Sringiu Thro / A Living Thing Yet Not
2nd August - 5th September 2023
Krishna Tashi Palmo
About the Exhibition
Shringiu thro, or A living thing yet not, is a series of paintings that emerged from Lahuli artist and poet Krishna Tashi Palmo’s reflection on her life journey. As a practitioner of traditional Thangka art, immersed and devoted to the meticulous crafting of Buddha’s story, Buddhist deities and cosmology, in the last decade and a half Krishna has persistently returned to the question: “in all this, where is my story?”. This is how Shringiu thro surfaced, as a slow and intimate reliving of the artist’s life from childhood to now. Born in 1984 in Shipting village of trans-Himalayan Lahul valley, fourth in a family of five daughters, Krishna contracted polio as a child. In these deeply personal imprints of life, painting becomes a vessel to contain the story of a life that shortly into birth was deemed alive, yet not deserving its conventionalities. In Krishna’s own words: “these life story paintings are life-like but not alive, yet they contain my life’s wordings”.
Shringiu thro marks a departure from the artist’s last solo exhibition ‘Krishna on Canvas’ (2018): a “statement”, as she remembers it — a stepping out, into the art space, to demonstrate her skills. On the contrary, with Shringiu thro, Krishna is stepping within, into the realm of words, desires, and emotions. The paintings featuring her early childhood years in the series are a cathartic dwelling on the relationship with life-givers, especially her aama (mother), also her first subject. In them, the artist sketches the loneliness of childhood, the living of a differing sense of time from her school-going sisters, the seeking of companions in domesticated animals, and the coming together of her artistic self within the confines of home. As a curated act of self-narration, in Shringiu thro the artist confronts the impossibility of arranging life as a sequential visual process. Specific past encounters or elongated waitings in fact conjure no images, but only words. In Shringiu thro, these junctures of life-story interject as poetic notes by the artist, threads of a simultaneous nonlinear telling.
In this reflective and radical rite of narrating the self, the artist’s selfhood emerges as relational, shaped by interactions, both human and non-human. The artist’s body, in re-living through painting, sometimes breaks into hybrid forms— fusing itself with a fish, or sometimes reincarnating as a sheri (myna bird). For Krishna to represent the human body as the medium of her dreams and desires is not enough.
Complementing the life story, a video installation by Carlo Ghidini of Filming Lahul project extends to the audiences a ‘keyhole’ view of Krishna’s everyday life in Kullu, where she lives with her artistic and life partner Stanzin Nyentak. This hindered gazing into the practice of sacred Thangka art, working as a body-mind impediment for the viewer, prompts reflections on the dynamics of entering the intimate space of the artist’s life. Guided by Krishna’s poetic notes, we encounter sporadic interactions and moments of silent practice.
About the Artist
Curated by Kesang Thakur
Video Installation by Carlo Ghidini
The exhibition was supported by Abduz and Wisdom Himalayan Voyages.