– By Natasha Jade
Two years ago I spent six months in Nepal, volunteering, studying yoga and painting. During my time in the country I sketched the great Maju Deval temple in Kathmandu that has now been destroyed to the recent 7.8 magnitude earthquake. When I returned to London I created a large oil painting of the temple and it is this painting that I have just auctioned, raising £870 for the Save the Children Nepal Earthquake appeal.
Now that I am back in London, it seems strange to me that I kept my painting of the Maju deval temple in my room for almost two years without even taking a photo. When I read about the earthquake that had devastated the country that means so much to me, I realised that auctioning my painting was a way that I could give something back to this inspirational country and its people.
My experience in Nepal was quite amazing and unique to my journey and me. When I was on the plane coming over from India I met amazing people including one lady who invited me back to her house and let me stay there for my first few days in the country. They were a really wonderful openhearted family. When I arrived in Nepal I could almost feel myself relax as I left the chaos of India. One security guard actually looked at me and said; “it’s OK, you’re in Nepal now” as I left the plane.
While volunteering in a school in the east of Nepal I had many strange experiences including taking two of the younger orphans to the local prison to see their mothers, the meeting began with a feast that the female inmates had prepared. At one point I had to repeat a rendition of ‘the cup” with my accordion for 200 Nepali children and their parents in a very isolated village near the border of China.
I also spent some time living just outside Pokhara with a community of people nestled in the foothills on the Annapurna range. It was during this time I was able to really absorb the beauty and the silence of the country. I felt safe and inspired and so extremely welcome. Maybe this was why as an artist I felt so compelled to paint.
Like a lot of people who have traveled in Nepal, I have many stories. This country offered me so much love and warmth. Nepal has a very big heart, which is displayed in the eyes of each and every person I met. The country has a special soul, a soul that is unique, kind and forgiving.
Natasha Jade is a British artist based in East London. After a year and a half of immersing herself in the culture of India, Nepal, Turkey and Brazil she now resides in Hackney, London. To view her portfolio, visit Natasha Jade’s website and blog. Follow Natasha Jade on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.