Duprat is a respected artist in Brazil with many international exhibitions, and has managed to not just combine two professions, but use his nomadic diplomatic job to influence his paintings with the landscapes and cultures of the places where he has been posted.
At age 67, Duprat says he had returned to Brazil after serving in Tokyo and Washington and other capitals to finally settle down, take care of his family duties, work on paintings, and help set up a diplomatic museum in Rio de Janeiro.
"When the call from my minister came about opening an embassy in Kathmandu, I almost said no," Duprat admits, "I felt it was just too much of a challenge. But within two hours, I had called back and said yes."
But Duprat did not arrive in Kathmandu all starry eyed, ready to be awed by Shangri La. He started reading up on Nepal, getting briefings and he knew that it was a country in the throes of dramatic change and buffeted by change.
In the past year, as he passes the demolition along Lazimpat road every day, amidst all the rubble his artist's eye sees fleeting examples that the people of Kathmandu are still "linked to the old life, and their psyche is still stable".
But, says Duprat: "As much as you see the beauty all around, you see the beauty in danger. You see the architecture, the temples, the river, and you see so much that should be beautiful, but isn't."
Being a painter also helps Duprat in his work, and allows him to meet Nepali writers, artists, sculptors, and photographers which ambassadors usually wouldn't otherwise. But he does have to drag himself away from the hectic social circuit to work on his own paintings, which he usually does in the evenings.
Duprat's paintings have a narrative of the interplay of light, and how it pervades the landscape outside and inside. Which is why many of his paintings are of wide-open windows, narrow doors, and entrances letting in only a chink of light. And then there are the landscapes of the mind, where Duprat explores how light interacts with water, pebbles, air, clouds, mountains, and horizons. The canvases almost emit a light of their own, they are still life and yet they have a graceful fluidity.
Duprat's technique is velatura where artists use layer upon layer of paint which partly obscures the underlying paint, giving the works a misty, blurry effect that has a dreamlike quality.
Says Duprat: "Kathmandu Valley is blessed with a high level of refinement of the arts. The casting, woodwork, textiles all have an amazing sense of colour and design. Newari architecture has that delicate touch, it's not monumental and overpowering, but aesthetic and built to a human scale."
Asked if he will be having an exhibition in Kathmandu soon, Duprat says: "Paintings have a life of their own. As images, they come to life when they are seen by the viewer. I would love to share my work with the Nepali public and I am working on the details of an exhibition in Kathmandu next year."
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