Hari Prasad Sharma is one of the most famous senior artists of Nepal, known for his unique works of art depicting the ancient culture, lifestyle and history of Kathmandu valley. Now 83 years old, he had a unique opportunity to witness the transition of Kathmandu valley from a traditional society into a modern metropolis. Much of the lifestyle, architecture and ancient culture that survived hundreds of years has been breaking down under the pressure of modernization. Visual documentation of rural Kathmandu valley and Nepalese life before modernization is very hard to find. This has created a great knowledge gap and a possibility of the rich cultural heritage of Kathmandu valley being lost for ever.
Most of his life, senior artist Hari Prasad Sharma has worked on preserving the old glory of Kathmandu Valley’s social life: its simplicity, closeness to nature, human relationships and contribution to social harmony — so that future generations may be able to enjoy this rich cultural heritage. With his mastery of artwork with excellent depictions of human anatomy, group compositions with sometimes hundreds of people in his paintings, his knowledge of contemporary society (dressing, food, house interiors, architecture, occupations, social events, etc.), Hari Prasad Sharma has been making spell-binding paintings. The paintings range from important historical events, lives of the princely peoples, lifestyles of the commoners to beautiful paintings that are admired for the lively facial expressions of his subjects. These paintings make older generations nostalgic with what they witnessed during their childhood or create in younger observers a feeling of pride in their history and help create a Nepalese national identity.
Artist Hari Prasad Sharma’s artistic contribution to Nepalese society and his efforts in preserving Nepalese culture and history have earned him some of the highest awards in Nepalese art: The Madan Bhandari national award, Lalitkala Pragya national award from the President. His solo exhibitions have been widely publicised, visited and admired by the Nepali public and by various dignitaries, including the mayor of Kathmandu, Prime Minister and President of Nepal.
A short biographical documentary has been filmed about the artist’s life and paintings (Itihaas Korne Haatharu, available on Youtube).