#CSQinColor Spotlight: Artist Sneha Shrestha

Have you met Sneha Shrestha, the artist behind the third installment in the #CSQinColor Mural Project? Her gorgeous mural stands tall on the corner of Mass Ave. and Main Street. Learn more about Sneha and the meaning behind her Central Square mural!

“I am originally from Nepal, born and raised in Kathmandu. I received two Bachelor’s degrees from Gettysburg College in Globalization Studies and Studio Art with a concentration in Painting, and then received my Master’s Degree in Arts in Education from Harvard University. I didn’t know I was going to be an art major in college – I never thought of art as a career choice either. Growing up in Nepal, I never met anyone who was an artist, and I realized what a luxury art was in my country plagued by poverty.

I have always made art a part of who I am. Upon graduation, I moved to Boston and worked as the Painting Studio Mentor and Education Coordinator at Artists for Humanity. That’s when I realized the impact art can have on young people and, for the first time ever, was surrounded by working artists who were also my colleagues. It gave me an insight into what it means to be a practicing artist. I was constantly inspired and challenged by them to create new paintings.

Cambridge has been a special place for me ever since I moved to Boston as a new college grad. My first apartment was in Cambridge and after I got a job, I found myself in Graffiti Alley often, painting early in the morning on the weekends. When Mike Monestime asked me to paint one of the most prominent walls in Central Square, I knew this project was going to be one of the most important ones for me yet. Cambridge has played an integral role in the various stages of my life and Central Square has been a huge part of it. This project is full circle for me in a lot of ways.

I hope people realize and appreciate how colorful Central Square is. On my mural, I wrote a quote by a great Nepali poet, which roughly translates to “Success is defined by what’s in your heart, not your background and where you come from.” Success means different things to different people, and my mural speaks to people from all different backgrounds who converge in Central Square. Coming from a culture where ideas of success are strictly defined, I wrestled with understanding it because I chose a non-traditional career path. In time, I realized I consider myself successful because my heart is happy and I am learning and growing everyday.

My hope is that my mural sparks conversations and helps everyone in the area — from families in The Port to the small and big businesses to the students —  appreciate the differences around them and think about what success personally means to them in their various stages of life.

Mural projects are very important because they create access to art. This Mural Project is the first of its kind in Cambridge. A mural project culminates in larger than life bodies of art that create inviting spaces for conversation, dialogue, wonder, and awe. Spaces like these are especially important in places with high diversity. In addition to the art, it should be noted that the process of putting together a mural project is a big feat in itself, bringing together local business owners, artists who are locally and internationally renown, and the City Government of Cambridge. What happens when various stakeholders living in a fast growing community come together? We spark conversations and build understanding and acknowledgement of differing cultures and perspectives.”

— Sneha Shrestha

Follow Sneha on Instagram: instagram.com/imagine876

Learn more about Sneha’s work: imagine876.com