The Himalayan Art Award was established in December 2008 by Margie Thomas. Margie was keen to create the award in memory of renowned travel artist Murray Zanoni, who visited and sketched in the Himalaya throughout his life. The award was a way to honour Murray and his wish to support young struggling Himalayan artists. The inaugural award was provided by Murray’s estate in honour of his legacy.


AHF established a relationship with Sangeeta Thapa of Siddhartha Art Gallery in Kathmandu. As owner and curator, Sangeeta is close to the Nepalese art scene. With Sangeeta’s help, two young Nepalese artists have been chosen on average every two years to take part in the project. The program has been an outstanding success in encouraging contemporary artists in Nepal to flourish.  See more below about the artists who have launched careers after winning!


Some former awardees had also submitted design concepts for AHF’s former partner Kathmandu’s artist series range. Designs from both Kailash Shrestha and  Shraddha Shrestha appeared on the exclusive one off t-shirt series. For every t-shirt sold, part of the proceeds went to AHF programs in Nepal.


2010: Sushma Shakya and Kailash K. Shrestha

Since then: Kailash established an art collective ARTUDIO and was appointed Leading Artist from Nepal for the British Council’s Rivers of the World Project. Sushma teaches art at Trinity International College and has taken part in local and international artist residencies.


2011: Hitman Gurung and Laxman Karmacharya

Since then: Hitman held prestigious exhibitions nationally and internationally. Laxman is engaged in making murals with the Devotee art Group.


2013: Pasang Lama, Anil Shahi and Sujan Dangol

Since then: Pasang’s sales exceeded expectations, supporting the following round of recipients.  Anil teaches at Kathmandu University Centre for Art and Design. Sujan has participated in several international residencies and art events.


2014: Saurganga Darshandhari and Surendra Maharjan

The award was impacted by the Great Earthquakes of 2015 that struck Nepal in April.

Since then: Saurganga exhibited her works in many residencies and is the recipient of the Shakti Art by Women Award. Surendra has taken part in several national exhibitions and is an illustrator for Books for Change.

2015: Awardees journeyed to Solokhumbu to help with earthquake relief.

Supported by the Australian Himalayan Foundation and REED Nepal, the group volunteered their time to conduct art therapy sessions for children at MehandraJyoti Secondary School in Chaurikharka.


2016: Shraddha Shrestha and Kiran Maharjan

Since then: Kiran has participated in arts festivals and residencies. Shraddha worked to design limited edition artist collection t-shirts Kathmandu Outdoors’ 30th anniversary in 2017.


2018: Bidhata KC and Manish Lal Shreshtha

Since then: Both Bidhata and Manish have had solo exhibitions, been part of multiple international residencies and won awards for their work.


This work would not be possible without you. Your ongoing support makes an enormous difference in the communities where we work and the lives of those living in the Himalaya