Sculpting and saving by Sikuma Rai


Keshar Tamang, 33, is cooped up in a small corner in his rented room in Lalitpur hammering away. He nails, cleans, files to make foot-high Bajrapan and Bajrakila Buddha copper sculptures. These statues are exported to Tibet but the last few months of the pandemic have been hard for his business.

Tamang works in a bigger company that has larger investments elsewhere, so he can continue to work for a while. “The industry is hanging by a thread, I am grateful to have work and we have been told to continue work with the hope that when the world heals, the company can start to sell immediately,” says Tamang, “Otherwise, the entire sculpture-making industry is hanging by a thread,” says Tamang. Regular work does not mean Tamang is getting paid for all the work he has delivered. He has finished seven sets of sculptures but has only received 20 per cent of the payment.

Over the last year, Tamang and his wife have been cutting personal costs here and there and saving. “Last year, my brother fell ill and passed away suddenly,” says Tamang, “We did what we could to save him, but I felt that if I had a little more saving, we could have done more.” So Tamang and his wife started saving, and their decision has made a big difference during the pandemic. “We are the company we keep, I am fortunate to have a job and live with my wife who understands the value of saving for rainy days,” adds Tamang.

Multimedia and Text: Sikuma Rai: @sikuma_rhiannon

Copy Edit: Nisha Rai @nishastoryteller

Edit: Mallika Aryal @mikaness

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