Born near Naradevi Temple in Kathmandu, Raj Prakash Man Tuladhar’s life has been drenched in culture and faith. He recalls listening to stories told by his grandmother as a child, stories of Avalokiteshvara, the story of Indra coming to Kathmandu, stories of his ancestral trade to Tibet. As he listened, the words would translate from speech to pictures in his mind, as if watching a movie. Each statue, temple, jatra, festival had its own story, its own reason for existence. All them have contributed in some way to Tuladhar’s identity as an artist now.
The prospect of being able to do art, while simultaneously taking steps towards preserving his cultural identity influenced Tuladhar to seek formal training, knowing the difficulties that were to lie ahead if he chose this path. He received training at a young age in Paubha art from Nepal Paramparagat Kalakar Sangh where he received training from Prem Man Chitrakar, Amir Man Chirtakar, Deepak Joshi and others. Tuladhar’s work have received widespread recognition and is the two time recipient of the winning prize at the Beijing International Traditional Competition. Now Tuladhar is regarded as one of the best traditional artists of the country.
Tuladhar’s artworks find inspiration in the religious traditions of the valley. Local myth, esoteric tradition, folklore and history culminate in his paintings to take the viewer back in time, as if one were an observer to these stories. Religion, regards Tuladhar, is more than simple devotion. Religion is a way of viewing the world and acting on it, that pushes oneself to do good, to be compassionate and generous and to become the best they can be. With each painting, Tuladhar urges us to look for the story and meaning behind the subject of his works and inculcate the ideas in our daily lives.
Where many would see a mere painting, stone sculpture, or a temple strut, Tuladhar sees the Unmanifested become Manifest, and this same principle can be seen beautifully portrayed in his artwork.