Dr. Renuka Gurung, PhD, is one of the leading masters of traditional Paubha painting. She completed her doctoral degree at the prestigious, The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, London in 2013. Dr. Gurung was awarded with the David Ciclitira prize by His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, Princes Charles for her outstanding doctoral dissertation titled “Understanding, preserving and transmitting the tradition of Paubhā painting in twenty–first century Nepal.” Recently Dr. Gurung joined The American University of Mayonic Science and Technology, USA, under the professorship of Dr. Jessie Mercay, as a post doctoral fellow in order to deepen her wisdom by studying the foundational knowledge from which the traditional arts arise.
She studied the traditional method of early Paubhā painting with reputed priest Badri Ratna Guruju and learned the Paubhā painting tradition with Mr. Lok Chitrakar at his studio for some years in Nepal.
She has not only acquired sound knowledge in traditional practices of Paubha painting but has equally mastered in skills and techniques of Paubha painting. Apart from her study, she is actively working very hard to preserve and promote Paubha painting tradition within the country and abroad at present. She is instrumental in creating a secure space for Paubha painting nationally and internationally. She believes that the traditional practices of Paubha painting need to be preserved before it disappears from the hands of traditional painters of Nepal. Traditional practices adherers around the sphere of certain spiritual discipline and guidelines (i.e. iconography and iconometry) of certain canonical texts.
At present, entirely different Paubha paintings are available in the local art dealers' shops and even at the contemporary traditional art studios, which could be because of the inclination and interest of traditional painters toward contemporary practices. Such contemporary practices no doubt are a part of ever changing process. However, at the mean time Renuka emphasizes upon the need of reviving and preserving traditional practices of Paubha painting so that Paubha painting retains its glorious identity and respect that it had in the past. For such reasons she shares her knowledge and skills through art classes, workshops and talks with in the country and abroad. She strongly believes that sharing and handing down of wisdom and skills to the deserving and interested students, community members, and individuals is vital in order to keep tradition alive.
She has had some group exhibitions in Nepal, Russia and also had her painting exhibited for the fund raising annual dinner of HRH Prince Charles, Prince of Wales who is the Patron of The Prince's School of Traditional Art (PSTA) in London.