Coming this fall to the Western Gallery: 'Himalaya To Cascadia: Transcending Boundaries' by Jyoti Duwadi

The Western Gallery at Western Washington University will present a retrospective exhibition titled "Himalaya To Cascadia: Transcending Boundaries" by the artist Jyoti Duwadi from Sept. 27 through Dec. 9, 2023.

The exhibition showcases a wide range of Duwadi´s artworks, representing all aspects of his 50-year-long career. His bookworks will be shown alongside large installations and sculptures. Duwadi’s work reflects openness to chance discoveries in a wide array of media.

"Earth, Silajit" by Jyoti Duwadi; Duwadi often draws inspiration from aboriginal pictographs and cave paintings for his pieces.

Duwadi experiments with an extensive variety of ordinary, discarded objects and natural materials gathered from around the world. For his recent sculptures, he uses hand-woven bamboo mats from his native Nepal, but also recycled industrial sanding belts that he shapes and makes his own with his personal calligraphy. In his installations, Duwadi often creates multi-sensory, contemplative spaces incorporating aroma, singing bowls and hand-made copper vessels with elements of earth, water and fire.

Born and raised in Nepal, Duwadi draws inspiration from Tibetan Buddhist and Hindu spirituality. Shamanism and the artistic rituals that he absorbed while growing up inform the rich palette of colors and Tantric geometries in much of his work. His later exposure to Western artists has also informed Duwadi’s art and inspired him to bring together the aesthetic and spiritual values of South Asian culture and contemporary Western art. Other influence and inspirations include molecular and galactic imagery, cave paintings, aboriginal pictographs, and Egyptian hieroglyphs. The rhythm, syncopation and improvisational aspects of jazz guide his compositions.

Born into a family of progressive and politically active poets and writers, Duwadi was introduced early to the potential of creativity to catalyze positive change. His grandfather, Dharanidhar Koirala (1893-1980), was a renowned poet and teacher who championed the Nepali language and inspired social reforms through his poetry. Duwadi’s father, Dhruba Duwadi, a writer and political activist, served seven years as a political prisoner in a Nepali jail for his progressive beliefs during the period of Rana rule. Duwadi’s mother, Indira Duwadi, was also a remarkable woman, who received a degree in Liberal Arts during a time when women had few opportunities to obtain a higher education.

After attending college in Darjeeling, India, Duwadi came to the United States to study Political Science. Upon completing his Ph.D., he turned to art and has, like his family before him, sought to inspire change, particularly in environmental consciousness. Duwadi’s empathy for the natural world and the practice of Sadhana, a meditative approach to creativity, animates the work and suggests a deep connection between all living things and forces in the universe. The precariousness of this connection is a common theme in Duwadi’s art.

Duwadi has crossed many borders in his career, living in places with distinct cultural traditions: Kathmandu, Nepal; Darjeeling and Varanasi, India; Los Angeles, California; New York City; Chapel Hill, North Carolina; and now Bellingham, Washington. He has created art that reflects the uniqueness of each region, most recently the Pacific Northwest. His Bellingham studio faces the Canadian Coastal mountains, which early explorers compared to the Himalayas—whose sublime vistas Duwadi grew up with and which helped develop his close affinity to the natural world.

The exhibition is curated by Barbara Matilsky.

The Western Gallery will be open to the public during the exhibition. There is no admission. Exhibition hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. Parking information is available at and bus schedules are available at

"Shamel, Ash Wood," (1990) by Jyoti Duwadi