Herbs, Spice and Everything Nice

Works by Niva Parajuli

Vista Gallery

On view July 2- September 18, 2021

Artist Statement

In this series, I explore the phenomenon of migration and acculturation using herbs, spices and plaster.

In my studio, I mix spices and herbs used in domestic Nepali cooking with plaster and water. I knead, spread and lather the mix onto various platforms or mold. While the mixture cures, it becomes a form that retains the essence of its subcomponents and yet is uniquely itself. The exothermic reaction between water and plaster activates the aroma from within the spices and creates the ambience of a fragrant Nepali kitchen.

The process of making these pieces is similar to that of cooking. I throw in spices and ingredients, “according to personal taste”, a common vernacular used in Nepalese recipes. The goal is to re-create and commemorate the celebratory ritual that cooking often is.

The spices also suggest migration, assimilation of cultures, and blended embodiment. Through trade, colonialism and now globalization, spices primarily grown and used in South Asia, have been spread throughout the globe. Currently, they are embedded in culinary practices across the world. This has resulted in cuisines that symbolize the coalescence of cultures.

Another aspect of this work that I’d like to highlight is the smell associated with spices and herbs. Smell is a fascinating property that has the capability of entering a foreign space and immersing into it. In these pieces, the smell was pretty strong in the beginning but faded gradually with time. This urges one to ponder on the losses and gains that follow the process of migration and acculturation.

Artist Bio

Niva Parajuli has been an actively working artist for the past two years. His work has been exhibited in several group and juried shows in the greater DFW area, including Gallery West at The University of Texas at Arlington; 500X in Dallas, TX; Frost Tower Fort Worth, TX; and Fort Works Art, Fort Worth, TX. He has collaborated with various artists in Dallas, TX and Fargo, ND to work on public art murals. In 2020, Niva was a recipient of the Doolin and Jones student fund at Southern Methodist University.

Niva Parajuli is an MFA candidate at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He was born and raised in Kathmandu, Nepal where he lived until he achieved his high school degree and moved to the United States for higher education in 2012. Niva completed his BFA in Painting from University of Texas in Arlington in 2020.

"Rice and Lentil 2020," 15”x12” Plaster, Turmeric, Coriander, Paprika, Glue