Friday, 10th March 2017 is the opening of the long-awaited next exhibition at my very favourite hotel in KTM. My friends Thomas & Anette TIngstrup are back in town and, together with their great team, busy with the preparations of “Bardo by Aditya Aryal”. 5 years ago was their first art exhibition with Nepalese Art – the group show NoNameNoThemeJustArt with works by the most talented young artists they found at the time.
Friday March 10th Kathmandu gets a chance to see Aditya’s new works. As always the opening is a celebration – of art, creativity, humanity and love. Like in all other Art @ Tings celebrations it will be an evening with snacks, music, art lovers and drinks from their friends at Gorkha Brewery
Thomas Tingstrup: “It has been fantastic to follow the artists from that show. To see their progress here in Kathmandu, to show their works at Tings and to see how their art conquer the world. We even have the privilege to be able to help some of the artists getting their art exposed outside Nepal.”
Thomas Tingstrup: “Aditya Aryal is not only the first Nepalese artist we met back 2011. His works are among the first (of many) we bought and he is the first artist we managed to get to Europe. Not because he comes from a developing country but because he is as talented as his contemporary colleagues in other countries.In 2015 he was one of the 10 artists from all over the world invited to 5th Viborg International Billboard Painting Festival in Denmark – an event he almost missed because of the EQ, but managed to overcome with flexibility and help from the involved embassies, the galleries and our friends.”
Earlier photo of Thomas and Aditya, conversing in the streets of Kathmandu
What is special about the new exhibit?
Thomas Tingstrup: “With Bardo Aditya re-interprets the Buddhist concept of the transitional state between two lives on earth as a time-related idea of letting go and a spiritual connection to one’s mind. In his Bardo paintings Aditya Aryal is questioning not only his position in relation to those essential binaries, but also the constellations of contemporary Nepali society. Through a connective web of Tibetan imagery and references to Thanka traditioncombined with Western influences in technique and composition, the artist contributes an alternate vision of reality represented in his idea of Bardo.
Aditya: the artist at work
What is new about Aditya?
Thomas Tingstrup: “In june 2017 Aditya will return to Europe for the 3rd time. In contrast to his chaotic first appearance on the European art scene, this time Aditya is prepared.He will bring his Bardo collection of the brand new art works he has been creating since his return from his 2nd European visit in 2016.
The works are impressing – they show an artist that has grown and matured personally as well as technically. They show an artist with reflexions and visions. And they show an artist who is ready to take over the world and dig deeper in his local culture at the same time. We’re proud to present Bardo by Aditya Aryal
For more info on TINGS LOUNGE HOTEL:
My absolute favourite hotel: TINGS, a jewel just off Lazimpat Road:
For more info on Aditya:
For more info on earlier exhibits at TINGS:
Sneha Shrestha graffiti art exhibit opens at TINGS HOTEL!
Now at TINGS: fabulous small frog sculptures of MZN Shrawan
Please enjoy this fine interview, reposted from EnglishOnlineKhabar, which lets us meet the curator of KT 2017 and learn more about his professional upbringing in Belgium and his work for and with contemporary art of Nepal.
“Kathmandu Triennale is my tribute to the city and the artist: Philippe Van Cauteren”
By Devendra Gautam, published Friday, February 17th, 2017 12:29 PM
Philippe Van Cauteren is the curator of Kathmandu Triennale (2017), a non-commercial, art initiative of Siddhartha Arts Foundation, which aims to promote Nepali arts and culture.
Devendra Gautam caught up with Cauteren, artistic director of Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst in Ghent, Belgium, to talk about his journey as a curator, the Nepali and global artscape, the mega quake, Guernica, expectations from the event and the emergence of Nepal as an international arts hub. Excerpts from the interview.
First of all, I would like to know about your journey as a curator. How did it begin?
It’s a long journey. It’s not 200 years old, but it’s a long journey (laughs).
It has been smooth all along?
It’s never smooth. It should not be smooth. Well, it goes back to when I was a young boy; 8-9 years old.
I went to visit the museum of fine arts in Antwerp in Belgium with my parents. I was a small boy and it was a huge building. I visited it and saw artworks from the 13th, 14th, 15th, 17th, 19th and 20th centuries. Of course, I did not know what I saw. I did not know if it was art or whatever it was. But seeing it, I was deeply impressed.
I saw things realistically painted like flowers painted as real as real flowers. Then I saw other things — of fingers being deformed with hands three times as big as in reality, so on and so forth. I did not know what was happening to me. But one thing I knew. While leaving the building, I said to my father: That’s what I want to do with my life. That’s it.
Apparently, there are people, who dedicate their life making paintings and sculptors. This had an incredible impact on me. By using colour and form and lines and certain way of painting things, you could communicate something, you could speak to someone, you could touch someone, you could open someone’s mind, you could give some ideas to the person, without using language, without speaking. By making images, you could do that.
So, to make the long journey a bit shorter, then I started to paint myself as a young boy. My parents were not very happy with that. They were thinking: Oh no! He will become an artist!
Did it have something to do with financial insecurity?
Maybe. It is like a life you don’t know whether will work or not. It was in the mid-70’s. Being an artist was not valued back then. You were more like an outsider if you wanted to become an artist. Then I told myself: Ok, when I cannot become an artist, maybe I have to become someone who can help artists. I had never heard of the word ‘curator’ till then but I had heard of the word ‘artistry’. So, I wanted to study artistry at the university in Ghent.
Again, my parents did not allow me because they thought that with artistry, I will never find a job in the world. Artists in Belgium were unemployed. They were doing something else, working in banks, doing other things. But as I am a bit stubborn, I studied artistry.
While I was studying, I called the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Ghent, the city where I am living. I called the director to say: Listen, I heard you are in trouble. And I asked: Do you need help? The next day, he said I could start working in the museum. Man, this is incredible! I felt. Suddenly, I can be really close to the artwork, I thought. It was contemporary art.
When you are 16, you don’t necessarily understand what you see. But I was always convinced of one thing: If someone makes something as an artist, you have to trust the person. Even if what the artist does looks very simple, looks very easy to do, you know, there’s a reason he or she does it. There’s a kind of motivation behind it.
I was always defending contemporary artists to friends, who had a more classical understanding and taste of arts. Then I started to work in the museum, but not as a curator, not as an art historian. I started working in the museum as a carpenter, as a guard, as a cleaning man and as a librarian.
Only gradually, I had the occasion to host the first exhibition. It was with Marina Abramovich. She is 70 years old now. She can be called the godmother of performance art. She can be called one of the top 10 or 20 most important artists in the world. She is from former Yugoslavia, now living in New York. And as a young guy (25-26 years old), I had to make an exhibition with her with her monuments. This was my first practice as a curator.
But I always had a kind of double feeling with the idea of curating. As you might now, the word ‘curator’ comes from the word ‘curare’ in Latin. And ‘curare’ means to ‘care for’, which means to help, to give feedback, to give support to artists. Often, too often, you know, curating is misunderstood and is not anymore about helping or supporting artists.
In my practice, I try to focus on the artists more than on anything else because I have extremely big respect for artists. It does not mean that I like all the artists. But I understand and I have respect for what artists do, for the fragility with which they try to create artworks. By showing their works, they are taking a risk. An artwork is something through which you show your own identity and your own being as a matter of speaking.
You were talking about respecting art and the artist. How is the situation of artistic freedom in our country and other parts of the world? Isn’t it in jeopardy?
Artistic freedom does not mean that you can do anything you want.
You mean it has boundaries, like any other freedom?
I think if you are a good artist and a smart artist and a sensible artist, then you have an understanding and respect for the context in which you work and live. And I think every artist takes a political position just by being an artist, even if it’s not manifested in his present work. Because by being an artist, he takes another position in society than a lawyer, or than a butcher, or than a metal worker or a farmer.
I understand and I have respect for what artists do, for the fragility with which they try to create artworks. By showing their works, they are taking a risk.
But I know what you’re saying. Some artists are criticising with their work, or using their work or using their position as an artist to criticise some socially or politically or culturally complex and critical situations in a country. There are plenty of examples of artworks or of artists who have been censored, whose works have not been realised. Artists have been jailed because of the fact that they took a position. And I think we have to defend the right, the position that the artists take.
How do you find the art scene in Nepal?
An artist from Argentina is informed by his social and cultural contexts. An artist from Nepal is informed by his social and cultural backgrounds. Ditto with artists from other countries like Thailand. I have big respect for artists in Nepal.
We should not use the invention of borders as a mechanism to define art or the position of art. But I have a big respect for artists from Nepal. Clearly, it is more difficult to be an artist here than it is in Belgium, Denmark and England. May be only three per cent of artists can live from their work in Belgium and are successful. Other artists have still have to do plenty of other jobs to make their living. Still, art is a fragile job when you take it seriously unlike when you take art as some form of decoration which will sell. If you are a dedicated, motivated artist, then art is fragile, not easy.
Of course, I understand the complexity of being an artist in a country like Nepal. But I strongly believe that the society is in a kind of flux, in a kind of change. It is facing many questions at different levels. This is also a kind of fertile ground for the artists. Artists should be more courageous. They should not hide behind their paintings.
We had a decade-long insurgency. Then the earthquake occurred. I have read that Picasso’s Guernica is based on the Spanish civil war. In Nepal, despite the war, despite the quake, we have not been able to create any classics. Why?
I think I have a clear answer: Art is still too much seen as a form of decoration, more than a language. Many works of art I see — I say this with respect for every artist, who don’t understand me — have a very decorative quality. They take elements from the tradition, from religion but they don’t transform it into something else. They just copy what they see.
Before Picasso, there were artists, who used to paint what they saw. They were trying to catch the lights, they were not communicating something. Later, Picasso said: As an artist, I take the responsibility to address the tragedy happening in the city of Guernica.
I think a big part (in the creation of classics) has something to do with art education.
Historically, Nepal was prosperous when its two giants India and China were formidable powers. We used that prosperity to build heritages like temples and palaces. But the art suffered after the two giants’ powers dwindled. Now, China and India are rising again as superpowers. In this context, do you see art flourishing in Nepal again?
We have to embrace the past to build the future. We don’t need to be nostalgic about the past. This will bring nothing. We have to see how we can face the future. I would not be here if I did not see the potential of Nepal and the city (Kathmandu) in the arts. We have a big group of artists who take the kind of social position they do.
After the quake, some artists went to the city of Bhaktapur to help out quake victims. Here, in this country, there are artists with energy and dynamism, which is unique. I have worked in plenty of countries, but this is unique to me.
Nepal is like a butterfly. It is like Belgium of Southeast Asia. You know, Belgium is located between giants like Germany and France. Belgium has a very strong artistic tradition. Artists should be self-critical. They should not see themselves as someone, who makes products.
Thanks to the triennale, more than 60 artists from 25 countries are coming to Kathmandu. There are artists, who are collaborating with UNCHR, with orphanages, and artists who reflect on the heritages. This is of incredible importance. This gives us an opportunity to tap the potential of artists. These artists are available for meetings with the people of Kathmandu. Kathmandu has all the potentials required to be an art hub. Here, you have the sense of the traditional and the contemporary.
There’s big interest, big fascination about the triennale, about what’s happening in Kathmandu. I hope once it (the exhibition) begins from March 24, politicians and policymakers of the country can understand how important an exhibition like this can have on the quality of life in the city of Kathmandu.
While I know that every developing country has other issues at stake but this exhibition gives us a unique opportunity to inspire people through art. Everything starts with the people.
Global politics is changing. Donald Trump has risen, then there’s Brexit and developed countries are looking inward. What impact these developments will have on the artscape?
I am not a fortune-teller. I can’t predict what will happen to the arts in the future.
But as Europeans, we have to be very sensible and very open. I think the reactions happening in Europe — to close the borders, to look inside, France is for the French — are very stupid. I think now is the moment not to protect the borders but to protect our values. And the values are tolerance and justice. The values that came from the French revolution have to do with a sense of humanity, not with making barriers between each other.
Now is the moment not to protect the borders but to protect our values.
So, we are living in very difficult moments. The transformation that is going to happen will be huge on the political level. I think within 10 years, we will live in another world. Recently, I was in Avril, Iraq, close to the fighting zone of Mosul. I was with the former prime minister of Kurdistan. We were watching the inauguration of Donald Trump. He was saying to me: Listen, we are watching something of which the effect will be immeasurable for everyone in the world. How it will be, I don’t know.
Kathmandu is a rapidly urbanising city. In the developing world, it is one of the most rapidly urbanising cities. Will this rapid urbanisation have an impact on the traditional art scene?
It will. But I hope traditional art can still survive. Let’s hope people continue to have respect for the traditional art. Let’s hope they are preserved not only by the museum but also by the people. At the Patan Museum, I saw people sculpting on the wooden bars. They were rebuilding a temple. This is fantastic.
This is a tradition that you hand over from one generation to the other. Of course, in the process of urbanisation, you get something but you lose also. It’s like a pendulum, going back and forth. I think the tradition is important if it feeds the future, if it forms the future, not if it is something which stops change.
Your expectations from Kathmandu Triennale 2017?
This exhibition will bring the best artists of the world to Kathmandu. People here and artists can benefit from it. I have a lot of expectations from the triennale. Thanks to the exhibition, Kathmandu can get international attention, which is not only through negative things like the earthquake but also through articulation of the cultural values of Kathmandu. That’s one thing.
Secondly, we hope that Nepali artists really benefit from the exhibition, that something good will come out for the future. That’s another thing I hope. Thanks to the exhibition, people can discover Kathmandu in a different way. Between all the dust and construction sites, they can see the beauty of this place, which is, according to me, enormous. That’s why the title of the exhibition is ‘The City, My Studio / The City, My Life’.
I hope people support this endeavour, hope people understand how art can contribute to the social texture of a city, even in difficult situations. Art can contribute to society.
For me, the exhibition is a tribute to the city and the tribute to the artist.
(Kathmandu Triennale 2017 will be held from March 24 – April 9, 2017.) SOURCE: http://english.onlinekhabar.com/2017/02/17/395990
—-> see more on KATHMANDU TRIENNALE here:
Fabulous great canvasses of her inimitable women all over Park Gallery: this 2017 single exhibit of renowned artist Erina Tamrakar is a visual show-stopper, vibrant with color and form.
Reposting an article from NEPALI TIMES we want to congratulate our longtime friend with her wonderful success. Enjoy images and text and whoever hasn’t been to the exhibit should definitely go.
Photos: Erina Tamrakar, Photo Collage: Beata Wiggen
Erina Tamrakar returns
(From NEPALI TIMES Monday, February 13th, 2017)
Artist Erina Tamrakar’s exhibition In Between the Third Eye opens out the world of women, their feelings and emotions to Kathmandu visitors exposed to the daily grind of a squalid urban life.
Painted in hues of vibrant reds, blues, greens, the audience is compelled to connect with Tamrakar at two levels: sensual portraits that dazzle us and at the same time force us to think deeply about female empowerment and awareness.
“When I paint, I don’t paint with a concept beforehand,” said Tamrakar, who has returned to the exhibition circuit after two years. “It’s like the canvas and I have a conversation. I create as I paint.”
The exhibition contain her works from 2010 right up to some recent paintings, including some from the popular series Third Eye and Mustang which are inspired by her travels (pic, below).
On entering the Park Gallery, the visitor confronts the canvas titled ‘Third Eye’ (pic, top) which is washed in red, and depicts a group of women with their eyes closed, but on each of their forehead the artist has painted the third eye.
“When we have to introspect, we close our eyes,” said Tamrakar for whom the third eye stands for awareness, the ability to know right from wrong. Disheartened by the growing number of cases reported for violence against women, the artist aims to inform her public about the importance of empowering women.
As in her previous works, none of the subjects directly look at the viewer. For Tamrakar, it is her way of making the audience engage with the emotions of her subjects rather than establishing direct contact.
The entire two floor of Park Gallery is filled with Tamrakar’s work, each carries its own message. In some women are on an equal footing with nature, in others the emotions of women are captured in a single artwork.
Fotos: Erina Tamrakar, Photo Collage: Beata Wiggen
Tamrakar’s recent works also use monochromes, which portray an evolving society: paintings of women alongside safa tempos that they drive (pic, below). “It’s a step forward for the society,” said the artist. She believes it is only with financial independence that women can fully be independent. (Pics: Smriti Basnet)
… even in the NEW YORK TIMES the successful participation of six Nepali artists at IAF 2017 was mentioned:
“NEW DELHI — It’s no surprise that satirical portraits of Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un are the centerpiece of the India Art Fair, the annual feast of visual arts where politics took center stage this year, including groundbreaking projects on migration and rapidly changing urban landscapes in South Asia.
Titled “Peace Owners,” the work of Nepali artist Sunil Sigdel uses Buddhist motifs on the faces of the three global leaders. “Artists are responding to the global political climate,” said Dina Bangdel, curator of Nepal Art Council in New Delhi. “We are also looking at agriculture and perhaps the disintegration of the rural community with urbanization. Artists are speaking in a Nepali voice but in the broader context of South Asia.” Bangdel said the work of her artists reflects both the “fragility and resilience” of a country still recovering from the devastating 2015 earthquake.
The art fair brought hundreds of Indian and international artists, exhibitors and collectors from more than 20 countries. Like the previous editions of the fair that began in 2008, South Asia remains the region in focus. ...” (see: https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2017/02/05/world/asia/ap-as-india-art-fair.html?_r=0)
(collage: Beata Wiggen; all photos: Dina Bangdel)
Prof. Dr. Dina Bangdel, who spearheaded the presentation in New Delhi, says: “There were six Nepali contemporary artists whose works were highlighted for Nepal Art Council’s second invited participation for IAF’s Platform series with a regional focus on South Asia — with a focused curatorial intent!
The installation was intense with less than 12 hours to put up a show, not to mention some technical snafus out of our control! Huge congratulations to the artists, whose works were highlighted in over 10+ media coverage. This experience was incredibly valuable and a privilege for me personally as a curator and to the amazing NAC team/supportors — the quick deinstallation is always bittersweet! Thank you to the artists for your participation! Congratulations once again to the artists — one of the most visited booth at the India Art Fair once again this year!”
(For brief information on all participating artists please scroll down to the end of the post)
(collage: Beata Wiggen; all photos: Dina Bangdel)
Participating artists IAF 2017:
Anil Shahi is currently pursuing his MFA at Tribhuvan University. In 2011 and 2012 he took part in NAFA’s National Art Exhibitions. He has exhibited with his peers from KU at the Nepal Art Council and participated in the Kalajatra exhibition. He is the recipient of the Australian Himalayan Foundation Art Award and held a solo exhibition at Siddhartha Art Gallery in 2014.
SEE ALSO: http://www.nepalnow.net/artblog/anil-shahi-exposition-at-siddhartha-art-gallery
Koshal Hamal’s (b.1988, Nepal) works are engaged in a synthesis of appropriation. Hamal received his BFA (with a distinction award) from Beaconhouse National University, Lahore (2011) on a UNESCO Madanjeet Art Scholarship. His work received one of the best awards for young artists by Lahore Art Council in 2012. His works have been included in several South Asian art exhibitions nationally and internationally including New Selections: South Asia, Thomas Erben Gallery, New York (2012) and South Asian Artists: Imagining Our Future Together, a travel show organized by the World Bank, Art Program (2012-13). Hamal is currently doing his Masters in Fine Arts at Beaconhouse National University, Lahore, Pakistan.
SEE ALSO: http://www.kathmanduarts.org/Kathmandu_Arts/K15-hamal.html
Kabi Raj Lama completed his BFA from Kathmandu University’s Center for Art and Design in 2009. He was a research student of Meisei University, Japan, where he also served as a Teaching Assistant in Printmaking. He has participated in numerous exhibitions nationally and internationally and has had a solo show at the Hotel D’Annapurna.
SEE ALSO: http://www.theartofencouraging.com/kabi-raj-lama-solo-show-siddhartha-gallery/
Sandhya Silwal is Lalitpur-based artist. She completed her BFA from Kathmandu University’s Center for Art and Design in 2007. She has two solo exhibitions to her credit and has participated in many workshops and group exhibitions. Sandhya mostly focuses on painting but explores other art forms as well.
SEE ALSO: http://www.kathmanduarts.org/Kathmandu_Arts/K16-Sandhya_Silwal.html
Sanjeev Maharjan is a Kathmandu based visual artist. Maharjan’s works are often inspired from his social surroundings, which he represents in the form of drawing,painting, photography, installation and murals. Maharjan was born, raised and studied in Kathmandu.He graduated from the Kathmandu University Center for Art and Design in 2009.
SEE ALSO: http://www.artsofnepal.com/artist_work/32/sanjeev-maharjan.html
An alum of Nepal Fine Art Campus T.U, Sunil has six solo exhibitions to his credit and has been part of many international residential workshops in countries like the UK, Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan. Sunil was also a part of the 1st and 2nd Kathmandu International Art Festival and the Dhaka Art Summit. Sunil has been the recipient of several awards and recognition for his art, including the Asian Art prize in Hong Kong & Seoul (2012 A.D).
SEE ALSO: http://sigdelsunil.blogspot.de/
Reposting important news about the participation of Nepali modern artists at this year’s INDIA ART FAIR (IAF2017).
The HImalayan Times featured two articles yesterday and today outlining the success of last year’s participation (“most visited booth”) and the preparations for this year’s delegation representing the modern art of Nepal. Good luck and much success for IAF 2017!
Nepali artists ready for India Art Fair
Photo courtesy: IAF
KATHMANDU: The ninth edition of the India Art Fair (IAF), an annual Indian modern and contemporary art fair and South Asia’s most awaited fair, is scheduled from February 2-5 at the NSIC grounds, Okhla Industrial Area, New Delhi, India.
The IAF is the largest platform to experience contemporary art of South Asia and beyond. The programmes in IAF include lectures, projects, films, curated events, and more. The fair aims for the visitors to get the opportunity to discover the best galleries in the region and beyond.
The IAF acts as a portal to showcase the diverse cultural landscape of the region through the medium of visual art. That includes modern and contemporary installation, paintings, sculptures, et cetera from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries except the Maldives; and then there are representatives from the United States, UAE, Portugal, France, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom, Greece, Austria, Israel and Singapore, among others.
The first edition of IAF took place in 2008. Since 2016, the MCH Group, a leading international group of live-marketing companies, joined Angus Montgomery — an internationally renowned group of exhibition organising companies with offices and events on five continents — and with Neha Kirpal, the Founding Director of IAF, they became the co-owners of IAF.
This year there will be over 70 booths in the exhibition at IAF with focus on South Asia. This year the Nepal Art Council (NAC) is representing Nepal in the IAF and it is the second time that NAC is representing Nepal in this sought-after fair. Six artists — Anil Shahi, Kabiraj Lama, Koshal Hamal, Sandhya Silwal, Sanjeev Maharjan and Sunil Sigdel — have been chosen to represent Nepal at IAF where Art Historian Dr Dina Bangdel, also a board member of NAC, is going to curate the exhibition at IAF.
Talking about the importance of taking part in IAF, Dr Bangdel said, “IAF is a very prestigious fair and we represented Nepal since 2016. The most important thing is that we got selected for IAF and we are proud that we got special invitation to participate in IAF 2017. The selection is very competitive. Moreover, in these years, IAF has moved to being less commercial and in the direction that really showcases the best of the best. The platform series highlights visual art from South Asian countries and Nepal is also included in it.”
The IAF is also a place where participating artists get promotion. “The IAF is not only about the exhibition, but a place where scholars, art historians, collectors among others come together under same roof. Thus, it is also an important venue where they get to understand and learn about the art scenario,” added Swosti Rajbhandari Kayastha, Curator/ Public Relations at NAC.
According to Dr Bangdel, art in Nepal was always religious and it was easy to get support as people have religious beliefs and faith, making people always willing to support art. “As for modern and contemporary art, it is even more important — as contemporary art is the truth of the current state that talks about the political, social and economic condition of the country. So, art is not only about beautiful things but through it, artists are making very important critical statements. The IAF is a very prestigious fair renowned around the world as one of the most awaited fairs held in the South Asian region followed by scholars and collectors alike.”
Published on January 31, 2017 on http://thehimalayantimes.com/art-culture/nepali-artists-ready-india-art-fair/
Most Visited Booth: Will Nepal work the magic again at IAF?
Undated photo shows Nepali artists participated in India Art Fair 2016. Photo courtesy: Nepal Art Council
It is not easy to be a part of something wonderful. One always has to overcome challenges to achieve something. Likewise, it was a challenge for Nepal Art Council (NAC) to select seven artists — Birendra Pratap Singh, Asha Dangol, Bidhata KC, Sheelasha Rajbhandari, Hit Man Gurung, Samundra Man Shrestha and Manish Harijan to participate in the India Art Fair (IAF) 2016 held at NSIC grounds, Okhla Industrial Area, New Delhi from January 28-31, 2016.
Nepal is participating in the IAF 2017 and the year 2016 was the first time Nepal made her presence felt at the eighth edition of IAF. Talking about the action behind the scenes, art historian/curator Dr Dina Bangdel explained, “Though it seems like it is only the second time being a part of IAF, our preparations have been going on for a long time. We wanted to understand what it takes to do this (be a part of the fair) and we had to convince our patrons about why we should participate in it. Then there are technical aspects such as logistics which we had to understand before participating. It just looks like two years but it has been four years for us to reach this space.”
Dr Bangdel added, “Before taking our artists to IAF, we awarded travel grants to four artists in 2015 to understand IAF and its perspective. Moreover, being at IAF is an opportunity for the artists to network.”
Elaborating on reasons not being able to be at earlier editions of IAF, Sagar SJB Rana, Vice President of NAC elaborated, “Firstly, IAF looks for quality of the institution or gallery representing a country. There should be a good curatorial team that can present artworks, and to book the booth is expensive. It costs Rs 7 lakhs to just rent the booth for four days plus there is additional cost for lighting, logistics, et cetera. Our focus is to present the art of Nepal, commercial success is secondary. But commercial success is important and we need support from the government and patrons alike.”
The artists who received the travel grant were Dangol, Sanjeev Maharjan, Gurung and KC. About the selection of the artists Dr Bangdel said, “In the selection of artists for 2016 we gave importance to diversity in terms of work, career and ethnicity. As a result we have artists from different generations and whose works are different from each other.”
Sharing his experience at the IAF in 2015 Maharjan said, “It was my first time in a commercial art fair. I got to observe the happenings closely which was inspiring. It was like an open museum and I was able to see works of renowned artists in reality.”
For Rajbhandari, who travelled on her own in 2015 and got selected to showcase in IAF 2016, “Paying a visit to the fair, a question raised in me — why isn’t there any exhibit representing Nepal? It made me sad as there were works from many countries. I felt the need of the presence of Nepal. And India is so near to Nepal in terms of distance.” And in 2016 Nepal was represented and received a large number of visitors earning the title of the ‘most visited booth’. Giving credit to the powerful works of selected artists Dr Bangdel shared, “In 2016 we were highlighted due to the powerful works of the artists. There were visitors who were surprised to see Nepali artists’ strong work capable of competing on the international level.”
At the IAF, the artists must be represented by a gallery or institution to get selected for the fair. Sharing her experience at IAF 2016 Rajbhandari added, “It was a very good experience as we were represented by NAC, Nepal’s oldest non-profit organisation working in the field of art. I realised the need of support from the organisation as being affiliated with it helped the artist to get the exposure. We got the chance to network with other artists and were able to start a dialogue about the kind of art being produced in Nepal.”
Another artist KC, who showcased her paintings in 2016 expressed, “I got to learn a lot and participating in the fair boosted my confidence. I am proud that we were appreciated.”
The ninth edition of India Art Fair, an annual Indian modern and contemporary art fair and South Asia’s most awaited fair, is scheduled from February 2-5 at the NSIC grounds, Okhla Industrial Area, New Delhi, India.
Published on February 01, 2017 on http://thehimalayantimes.com/art-culture/visited-booth-will-nepal-work-magic-iaf/