Sangeeta Thapa and internationally recognized artist, Shashikala Tiwari, established Siddhartha Art Gallery on September the 27th, 1987 as a contemporary art space and meeting point for artists from Nepal and abroad. In 1997, the Gallery relocated to the magnificent Baber Mahal Revisited complex. The Siddhartha Art Gallery has been active in the promotion of contemporary Nepalese art and has strived to introduce international perspectives in art, to the Kathmandu community. Over the years artists from India, Pakistan, The Netherlands, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Syria, Palestine, Afghanistan, South Africa, Mauritius, Taiwan, China, Jordan, Canada, France, Austria, Australia, Finland, Aruba, Curacao, Cuba, Iran, Italy, Malaysia, Japan, China along with the Autonomous Region of Tibet, Korea, Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States have held their exhibitions at the Gallery.
Over the last twenty four years the Gallery has organized more than 315 exhibitions.Some have been land mark events: the retrospective exhibitions by the late Amar Chitrakar, Karna Narsingh Rana, Shashikala Tiwari, Ragini Upadhya-Grela, Uttam Nepali, Shashi Shah and the lateTej Bahadur Chitrakar. The Siddhartha launched ‘Celebrating Line’, the first ever exhibition of drawings in the capital, a powerful anti-conflict exhibition by the eminent artist from Pokhara, Durga Baral and an exhibition by the celebrated Bombay based artist Laxman Shreshta. The Gallery has also organized exhibitions of Nepali artists in London, India and in Pakistan.
In addition, the Siddhartha Art Gallery has held exhibitions of up and coming artists, photographic exhibitions, organized workshops in ceramics and printmaking, and has conducted slideshows and lectures by visiting artists. Installation art and new media experiments have also been represented at the Gallery. Community art projects such as Khulla Dhoka, Nirantar Khulla Dhoka brought together artists, poets and individuals from different ethnic, religious and social backgrounds to express the need for dialogue at a time when the nation was going through a political impasse. At present, the Gallery is collaborating with GTZ, and is working on its third community art project “Whose City is this?”
The Siddhartha Art Gallery believes that culture is an important component of development and co-ordinates special events that brings together artists, writers and musicians. The Gallery focuses on a myriad areas such as socio-cultural and political issues, as it believes that art can play a significant role in shaping national and international perceptions -The Siddhartha Art Gallery projects itself as a Gallery that has a conscience and is committed to social responsibility.
The Gallery has organized book launches, poetry reading, lectures, musical concerts and fund raising events alongside its Exhibitions.Over the years the Siddhartha Art Gallery has donated Rs.30,000 to the Red Cross Earthquake Relief Fund, Rs.50,000 to the renovation of the Krishna Mandir in Patan, Rs.10,000 towards the construction of the Maternity Ward for Underprivelded Mothers in Prasutigriha Hospital, Rs.7,000 to the Ganesh Foundation for cleft palette surgery, Rs.10,000 towards the renovation of the Tumbaha Narayan Temple in Patan, and Rs.65,353 to Shree Nepal Rastriya Madhyamik Bidyalaya, Dumwara, Bahra-a school for the visually impaired. Since 2009 the gallery has been arranging one year scholarship to the recent arts graduate student of Bachelor is Fine Arts from Australian Himalayan Foundation.
The Gallery conducts its programs in the Baber Mahal Revisited Courtyard Complex, Kathmandu Contemporary Arts Centre, in the National Association of Fine Arts, the Arts Council, Patan Museum, Kathmandu University Department of Fine Art and Design, Bhaktapur and has also conducted several art projects in various hotels:Hotel de l’ Annapurna, Everest Hotel, Soaltee Oberoi, Hyatt Regency, Bhanchaaghar, Imago de’ Gallery and Café Mitra. The Gallery also has some publications to its credit: Khulla Dhoka, Nirantar Khulla Dhoka and a volume of poems by the poet Buddhisagar, Rajya Laxmi Rana. With a stress on quality, Siddhartha Art Gallery offers its service – in evaluation and restoration – to serious collectors and buyers of contemporary Nepalese art. The Gallery also provides online art exhibitions as a part of its service to the arts. ‘Investing in Creativity’- is the Gallery’s motto.