Art reference

Correlation between us: Muna Bhadel’s art exhibition deals with connections with people and things

Current exhibition Correlation Between Us by Muna Bhadel at the Dalai-La Boutique Hotel, Thamel. Photo: Chandra Bahadur Ale

Relationships and interactions with your loved ones shape your character, behavior and overall personality. They are also decisive in how you bond with your loved ones over time. Whether it is literature or art, family background and the way one is brought up usually reflect on their work.

Confirming this notion, visual artist Muna Bhadel’s second solo exhibition, Correlation Between Us, explores the relationship between a woman and her colorful clothing. Then there is the relationship between her and her grandmother. As a whole, the exhibition deals with the attachment to people and things, especially clothes.

people and things

The exhibition which opened on August 1 at the Dalai-La Boutique Hotel, Thamel, comprises two sections – drawings of hand gestures and paintings with a young woman as the main motif – illustrating generations of women and their attachment to their people and their clothes.

In the drawing section, Muna Bhadel created a monochromatic effect using the color red and depicted drawings of her hand and her grandmother’s hand, which stand in different positions. There are five such designs.

She used the color red as a symbol of the blood relationship and attachment between her and her grandmother. The details of lines and figures in his drawings evoke the emotion of love, care, tenderness and nurturing.

Muna Bhadel's current exhibition, Correlation Between Us, is about relationships.  Photo: Chandra Bahadur Ale
Muna Bhadel’s current exhibition, Correlation Between Us, is about relationships. Photo: Chandra Bahadur Ale

And, this very nature of her grandmother as well as her interaction with her grandmother helped her find a theme for her solo exhibition.

Muna Bhadel recalls, “Once I was talking to my grandmother and she was looking at her wedding saree and ornaments while keeping it safe. She told me how much she loved them because they were her wedding outfits. She sighed that she couldn’t wear them because her husband is dead now.

Muna Bhadel says her grandmother inspired her to do an exhibition on this theme.  Photo: Chandra Bahadur Ale
Muna Bhadel says her grandmother inspired her to do an exhibition on this theme.

During this conversation and many other conversations with her relatives and friends, she realized at some point that they would certainly talk about outfits and their attachment to their favorites.

She adds, “I realized that we tend to get attached to our clothes because of their patterns, colors and patterns. And if we examine the nature of women, this nature of admiring outfits was prevalent in the historical period as well as nowadays. Outfits also remind us of special events in our lives, which sometimes become a way to communicate with the new generation about our memories and to be nostalgic.

embody femininity

Correlation Between Us Muna Bhadel
The current exhibition, Correlation Between Us, by Muna Bhadel at the Dalai-La Boutique Hotel, Thamel. Photo: Chandra Bahadur Ale

With this notion, taking reference to Rajasthani and Mughal art, Muna Bhadel synthesized historical and modern women who admire their beauty and their accessories.

This beautiful fusion symbolizes that no matter what century a woman lives in, her emotions and feelings as a woman are the same. Additionally, her acrylic on canvas paintings depict her own female psyche.

In one of her paintings, she created a modern-day woman who admires her own body and brightly colored outfit. Her black hair falls loosely over her shoulder. Then there are two more women where a woman upstairs looks at the mirror and another downstairs plays with her shawl and looks like she is going to dance.

These two women on the side were created in Rajasthani and Mogul art styles. On this, she shares, “I didn’t want to use religious motifs but something that equates to everyday life and represents history. Therefore, I used Rajasthani and Mogul style designs in my paintings.

Moreover, various patterns can be seen in the paintings which are totally different from each other but have rhythmic harmony in them. For the clothing designs she used various geometric patterns and for the background she used designs found in traditional paubha paintings.

Correlation between us
Muna Bhadel’s work on display in Kathmandu in August 2022. Photo: Chandra Bahadur Ale

Muna Bhadel’s designs are colorful, vibrant and soothing to the eyes. Meanwhile, her main character is seen admiring her own beauty and the clothes she wears where her eyes do not meet the eyes of the viewers but admire each other.

This, she says, is a feminine aspect and being a feminist does not only mean rebelling against bad events in society, but also admiring femininity.

“I explored feminism from the aspect of feelings and emotions. Feminism is also about accepting and loving yourself. So I admire all the qualities of being a gentle yet powerful woman.

The exhibition where the artist freely expressed her femininity through patterns, textures and aesthetics continues until August 31.