesting and exciting places to visit when in Pulchowk, Lalitpur.
Dalai-La Art Center
The Dalai-La Boutique Hotel in Thamel is quite popular and its restaurant The Hub draws a crowd every time there’s an event happening. The hotel has a small art gallery upstairs which allows artists to showcase their paintings. The hotel also has a spa, gym and space for yoga. They believe in simplicity, elegance and excellence. The art gallery is open to the public at any given time as well as for in-house guests of the hotel to walk in. Many well-known artists have used to space to exhibit their creations for the general public. A small sitting area located adjacent to the gallery makes for a perfect spot to sit sipping coffee, relaxing and talking about the art. Top contemporary artists of Nepal have exhibited their works in their gallery, such as Asha Dangol, Bidhata KC, Erina Tamrakar and Manish Lal Shrestha. You can see some of the finest works of art by Nepali artists in this gallery in Thamel.
Music Art Gallery Café
As the name suggests, the Music Art Gallery promotes music and art and is a café as well. Located at the crossroads of Jhamsikhel, it was opened in 2017 by Sagar KC. The gallery has a few rooms with plenty going on. They run classes for young people who are interested in learning art or music and have a good collection of books on art. While you are admiring the art works, a young student may be learning how to play the piano in a corner. Located on the second floor of the building, the gallery has featured paintings of many renowned Nepali artists. They had an exhibition of paintings by veteran artists like Shashi Bikram Shah, Krishna Manandhar, Batsa Gopal Baidya, Uttam Nepali, Manuj Babu Mishra, Govinda Dongol, Madan Chitrakar and Shyam Lal Shrestha and others. A small café serves drinks and snacks such as coffee, tea, pastries and such. Founded on a truly novel concept, Music Art Gallery lives up to its name of being a place for music and art and serves as a café as well.