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Ragini Upadhaya Grela (b. 1961) is one of Nepal’s internationally best-known and foremost artists, with over 60 solo shows, national and international exhibitions and collections held by museums and private collectors globally (The World Bank acquired five of her works for its global collection of prominent artists in 2015). She has been appointed Chancellor of the Nepal Academy of Fine Arts, a four year post held by highly accomplished and recognized artists. She is a feminist, a political activist and art is her medium to question, stir, shock on issues she cares deeply about – women’s rights, corruption, equity, environmental disaster. Her art is a running social and political commentary on the world around us. Ragini mixes symbols from Hindu and Buddhist mythologies with contemporary themes of climate change, poor governance, etc. Swans and lotuses symbolize education, peace and enlightenment; snakes - desire; elephants - power; and peacocks, birds and clouds depict a woman's dreams and freedom.“Our society believes that boys are more worthy of an education and of freedom but my father always comforted me.  He used to say that to achieve anything in life I have to be like an elephant - big, strong and powerful.” And so each morning she paints a trishul (trident) on her brow symbolizing that the strength of a woman is not to be underestimated.

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