Kathmandu was described by early expats as an ‘emerald valley’. During the monsoon, terrace paddy fields and forested hills carpeted the basin in verdant shades of green. Today, there is barely any green spaces left. But in a small way, Spanish artist Iñigo Iriarte is out to change that. ‘Indi’, as the Pamplona native likes to be called, paints walls with a palette of living plants.
His geotextile canvas is a moist fabric wall alive with leaves and roots, flowers and fruits, water, air and colonies of tiny living creatures. The vertical gardens are living art with broad strokes of a variety of green and tufts of vivid moss, daubs of purple, orange or white where flowers have bloomed.
Iriarte borrows heavily from expressionist tendencies when he paints on stretched canvas. Similarly, these living compositions speak of the artist’s dual love for the city and nature, but also of how they struggle to coexist. Iriarte moved to Kathmandu two years ago with his wife and found reasons and an opportunity here to venture beyond his indoor paint-and-canvas studio into open space. He is the founder of Nepal Vertical Gardens.