Harendra Kushwaha was born in a small village in the Terai foothills of Nepal, along the border with India. A latecomer to professional art, he studied art at Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata on an Indian Council of Cultural Relations scholarship, completing his graduation in 2013 and post-graduation in 2015.
Kushwaha’s art is constructed from paper which he cuts painstakingly into wafer-thin strips, colours with graphite or pigment, and sometimes weaves or stitches with cotton thread. This process of immersive making is intrinsic to Kushwaha’s practice, which is rooted in the local – the remote village in Nepal where he grew up before moving to Kolkata to study and make art, and where his family still lives. Often, his paper relief sculptures evoke the textures or contours of the Nepal countryside – the terrace farms which form ridges along the Terai hills, the straggly hay laid out to dry under the roof, the matted walls of humble village homes, and so on. Even the paper Kushwaha uses is hand-made in Nepal.
Kushwaha was the recipient of the prestigious CIMA award in 2017.