• Creating an Art Gallery / A Beacon of Hope – Interview with Deo Prasad Rai | Sikkim, India

    EAS was pleased to provide a small project grant in support of Deo Prasad Rai’s ambitious project to build an art gallery, from the ground up, in Sikkim, India, where he lives and works. His aim is to showcase the rich artistic and cultural heritage of Sikkim, while also providing a platform for local artists to exhibit work and generate income. The gallery announcement says it all:


    We are excited to announce the opening of the Mud Palace Art Gallery in Sikkim [originally scheduled to take place in October was rescheduled to December 2023 due to flooding in the region].

    Step into a world of captivating Sikkimese allure. The name reflects our commitment to showcasing local charm in a creative and cost-efficient manner. Discover the vibrant essence of Sikkim through
    our carefully curated exhibits. Each brushstroke, sculpture, and photograph tells a visual story that celebrates the rich cultural heritage of this mesmerizing region.

    Whether you're an art collector, traveler, or just seeking inspiration, our friendly staff is here to guide you. Experience the magic of affordable art and immerse yourself in the captivating beauty of Sikkim
    at the Mud Palace Art Gallery.

    Under-building of the gallery


    Estimation made by hand

    EAS: Was building an art gallery a childhood dream or something you envisioned in more recent years? What is your vision for the gallery?

    DPR: While building an art gallery wasn't a childhood dream for me, circumstances pushed me to realize the harsh reality of pursuing an artistic career from a middle-class background. The lack of support and opportunities for creativity seemed daunting, and I knew something had to change. That's when I decided to take matters into my own hands by establishing my own gallery.

    Laying the foundation by clearing the land

    Through this endeavor, I not only aim to financially support my own artistic journey but also create a platform that fosters awareness and inspiration for aspiring artists. My gallery will serve as a space where they can explore and showcase their talents on a global scale, but I won't stop there. I am committed to continuously improving and enhancing the gallery experience for visitors. From engaging features with visitor-friendly ambiance, every detail will be crafted with them in mind. I want everyone who steps into the gallery to be captivated and inspired by the incredible art on display.

    Looking forward, I have even grander plans for the gallery. Once established, I hope to extend its purpose beyond just showcasing art. I envision it hosting charitable events in support of artisans, giving back to the community that fosters creative talents.

    Completion of the slab work

    My ultimate dream is to take my artistic journey beyond borders. I yearn to explore new horizons, learning from different cultures and immersing myself in unique techniques. This international exposure will undoubtedly broaden my artistic skillset and enrich the artistic offerings of my gallery.

    Together, we can transform the limitations that once held us back into opportunities to empower and inspire. I am calling for others to join this thrilling adventure as we build a gallery that is not only visually stunning but also a driving force behind artistic growth and recognition.

    EAS: Will it be primarily an exhibition space or do you imagine doing events, workshops or classes as well?

    DPR: In addition to showcasing and promoting artists, our art gallery will serve as a platform for aspiring artists within our community. For special occasions or important events, we plan to organize exhibitions specifically dedicated to these aspiring talents. 

    Finishing the brick-masonry task

    Furthermore, we hope to collaborate with international art activists to host joint exhibitions that foster global artistic connections and provide exposure to a diverse range of artistic styles and perspectives. This collaboration will not only benefit our local artists, but will also create an enriching experience for our visitors.

    Additionally, we are committed to offering workshops and creative learning opportunities for our community. These workshops will be designed to nurture artistic skills and provide a space for exploration and growth.

    While we do not have a living room within the gallery itself, we have thoughtfully arranged a nearby space that will serve as a welcoming area for artists and visitors. Our main focus is to provide ample gallery space for art exhibitions and other artistic endeavors.

    Completion of ceiling and indoor ceiling plaster

    EAS: What kind of exhibitions would you like to host?

    DPR: Along with our regular exhibition, we have exciting plans to host occasional exhibitions to commemorate special occasions and events. These exhibitions will include celebrations such as World Art Day, gallery anniversary milestones, and periodic adjustments to showcase new artwork.

    Obtaining raw dirt for mud plaster

    Furthermore, we recognize the importance of catering to the interests of tourists visiting our gallery. To ensure they have a memorable experience, we will curate special exhibitions tailored specifically for them, featuring a variety of artistic styles and themes that resonate with different cultures. By hosting these occasional exhibitions, we aim to create a dynamic and engaging atmosphere at our gallery, offering diverse artistic experiences and promoting cultural appreciation throughout the year.

    EAS: How do you imagine the gallery in 5 years? What do you hope its impact will be -for artists, for the local community, and within the larger art world?

    Finishing the Mud plaster

    DPR: Behind this small art gallery lies a grand vision that holds the power to inspire countless artisans. Coming from a humble family background, I have managed to piece everything together to create this gallery. My journey will undoubtedly serve as an inspiration to artists who come from similar beginnings, showing that with determination and passion, they can achieve their dreams.

    Moreover, this gallery’s impact extends beyond the artistic realm. By opening restaurants for tourists and visitors in the vicinity, we not only seek to generate income but also contribute to the well-being of the local community. This creates opportunities for people nearby and helps uplift the entire area economically.

    Finished flooring installation

    Furthermore, the existence of this gallery will act as a shining example for the upcoming generation. They will witness firsthand that pursuing their dreams is possible, even when starting from rural areas or disadvantaged backgrounds. This will empower and encourage them to follow their own passions and strive for their aspirations.

    Finished flooring installation

    We invite others to participate in this extraordinary journey, where a small art gallery transcends its physical limitations and becomes a beacon of hope and inspiration for artists and communities alike. Our gallery is dedicated to nurturing strong relationships with artists and art enthusiasts alike. Our goal for the next five years is to consistently provide opportunities for talented artists, including those from Sikkim, to showcase their incredible work to a broader audience. We will also collaborate with various art promoters, and will assist artists in creating captivating portfolios and contributing to the thriving art scene.

    Please join us in supporting Sikkimese artists and, together, we will elevate their exceptional talent to the global art world!



    Deo Prasad Rai is a realistic fine artist. He is 26 years old and grew up in a rural region of Geyzing, West Sikkim in India where he currently resides and continues to learn from nature, everyday landscapes, and people. He graduated from Sikkim Government College, Gyalshing, and is pursuing his interest in painting landscapes and figurative portraits. He describes his paintings as “a never-ending investigation of the techniques and traditions of past masters.” As a recipient of the COPD Art Contest 2020 by the European Lung FoundationDeo has become the first Sikkimese artist to win an international art competition.