Nepal politics Feed

Live from Kathmandu! Bandhs and shop signs

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I came across this old Beware of the Dog sign that features a handsome black labrador.   You can see the stencilled sign that has replaced all of the old charming ones!

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This fancy beware of the dog sign is almost like one from Burma!  The owner of this sign confided that there is no dog at the house.

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There was a nationwide 'chakra bandh' yesterday, meaning that no wheeled traffic was allowed throughout the country and that most stores and businesses were closed.   I came across this lovely hand-painted sign as I walked the streets of Kathmandu.  

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This mural of an Enfield Motorcycle was also on my route.

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Is this supposed to be Madonna?   I like this beauty shop sign very much.

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Early in the day, the streets around Boudha were deserted.   It is definitely an inconvenience for the locals, but makes walking much less dusty for us.  

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Lucky the Dog does not seem to mind the bandh.

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Oscar the Pug is hand painted on metal by Sagar, Megh Raj and Dilip (clockwise from top left).   The owner chose Megh Raj's portrait with the elongated front legs.   This is what you can expect when you commission your own pet as a Danger Dog from Nepal.   3 artists get work and you get 3 choices!

How to commission YOUR pet's portrait on metal:

Now is the time to order:   Be ahead of the Pack!   I am in Nepal right now giving photos to the artists.

1. Please send me a photo of your pet.  I will give it to three different artists, giving you a choice of 3 paintings and three people will get work.   Each painting is about one square foot and is on metal with synthetic enamel paint.   These can be hung indoors or out.

2. Let me know what you would like it to say.

3. Let me know what style of portrait you would prefer:   naive, realistic, colorful, etc.

4. Tell me your pet's name and breed.   

5. Send your photo to me at:   ampage1@gmail.com 
That's it !

Satisfaction is guaranteed as I accept no money up front.   If you do not like one of the three, you pay nothing, and the 3 artists are paid in full in any case.   Let me know what you want it to say and that's it!

 

The cost is $250 plus shipping.   Shipping is around $18 per sign (to and from the US).   And 9.75% California sales tax for California residents.  
Pay after choosing your portrait. 
Multiple pets on one sign cost more ($325 for Double, $400 for Triple).

 

Let's keep these artists painting.

 

This hand-painted art form is fast disappearing in Kathmandu, as it already has in most parts of the world.   I pay fair trade wages, the artists get to paint again, pet lovers get a choice of three paintings for each commission, and I get to help Nepali artists make a living.   Everybody is happy.   Rescue dogs from America get to rescue artists from Nepal!

 


Father's Day in Nepal

Many of the Nepal Art Dog project's artists are fathers.

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Shree Laimachhain and his wife, Bimala, in their shop.  

Shree is about to 'go out' to South Korea, a euphemism for leaving the country for an extended period to work to support his family.    It is a 3-year contract -- the first 6 months’ salary will go directly to the Manpower agency that recruited him.   While he was sad to leave his family, he is philosophical about it and hope that it will guarantee better education for his family in the future.

Currently 26% of Nepal's GNP (Gross National Product) is generated by this remittance money coming from countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Malaysia and South Korea.   Often these workers are not given the monies that they are promised when they arrive in their chosen country -- they have their passports confiscated and become basically slave laborers.   I certainly hope that this is not the case for Shree.

Shree has been trying to 'go out' to South Korea for 3 years now and has finally gotten the okay.   He has spent a lot of time and money already for Korean language lessons and travel back and forth from Pokhara to Kathmandu, etc.   He has friends that are already there and this gives me hope that he will be well-treated while in South Korea. 

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Shree's son, Anup, will become the head of the household at age 14, taking care of his mother and sister (holding Shree's portrait of Yuki the Shibu Inu).

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This is Shree on the day that I met him in 2007, on my second Danger Dog trip.  

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Also from 2007, Shree and his family.   Shree's wife Bimala sells vegetables from the studio to supplement the family income.

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Shree Laimachhain - a self portrait.

Shree will not be painting his lovely folk art while there but will be hired as an agricultural worker.  He says that he intends to learn good work habits from the South Koreans.

It makes me sad that Shree can make a better living in the fields of South Korea than he can painting.

I’m going to miss him, but not as much as his family will.

 

Shree is the fourth artist that the Danger Dogs art project has lost to this phenomenon since starting this project in 2007.   You can read more about the effects that 'going out' have on Nepal in a recent article in the Kathmandu Post by Barbara Adams.   The article also details a novel program called "Youth Volunteers Nepal" that aims to halt the exodus of young people - fathers or otherwise - and help the people of Nepal at the same time.  

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Max and Ernie by Shree Laimechhain 2010

The cheerful smiles, the delicate feet, Ernie's white lips, those tails -- this portrait is wonderful.   Shree often puts the dogs in green pastures.   Originally from a village 5 hours north of Lake Begnas, you can see his bucolic roots in this one.

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Molly the Scottie by Shree Laimachhain 2010 

Shree had just moved his studio (the third move since 2007) and had repainted a lot of it with this striped background.   I guess Molly inspired him to do the same.

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Like many of the signboard artists, Shree cleans his brushes on the walls.   Doodling almost.   You can see more walls on an earlier post entitled Artist Walls in Nepal.  You can see where Molly background comes from.

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Kahuna the Zen Pug by Shree Laimachhain  2009

This portrait of a pug is very typical of Shree's color palette.   This one is available at NewStoneAgela.com.   Tell Frannie Michelle sent you!

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Sophie the White Poodle by Shree Laimachhain   2009

Shree has fun with the dogs' jewelry and his Danger Dog subjects seem happy.

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Barred Rock Hen by Shree Laimachhain  2009

Shree's style morphs from year to year.   I can tell which year each portrait was painted just by their varied background.  I could tell Shree was having hard times in 2009, so I left an order for this chicken and told him I would pick up next trip.  He had 5 months to paint this.  There's no way of telling how much time he spent, but I can definitely see some planning went into it. 

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Grace Kelly the Enlightened Buff Orpington by Shree Laimachhain  2009

This seems to be the first portrait where Shree is moving toward his newer style.  Ginger (Grace's nickame) literally glows with a golden halo.  

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Dangers Chihuahua by Shree Laimachhain  2007

This early piece mimicks the paintings that I found on his wall the day I found him.   To this day, Shree has extra art on his walls.   Not born to an artist family as is common in Nepal, he paints because he loves it.

 


Danger Dogs from Nepal

Yesterday a 'chakra jam' or strike not allowing any private or public vehicles on the road was called, causing havok for businesses and problems for anyone trying to get anywhere!

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While it is a major discomfort for the people in the Kathmandu Valley, Dan and I use it as an excuse to wander into new neighborhoods without the incredible noise and dust that the traffic generates.   We were lucky to find this big and bright Danger Dog near Jorpati.   Signboards like this one were the inspiration for this Fair Trade art project.   They are disappearing fast.  101_2341
Bruiser is a lucky dog that lives on a farm and roots around in all sorts of fragrant stuff, hence the stinky appelation.   Be assured that he is well loved in any case.   Here is his finished portrait by Sagar.

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This double portrait of Posey and Scooter is also by Sagar.   Sagar signs his work in Japanese with a chop that means Ocean in Japanese.  Sagar is Ocean in Nepali.

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Lastly, we have Ozzie, an Amazing Dog, as painted by Sagar.   Ozzie sports his Burberry scarf.   Sagar's art is on recycled metal.

More tomorrow!   Stay tuned.

To find out more about the Danger Dog project, go to NepalDog.com.

This Fair Trade art project was started to preserve the fast disappearing signboard art in Nepal.   By promoting this art I hope to make it possible for these fine artists to continue their work in this digital age.

These paintings are all approximately one square foot, painted with synthetic enamel and can be hung indoors or out.

I will be returning to Nepal later this year for holiday orders.

Give someone you love a portrait of someone they love!   Make it a Danger Dog Christmas!

 


Danger Dogs of the Venice Art Walk

This year you will get the chance to bid on Danger Dog Diptychs at the 31st Venice Art Walk.

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Punam of Pokhara painted this romantic version of Cheeto and Scooter -- 2 tabbies from Riverside.

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Another version of the same lovely cats by Jit Gurung of Munal Arts.   These two will be offered at the Venice Art walk as a diptych.  

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NT Arts of Beni painted this sweet puppy.   Part one of a diptych.

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Here is the same puppy, by Sagar, with a decidedly different spin.   Part 2 of the diptych.

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Gabby on a hike by Sanjib Rana, part one of the diptych and...

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Gabby by Sabala part 2.   Gabby seems happily exhausted after her hike in the Malibu hills.

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Punam from the resort town of Pokhara painted this Pirate Dog.   Desi is a Havanese puppy.

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Desi the Havanese puppy by Sagar.   Part 2 of that diptych.

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Another cat diptych begins with Cruiser by Ram Krishna.  

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Cruiser part 2 by Karma.  

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Above is a single poodle.   I could not resist this Spiritual Dog by Sufraj Khadka.   Louis was recently featured in a post by an Indian humorist.   Nepal recently passed a non-discrimination law in favor of gays, lesbians, transgenders.   Even same sex marriage is allowed.   This is unusual in this part of the world and shows how progressive Nepal can be.

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And who could resist this painting of Bo Obama by Sabala.   I was lucky enough to watch the first layer being painted on a rooftop in Maharajgunj on a hot fall day.   You can watch the process on my YouTube Channel here.

Please bid on these folk art pieces from Nepal.   You will be helping the Venice Family Clinic as well as the Nepali artists!   Join us this Sunday May 23 at the Westminster School and bid!


Back in Santa Monica and settled in

I made it!   


When you last left me, I was a bit of a damsel in distress, not knowing whether I'd make it to the airport or not.

It was quite an adventure!   Everyone told me that things would clear up 'probably' by 6 pm, but I had to get back and couldn't miss the exhibit last night at the Santa Monica Museum of Art.   And today is my husband's birthday.  


I called a well-connected Nepali friend and he suggested that I call the Hyatt (closest luxury hotel to Boudha - where I stay) and see if the government run shuttle would pick me up.   I called them at 5:30, they passed the buck and finally I got someone that said that the bus would be there at 6pm only.   So I immediately arranged for a 'coolie' to carry my two bags to be checked.   Each weighed exactly 32 Kilos for a total of 64 Kilos or 100 pounds.    This little skinny guy showed up, and carried my bags the 2 kilometers to the Hyatt, with me following close behind with my pet luggage and two purses trailing.  

Luckily, I knew the back entrance to the Hyatt, saving him a couple of steps and amazing him as we walked past the beautiful pool area and through the terrace, up the elevator with its copper plated doors.   He was amazed to see himself in the mirror in the elevator and basically looked around him like a kid at Disneyland.   His pace had noticeably slowed as we moved through the grounds and the high-ceiling, spotless and perfectly appointed hotel.    We get to the front area, I pay the equivalent of 3 days wages (I didn't mind a bit - the guy deserved it), and he politely asks the concierge if he can walk back the way he came.   I watched him disappear with his neck craning to see everything.  


I'm a hard one to impress and I think it is one of the most beautiful hotels in the world.    He seemed to like it, too.

When I arrived at the Hyatt at 5:55 pm (5 minutes early), there were absolutely no cars or even hotel guests in the lobby.      At precisely 6:15, the taxis and buses started to arrive.   Of course, the Tourist bus didn't show up until 6:40, and the bellman kept trying to get me to take a taxi.      Finally the bus arrived, I was the only tourist on it, though there were about 7 armed policemen and the driver.  

Made it with plenty of time to spare.  

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Outside the Boudha Gate.   No cars running on the street.   Not sure if this was a celebration or a protest.

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The last supper.   Wouldn't be a trip to Nepal without at least one Shapale - a Tibetan treat.   It's a delicate pastry stuffed with spiced buffalo meat and served with at least two hot sauces.   The dark red sauce was mild, and the orange sauce was deliciously hot and spicy (piru in Nepali).   This was at Bir Restaurant, just off the main road to Boudha.   Filled with a lively cast of characters - including a man with his prospective mail order bride and her giggling 9-year-old daughter, all three meeting for the first time.   Never a dull moment in Kathmandu.

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Is there a luckier puppy in the world than one born to be a 'Butcher Shop Puppy'?  

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This Danger Dog is on his last legs.   He reminds me of Jack by Dilip.   Something about the eyes.

I miss Kathmandu already.   While I'm happy to see Dan again, I already miss the chaos, the colors, the constant stimulation that is Nepal.   Santa Monica is nice (and clean) but it is not Nepal.   Thank goodness (probably).