Erina and Asha exhibit at Yala Mandala

Erina and Asha exhibit at Yala Mandala

“Tradition Subverted“, an exhibition which features the works of artists Asha Dangol and Erina Tamrakar was kicked off on in mid October 2017 at Yala Mandala in Patan and will go on for two months.

The presented works aim to engage the audience in a provocative dialogue on feminism, introspective silence, migration, urban decay, and consumerism.

In an article in the Kathmandu Post, the writer muses: “Paradise Lost” is one of Asha’s paintings at the exhibition. It explores the consequences of unplanned development in the country. Nature has bestowed plenty of gifts upon Kathmandu, but the Valley has been thoroughly corrupted by human activities. Have we wrongly defined what development is and what it means to prosper? Asha Dangol hopes that his canvas paintings will raise these important questions as the nation continues its discussion on ill-planned urbanisation.

While Dangol uses canvas as his medium for expression, Tamrakar’s paintings are literally “set in stone.” Tamrakar, who until 2006 used oil on canvas as her primary medium, said that she is fascinated by naturally occurring stones. Most of the stones she used were collected on a hiking trip.

Both Dangol and Tamrakar have worked on their collection for about two years.

The late and very much missed Dina Bangdel explained about Asha’s and Erina’s art in an article in the American Himalayan Journal and elquently states the following there:

“It would be easy to read the preeminent themes of Erina Tamrakar’s paintings as statements of self, identity, and gender. These works are conscious or unconscious explorations of her personal journeys and experiences. Tamrakar’s Third Eye series is rooted in the femininity of the subjects, expressed through deep reds. The recurrence of symbols creates a distinct opposition: the introspection of the silent, downward-cast eyes provides a point of contrast with the dominant gaze of the third eye, open and red. Similarly, the imagery of mirroring and reflection in her Couple series speaks to the psyche of the artist.

Asha Dangol’s current figurative explorations engage the viewer in a provocative dialogue about urbanization, consumerism, and ecological concerns. These contemporary issues are framed within a polarity and dichotomy of visual symbols: east and west; traditional and contemporary; past and present; the mythic and the real. The imagery is seductive in its cultural appropriations. The meanings become even more acute when the audience reads the cultural signifiers and their substitutions: the Tantric Buddhist deity Vajrabhairava is recontextualized in an environment of urban decay; the artist’s persona, recast as Hevajra, subverts the viewer’s expectations, conjoining the spiritual with a sense of consumerism and loss. His recent series, including pieces like Where am I? and Paradise Lost, provide a personal cultural commentary about globalization through richly coded visual narratives.”

Please enjoy some impressions from the lovely and fun opening evening at the fine premises of Yala Mandala in Patan:


Credits: All photography copyright Asha Dangol / Erina Tamrakar

Looking back at Himalayan Art Camp 2017 (SPACES magazine repost)

Looking back at Himalayan Art Camp 2017 (SPACES magazine repost)

Beauty Behind the Canvas

SPACES Magazine, Jul 12, 2017 |

Text: Veda Satasha Shrestha

The energy of the Himalayan Art Camp was such that I felt absolutely at peace and could feel the passion for creativity. Hear the thoughts aloud with an inch of movement as a brush was dipped into the color and held towards a canvas, created beauty with each ones thoughts coming to life. Creativity is at the highest level possible, sitting around all these well known artists from the Asian countries. All the people brought together by nothing but the love of Art, each artist with their unique style and concept creating their masterpieces in the presence of the Annapurna ranges, the beauty of people of Pokhara and the Nepali culture that surrounds them.

It’s been an absolute privilege to be a part of the Himalayan Art Camp, as an art admirer, to be in the presence of a group of such talented and well renowned artists. To witness their pieces coming to life in stages till their final touches. Going through their thought process of what they were and are thinking as I look at a painting being painted. While we generally look at a painting at its final stage of being completed when it’s hung at a museum or any other venue, you can still understand the time line when the painting was painted, the perspective of an artist on social, political, economic issues faced during that particular time frame and most importantly the emotions the artist was feeling then. Art has a very vast definition as each individual defines it as his or her unique way of perception. I believe that “life intimates art” and vice versa, as each thing has a beauty of its own and it reflects on what it surrounds.

As it was Cong Him Hoa’s first visit to Nepal, her impression about Nepal was from what was projected by the media. However that all changed when she got here and realized Nepalese people is very friendly and welcoming. Seeing cows on the roads was a bit of a culture shock and staying in Nepal for a week, made her think about her life in Vietnam to the life here of a Nepalese person.Cong was impressed with how well prepared Himalayan art camp was to meet their needs such as food, stay, art supplies. Happy with the weather is Pokhara as it was mostly pleasant. Cong enjoyed the beauty that surrounds Pokhara, the lake and the flora and fauna. Her inspiration of the paintings created here in Pokhara, were inspired by the earth and music. She said she has enjoyed the Himalayan Art Camp experience a lot.

Pramila mostly follows a theme while creating any one of her paintings, it usually changes if she decides to end a series or feels like she wants to start new one. Before Himalayan Art Camp began, she was doing a series regarding the earthquake in Nepal. However during the HAC, she was drawn to the beauty Pokhara holds, surrounded by the greenery, she wanted to paint her canvas also green and she painted her canvas in layers of green. Pramila Bajracharya usually paints landscape and figures, so does both her pieces created during the HAC. The best part of the Himalayan Art Camp is that I got to witness other artists from their respected countries, see how they work, understand their thoughts which have been amazing. Interaction between artists has been the best part. This has been the first HAC, hopefully continue with this concept and keep improving it over the time.

Jeevan Rajopadhyay talks about his working style, before his theme were landscapes. While working on landscapes, the form slow started to disappear and only the colors were left. With that his style changed into abstract, with the loss of scenic beauty and love for colors. Every artist has his or her own working styles, some work in different forms, I enjoy working with colors. Even with his style changing from landscape to abstract, if you look at his painting closely, you will somewhat get a landscape feeling. More than a concept, he tries to capture the colors of the surroundings.

When Jeevan thinks about Pokhara, he thinks about the white Himal, green Phewa Taal, blue sky as everyone pictures it. He really enjoyed his experience during the Himalayan Art Camp; he thanks E-Arts Nepal for giving him the opportunity and creating such a platform for artists. By creating this platform there has been interaction, understanding of different working styles, we observing how they work, they observing how we work and creating an understanding among artists. Such art camps will help Nepali Art create a bigger impact globally.

Myat Tun Aung likes being well prepared by choosing a subject and deciding on what technique, concept to use, what he wants to portray in his painting before starting his work. Due to the limited time given during art camps to as to when he usually paints, he wanted to be well prepared before starting his paintings. Since an early age, he has wanted to visit Nepal to see two things to see the Himalayas and to visit Lumbini. So his first visit to Nepal let him to both, so the Himalayan Art Camp has made his dream come true. “I have enjoyed being in Pokhara, as it is clean, beautiful surrounded by mountains and it’s natural beauty. HAC has been wonderful experience meeting old friends, making new ones. HAC is all about art exchange and exposure to the Nepali culture. Witness how other artists work on their paintings and interacting with other artists; talking about art is the most important thing for artists. An Art camp lets you do that. Art is created freely, there is no secret, all depends on your mind what is your inspiration, what is your concept, what technique you use. Himalayan Art Camp has been beneficial for all the artists and for art lovers.”

Hadi Soesanto chose banana for an object, as it is usually used on a daily bases in Indonesia even for religious offerings. He has a pencil in his painting as it symbolizes a new beginning. Sometimes he changes his series according to what inspires him. Hadi really enjoyed being in Nepal, thought it was a nice country and loved his experience at the Himalayan art camp. Before being a part of Himalayan art camp, visiting Nepal was like a dream and he is glad to take part in it. Himalayan Art Camp gave him new experience to collaborated with other artists from countries all around south Asia.

The surrounding and the beauty that comes with being in the nature inspires, Binod Pradhan to paints his canvases. Binod’s specific concept is based on the eco system, effects on nature and the preservation of heritage. In his paintings, he tries to reinstate a consciousness for the society for preservation of nature. Binod is currently doing a series based on nature and he has continued to paint his series during the Himalayan Art Camp. Binod says Nepal is his color palette for being his subjects for his canvases, as he is more aware of the beauty of our country as he travels it and puts it on a canvas, as he feels connected to a place. One of the places in Nepal that inspires his work is Pokhara. Himalayan Art Camp has been held for the first time ever in Nepal and has been both resourceful and an opportunity to interact with artists from different countries. Being one of the organizers in the E-Arts Nepal team it was overwhelming happiness having a successful art camp even though it was the first one and has to learn as we go.

Asha Dangol‘s artworks reflect on the concerns of urbanization, consumerism and ecology. These issues are framed with a polarity of visual symbols: the traditional with the contemporary, the past with the present and the mythic with the real. During the Himalayan art camp Asha’s was involved with the management and co-ordination for the artists, programs and hospitality. Asha thought it was a great learning experience and was an honor, to be one of the organizers in E-Arts Nepal for HAC. Himalayan Art Camp is the first international event organized by E-Arts Nepal. It was well received by all guest artists as well as from the local artists of Pokhara. During the HAC all the artists were sharing ideas, having interesting conversations about contemporary art, which gave us more value from this interactive art camp. HAC travelled to the city of lakes Pokhara with the view of the Himalayans and started and ended with the city of art and culture in Patan. Hoping all guest artists enjoyed the diversity of our landscape and culture.

Ng Kim Heoh uses a concept to execute her artwork. She chooses a concept and based on it, she produces a series. Ng Kim believes in realism, so her style is more towards realism but not to the point of photorealism. Ng Kim’s last series was called “”; she is in the process and development stages of her upcoming series. Still in her working stages for a next series but she will focusing on traditional kind of motif and combine with figurative to which she want to express the relation of people and the culture, how culture shapes our lives and defines who we are. Ng Kim loved Nepal and will be definitely visiting again, the rich culture and religious environment gave her a sense of calm and serenity, she thought the people were friendly and humble, easy to communicate with and she was also fascinated by the magnificent landscape and hope she comes back for some trekking. Ng Kim thought the HAC was successful and well run, having a small camp allowed artists to interact and get to know each other better, exchange different ideas and art views. The Himalayan Art camp group became like family, some of us initially just a distance friends on Facebook, now after the HAC, we have become close friends.

From Ng Bee’s past experiences from when he was still a student and from practice and experience when he paints, the feel and texture of lines gave him a lot of space and intuitive reflection to his ideas. The strength and depth of lines have become the main force for Ng Bee to express his images on the canvas, the key source of my imagination to compose my paintings. Ng Bee’s main focus around his concepts are the environment, the constantly changing of surroundings and also the dark side of his county’s politics such as corruption. Ng Bee has 3 main series till date and is still on going such as abstract, rhino and figurative, all three based on the ideas he’s mentioned above. Ng Bee thought Nepal is a beautiful country, still under developed but got great scenery, landscapes, kind people who are happy to live a simple life. Himalayan Art Camp was well organized for a first timer and they should keep up the good job.

Bhairaj Maharjan‘s artwork concepts are created by how the surrounding environment inspires him. Currently he is captivated with contemporary issues like earthquake, air pollution and government policies for women empowerment as concept, blending with traditional elements, using textures to add beauty and aesthetic values to it. Bhairaj’s on going series is based on pollution and mask, created awareness about pollution and the effects it has on the people. As an artist, Bhairaj has taken part in several international art camps but Himalayan Art Camp was special experience for him as an organizer. We (E-Arts Nepal) had a very selective process by choosing only 12 artists who are genuine and professional from all around South Asia and addition of 8 established Nepali artists. Bhairaj found it very interesting, as each artist was very mature and unique in terms of style, technique, theme and concept, which was a great learning experience.

Trinh Tuan’s paintings is an expression of internal energy, is all about emotions. The choice of what Trinh paints is lead by feeling that is heartfelt with a choice of emotions. He does not tend to think about his style or concept so logically. The images come to Trinh as he thinks and feels about his emotions as an individual. Trinh said, “There is something deep down in my soul, the feeling of the unbreakable connection between a human being and the nature, so you can see the figures of human and flowers, trees in my paintings.”

Trinh found a never-ending foundation of inspiration with images, shapes, colors and lines from nature. Trinh describes Nepal as when he realized that there is still a living fairy tale, an ancient world that still exists on the earth. Trinh says here in Nepal, he sense of hugging arms with Mother Nature. Trinh with all his regardless and respect he would love to say ‘thank you’ many times to the Himalayan Art Camp organizers and sponsors. Trinh says now I have such an unforgettable memory of Nepal people, their culture, art, the forests, the mountains, he rely himself in the lulling hands of Nature.

Wattanachot Tungateja has his own concept called dreamscape, inspired by being well travelled and getting to witness beautiful places and stunning sceneriesall around the world.His painting does not represent what a country he has visited, looks like but the combination of his thoughts and his imagination to what remembers of the places he has visited. His series dreamscape, the painting composition is focusing on two parts the earth and the sky. The sky consisting of things such as the wind blowing, the crowd and the earth consisting of all the things given by nature such as flowers, trees, animals. Wattanachot talks about the power colors from inside the earth leading up to the sky. Painting for Wattanchot is like meditation; it gives him a sense of inner peace and helps him stay calm. Wattanachot talks how art camps like the Himalayan Art Camp is good for artists as it helps in networking and he would call few artists over to Thailand for a program like this one in the future. Himalayan Art Camp has been a good platform for all of us to come and exchange ideas with one another and interact with other artists and understand their concepts and working styles.

Siraj usually following his inner energy of a painter, which he has developed throughout the years, he does not follow any concepts. He believes picture making can be learnt but painting must be in you to come out, so he just lets his heart and body flow in come out in visual grammar.

Siraj Saxena believes every artist has a visual grammar and inner energy to create what he or she creates. Siraj calls his experience in Pokhara as visual poetry, he says who has god created this all for but man, who can express the way they feel about the beauty behind god’s creations. Siraj thanks the E-Arts Nepal group for inviting him over to Nepal. Siraj says us humans are very tiny in front of the Himalayans but we have eyes to see, hands to paint and words to express to leave a mark on the world. Art camps give us the freedom to share our technique, exchange our visual grammar and see what other artists put into a white canvas.

Surya Baraily believes in creating a concept before painting and the colors used in his paintings are related to what the series need. During the HAC, Surya continued painting for the current series called inside the mask. Inside the mask series is regarding how an individual is perceived on the outside and how they are actually on the inside. It’s all about the perception on how an individual portrays themselves to others and how they are different people known to themselves. His inside the mask series represent various outlooks to a situation faced by individuals especially by the female gender. As Suraj’s paintings for the current series is represented by different women, focusing mainly on the perception of individuals to the outside world and to themselves.

Siddharth Shingade‘s trip to Nepal, was the first time he went anywhere outside India. Being in Nepal, has been a feeling such as being home away home with the food, nature, language and culture being so similar to India. Siddharth lives in a very crowded area of Mumbai from there to being in Pokhara, that change has been good for him. According to Siddharth people in Nepal are very loveable. The faces that appear in Siddharth’s paintings, he keeps looking for them wherever he goes, their innocence, their honesty and their purity. How his character think, how they live, he keeps thinking and looking for his characters from his painting in the people he comes across. Siddharth feels there isn’t much of a difference between Indians and Nepalese, as the people and Siddharth Shahaji Shingade (Mumbai, India) Gold Fish, Acrylic on canvas.

Erina Tamrakar (Lalitpur, Nepal) Third Eye, Acrylic on canvas Titarubi (Yogyakarta, Indonesia) The Shadow of Tree, Charcoal on canvas Netikorn Chinyo (Bangkok, Thailand) Memory, Acrylic on canvas culture as very similar. Siddharth feels Nepalese artists gives a lot of respect to other artists and are humble, which he had not seen before. Himalayan Art Camp has given him the opportunity to interact with various artists who are in different stage of the art career, which he would not be able to do from a studio in Mumbai and is thankful for it. Erina continued working on her current series called the third eye during the HAC. The paintings created in Pokhara for the third eye series were the faces and the women Erina came across on the journey to the art camp. Erina’s motif was from the surrounding where she worked and was creating her paintings. Erina’s third eye series focuses on the root in the feminism on the subjects through the deep reds. Erina has found that the recurrence of symbols create a distinct opposition, the Shakti and the statements of self, identity and gender. Erina says as an artist, it was fruitful memory to being with all participating artists at the HAC and as being one of the organizers this was the first event where she enjoyed, interacted well with guest artists and all the participated artists were so friendly and supportive about E-Arts Nepal and enjoyed themselves.

During the Himalayan Art Camp, Titarubi understood how to work with a limited time limit and work quickly with other artists. Titarubi talks about how her usual work style gives her the freedom to work on her own pace for her exhibitions. Usually she takes the first week just for planning and looking for her inspiration but the Himalayan Art Camp has helped her work in a different way and has helped her work better. Titarubi says Himalayan Art Camp has been a good experience and a nice get away for the artists to work together in a new environment and be creative.

Netikorn Chinyo‘s concepts are inspired by the architecture from the past to the present. The timeline of the ancient to the modern and the difference in structure of a building built and is being built is what inspires Netikorn for his art works. The more Netikorn travels to different cities around the world, the sculptures, statues, buildings and other artifacts he comes across he thinks about it and how it reminds him of hometown. As a young child, Netikorn used to live with his grandmother. With the artifacts Netikorn is inspired from, from his travels he creates his paintings with his imagination. With the combination of his memories and his imagination, his canvas comes to life.

Durga Baral is a senior artist from Pokhara who was apart of the Himalayan Art Camp. Durga paints on his own style continued to do even during the HAC. The theme of his painting is “Stretch”. Himalayan Art Camp is one of the first inspired international art camp which took place in Pokhara, where he could share and interact with guest artists from all around South East Asia. Durga was admired for his artworks from all the participating artists from Southeast Asian artists and he felt sorry about only a few local artist visited at the camp. It was the first ever program at the Pokhara Art Gallery at an International capacity with a lot of visitors and he was happy about it.

Inza Qioao Yin’s paintings are on mixed media on rice paper she brought from China for Himalayan Art Camp. During the HAC, she has traveled in many places in Kathmandu, where she found an interesting about the eyes of Buddha. In every shop she went, she found the souvenir of Buddha’s eyes. Tried to capture all this moments during the Himalayan art camp in Pokhara where she revealed herself in the peaceful environment, hills, lakes and the forests. The floating colors and linear perspectives make her painting more curiosity to the viewers. Since her first visit to Nepal, Himalayan Art Camp gave her new way of thinking and collaborate, she said.




Additional Information:

Ceramic exhibit at Siddhartha Gallery: Gopal Kalapremi

Ceramic exhibit at Siddhartha Gallery: Gopal Kalapremi

Siddhartha Art Gallery is presently showing a collection of sculptures of veteran ceramic artist Gopal ‘Kalapremi’ Shrestha, and Georgian sculptor Gigisha Pachkoria. The sculptures were created during a one-month long ceramic workshop organised by the Siddhartha Arts Foundation.

Gigisha Pachkoria has come a long way from Georgia, where he is a wellknown artist. His joined effort with Gopal Kalapremi was sparked by their common interest in the promotion of ceramics art, which unfortunately is losing its authenticity in Nepal.

As Gopal Kalapremi expresses with passion: “I believe our contribution will aspire budding artists.” He also pointed out that more work by other artists would soon be on display at the gallery after the Dashain and Tihar festivities are over.

All photos: courtesy Rupesh Man Singh


Kalapremi’s specialty lies in ceramic pottery and reviving the traditional ways of creating such sculptures.

He recently showed his work in Denmark,—Tattoo Bulls and Heroes— and his creations were highly appreciated by the international audience.

On his current work, Kalapremi comments: “I always try to incorporate my identity as Nepali in my imagination as an artist.”

All photos: courtesy Rupesh Man Singh


Gallerist Sangeeta Thapa considers Kalapremi one of the foremost ceramic sculptors of Nepal. She expresses her appreciation: “I have known Gopal since 1997 and I must say that his work has evolved in the last two decades. Unlike many other artists, his work has grown organically and with every new work he manages to outdo himself.” She points out that for this exhibition Kalapremi and Pachkoria have used various eccentric techniques, such as beer firing, to create their sculptures.

Kalapremi is also set to organise another ceramic exhibit by Danish and Iranian sculptors in November.

The current exhibit will run until Oct 8, 2017

At the opening, from second left: artist Gopal Kalapremi, artist Gigisha Pachkoria, photographer Rupesh Man Singh, as well as fellow artist Meena Kayastha

Himalayan Art Festival 2017: Looking back at a great event

Himalayan Art Festival 2017: Looking back at a great event

The E-arts Nepal team: Pramila Bajracharya, Asha Dangol, Bhairaj Maharjan, Binod Pradhan, Erina Tamrakar


Himalayan Art Festival took place at Nepal Arts Council in Kathmandu from 7 to 11 September, 2017. It was celebrated to commemorate the sixth anniversary of E-Arts Nepal and featured art works by 50 veteran and contemporary artists. Please also find at the bottom of this post a small video taking you through the exposition!

In a very professional way an incredibly broad spectrum of artworks was hung in the fine spaces of Nepal Art Council. The collages here displayed all feature photography by Pramila Bajracharya.


The event aimed to not only create an annual art event before the onset of Dashain, but is also seeking to encourage private individuals and Nepali corporate houses to invest in art.  (E-Arts Nepal is an online art gallery that has been actively promoting Nepali sculptures and paintings on a global scale.)





In this photo you can see a complete (and very very impressive!) list of participating artists:


The saddest post ever: RIP Dina Bangdel

The saddest post ever: RIP Dina Bangdel

Exactly one week ago today we got the devastating news that Dina Bangdel, beloved friend, mentor, erudite scholar, renowned art historian and curator died after complications of a standard sinus operation, and not in Nepal but in a U.S. hospital in Richmond, Virginia. The blow was hard and it is still not fathomable that this brilliant, elegant, warm and friendly woman is no more. Having met her twice on my last trip to Nepal her total aliveness and warm interest in people is still imprinted in my mind and heart – and I grieve deeply for her.

To honour her here on I have collected the major obituaries and take the liberty of reposting an especially sensitive one by friend Kurchi Dasgupta (subheaders and collages are mine, all fotos taken from Dina’s Facebook page).

May she truly rest in peace!



Farewell, Bird of Fire!

By Kurchi Dasgupta, Kathmandu

… she was a person, who got invested in everything she touched, everyone she met but never once did she forget her location as a Nepali. Her ambition for her home country, especially in the arts, was limitless and she would protect its concerns and rights like a tigress. But she was also the most soft-spoken, kind, gentle person I have met. I do hope her country will not fail her, especially the art fraternity. For not once has she failed them, except in her passing …

Dina Bangdel, daughter of Lain Singh Bangdel

Lain Singh Bangdel was best known for being the catalyst that brought Modernism into Nepali art. His daughter, Dina Bangdel, who passed away on t July 25 in Richmond (USA), had carried his legacy forward to astonishing results.

At the time of her death, Bangdel was just 52 and yet she was already recognised as one of the world’s most prominent experts in traditional Himalayan Art. More importantly, she was among a handful of people performing the extraordinary task of informing the global art mechanism of Nepal’s contemporary art practices. The whole of South Asia (including Tibet) was her field, but Nepal, especially Kathmandu Valley, remained her life-long focus. I am yet to come across a scholar from this country with as much commitment to Nepal’s cause in every aspect of the arts.

Dina’s academic career and focus

Bangdel (1965-2017) rose to her current status through years of hard work and discerning accumulation of knowledge and expertise. She trained in USA with some of the best in art history, receiving her BA in History of Art at Bryn Mawr College in 1989 and her masters in South Asian Studies from University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1991.

She went on to teach in the art history departments of Ohio Wesleyan University, the Western Michigan University, the Ohio State University, the Virginia Commonwealth University and was currently the Director of Program at the Virginia Commonwealth University’s campus in Doha. I had heard her say numerous times that she elected to relocate to Doha so that she could make quick trips to Kathmandu throughout the year and be active in promoting Nepali arts to the world.

Her PhD dissertation, which she did with the renowned Himalayan and Buddhist studies experts John C Huntington and Susan L Huntington at the Ohio State University in 1999, was seminal in its content. Called Manifesting the Mandala: A Study of the Core Iconographic Program of Newar Buddhist Monasteries in Nepal, the title of her dissertation speaks for itself and has since been hailed as a rare unveiling of Newar Buddhism for common understanding. More importantly, Bangdel had articulated arguments to rid Newar Buddhism of the label that it was a mixed practice. ‘Newar Buddhism remains the last remaining legacy of Indian Buddhism that is practiced within an actively South Asian cultural context,’ reads the introduction to her dissertation, and she goes on to explain how this particular strain of Buddhism not only retains the chief tenets and goals of the soteriological practice, but intelligently adapts itself to the official religious discourse of the times to survive historically. And even more importantly, she drew attention to the extraordinary flowering of culture around the practice, over centuries and to this day, that gives Newar art its unparalleled position in South Asia.

Dina was all this, but for me she was more. I met her when she was putting the finishing touches to the voluminous Pilgrimage and Faith: Buddhism, Christianity and Islam, which she co-edited. I remember her strained but joyous face as she sat in our living room with her husband, and led us through the many facets of Nepal’s traditional, modern and contemporary art. I listened spellbound. The evening ended with her husband, Bibhakar Shakya, telling us about how he had first walked into the waiting room of Ohio State University, and realised that he had found his soulmate as soon as his eyes fell on her.


Dina as a friend and mentor

In a way she took me under her wing, letting me accompany her on some of the studio visits she made whenever she visited Kathmandu. And thus my introduction to so many of the premier, senior artists of this country was fast-tracked. What I found amazing was the ease with which she discoursed with ‘Paubha’ artists on the intricacies and varying schools of their individual practices, while talking modernist history with the Nepali modern stalwarts, while inspiring and tweaking the younger generation of ‘contemporaries’ with her vast first-hand knowledge of the current, global art scene. Dina was a turbo-charger that fuelled, inspired and drove all generations of artists in Nepal living in contemporaneity, no matter how diverse their practice, over the last decade or so.

Dina as a curator

In association with the Nepal Art Council, which her father headed for long stretches of time and during which he pushed Nepal into the Modernist scene, Dina led Nepal’s first significant forays into the South Asian art fairs scene. She handpicked artists for the India Art Fair contingents and supported them in every possible way, especially with advice that came from her globe-hopping exposure.

Our paths had diverged of late, but I could not but appreciate the extraordinary collateral that she put up and curated for the recently held Kathmandu Triennale. I hear that she was already between surgeries when she pulled it off, having brought together an extraordinary body of work from Nepali and Qatar-based artists on the theme of migration, labour and identity. Incidentally, every one of the artists from Nepal that are making forays into the international art world today, were incubated by her in one way or another.

Dina was a rare scholar who could, in equal stride, be a PhD advisor to students that delved into the intricacies of a Dipankara Buddha or an Anish Kapoor. Not many, even in our globalised world, are capable of such feats of straddling such diverse boats. She forged pathways for Nepali scholarship and arts practices, which undoubtedly will only be appreciated much later.


Dina and the “lost art of Nepal”

Identification of heritage pieces scattered all across the world’s many museums and private collections, and the need for restitution of the same, especially from private collections, was a passion she shared with her father. This is evident from the book she co-authored with him, Inventory of Stone Sculptures of Kathmandu Valley (1997) that now acts as a handbook for such efforts.

It was just yesterday that I heard that her dream was slowly being realised—the Guimet Museum (better known as Musée national des arts asiatiques) of Paris, with the largest collection of Asiatic art lying outside of Asia, is in the process of restoring, exhibiting and finally returning a selection of such works with her facilitation. For Nepal, the event will be (and am hoping that it will indeed materialise in her absence) of unprecedented magnitude.

Dina, the prolific writer, presenter … wonderful personality

She produced numerous books, articles, presentations during her career; curated path-breaking shows, including the acclaimed Circle of Bliss; given talks that helped reshape the world’s perception of Nepal’s traditional, modern and contemporary art practices. Everything she touched, everyone she met was marked for life by her intense, effervescent personality.

Of all my memories of her, when I think back, what I remember most intensely is the image of her in a lime-green jacket, pushing effortlessly through the crowd at the Doha airport’s arrival section, pushing aside people double her side, looking for me. Then she saw me and her face, anxious to the point of desperation for she had thought I had gotten lost on arrival, broke into a smile that lit up everything around us.

She knew what it felt like to be alone on foreign soil. She had lived it herself. She was a person, who got invested in everything she touched, everyone she met but never once did she forget her location as a Nepali. Her ambition for her home country, especially in the arts, was limitless and she would protect its concerns and rights like a tigress. But she was also the most soft-spoken, kind, gentle person I have met. I do hope her country will not fail her, especially the art fraternity. For not once has she failed them, except in her passing.

Dasgupta is a Kathmandu-based artist

Published: 29-07-2017 07:36

Further obituaries:

NEPALI TIMES, Kanak Mani Dixit:
Missing a creative curator / We must complete the projects and plans that Dina Bangdel had for Nepal,972

KATHMANDU POST: Art historian Bangdel is no more

VCU QUATAR: In Memoriam: Dr. Dina Bangdel


And two sources of days when Dina was still with us:

1. An interview in DREAMS MAG:

2. A video previously posted on the blog:


KT2017: The exhibit at Taragaon Museum

KT2017: The exhibit at Taragaon Museum

A gem of a museum as the last of the major venues of the Triennale, only to be reached after an almost insufferable drive across town, on the extended grounds of the Hyatt Hotel and very near to Bouddhanath Stupa. (Please refer to my older architectural post here: The TARAGAON MUSEUM in Kathmandu).

In this somewhat more intimate setting of smaller individual buildings half a dozen of Nepali artists show their lovely works. Upon arrival a striking sculpture catches the attention immediately upon ascending the stairs from the parking lot:

Bhuwan Thapa (Nepal, 1969)
Purna Kalasha (Full/Complete vessel), 2017

Bhuwan Thapa is a true sculptor. The artist has a sense for scale and material. In this sculpture the artist makes a transparent vessel – a vessel of abundance as known in Hinduism – which is filled with stones inscribed with names of artists, famous people and people he knows. In the work, the metal exterior can be found in dialogue with the organic form of the stones within.



Prithvi Shrestha (Nepal, 1977)
Pillow (Takiya), 2017

Performance is at the heart of the work of this artist. The artist uses himself as performer in direct and short performances. In their clear forms the performances remind us of daily rituals. The artist often makes use of sound. For Kathmandu Triennale the artist makes a new video installation. He records himself surrounded by different sounds referring to moments between sunrise and sunset.


Hit Man Gurung (Nepal, 1986
I have to feed myself, my family and my country, 2017

Hitman Gurung is an artist who’s work takes an engaged and activist position. He uses his art to bring to light social problems dealing with migration and discrimination. For him art is only meaningful when the aesthetic relates to the ethical. For Kathmandu Triennale the artist creates an installation consisting of a series of small drawings (in light boxes) and two coffins. The conditions of the workers going to Qatar or to the Middle East and other destinations are questioned. In this work the artist spans a scope from the fate of anonymous workers in relation to their contribution to the economy of the country.


S.C. Suman (Nepal, 1961)
Jhaap, 2017

The work of the artist S.C. Suman is situated within the tradition of Mithila painting and ritual art. S.C. Suman makes for the Triennale three new works on paper in relation to the theme of The City. As an artist practicing a craft originally only executed by women, he preserves and contemporarises the practice. The paintings are on view in the Taragaon Museum. In the Nepali Art Council (and some other locations) one can also see his installation of jhaap, a colorful paper fixture painted traditional motifs.


Karan Shrestha (Nepal, 1985)
Eveything at centre is a little off, 2017

The work of Karan Shrestha is a mixed-media installation where the artist gives a kind of allegorical view on the city of Kathmandu. The artist is combining different kind of footage of the city of Kathmandu. The drawing of the Kathmandu valley is a detailed account where the artist merges in a symbolic way past and present events in the city.


… and a few more impressions of art shown at the lovely Taragaon grounds:


… and make sure to check out the other blogposts about #KathmanduTriennale2017:

KT2017: the exhibit at Nepal Art Council
KT2017: The exhibit at Patan Museum

KT2017: “Built/Unbuilt” exhibit focussing on migration and identity


KT2017: The exhibit at Patan Museum

KT2017: The exhibit at Patan Museum

At Patan Museum there is a smaller number of Nepali artists in an overall exquisite exhibit. Works can be found in the left wing (upon entering) on several floors, as well as in the garden behind the museum.

Upon entering an intriguing international work (by Cuban artist Ricardo Brey) immediately catches the eye in the courtyard of the museum:

Ricardo Brey (Cuba, 1955 ), Dust bathing, 2017


There are also a number of great installations in the gardens, most of all the intriguing tent with video installation of Tayeba Begum Lipi

and in the garden studios the wonderful mirror glass installation of ???



But let’s focus on the very interesting selection of artworks for the Patan Museum venue created by Nepali artists.

Jupiter Pradhan (Nepal, 1977)
The Ring, 2017

A wonderful installtion with five rings and faces positioned on rings which express different emotions, such as joy, anger, suprise, sadness, contentment. The artist has great respect for the fine workmanship of traditional craftsworkers and aspires to express their feelings with these carefully crafted masks.



Kunjan Tamang (Nepal, 1989)

Teko (support around us), 2015

A square black painted canvas is worked on with a whole series of staples. The staples are accumulated in the form resembling diagonal wooden beams used to support houses and temples damaged by the earthquake. The artist took an element we all know from the streets of Kathmandu, and made a rhythmic composition with it.



Saurganga Darshandhari (Nepal, 1980)
Mero Aama ko Thaili (My mother’s purse), 2017

This artist excels in printmaking and etching. In this medium she explores with delicacy and a sense for lines and traces issues that often deal with femininity. A personal sense of beauty is linked with motives which move between figuration and forms of abstraction. For the Kathmandu Triennale the artist conceived a brand new series of etchings and a sound installation ‘Mero Aama ko Thaili’. In each print the Thaili (purse) of her mother is the protagonist of the etching. A purse is here like a container – not only to keep money, but also to preserve memories and personal emotions.



Sunita Maharjan (Nepal)

As cities are a patchwork of neighborhoods and places, the work of Sunita Maharjan is like a collage of stitched pieces of textile on which she has transferred images. The work has a soft color over which the different urban elements are positioned in black lining. The artist observes the city and filters archetypical elements of it to make a rhythmic panoramically composition.



Youdhister Maharjan (Nepal,)


Newspapers are the main material for the work created by Boston-based Youdhister Maharjan for Kathmandu Triennale. The artist questions the daily information with which we are surrounded in making delicate cut-outs and collages using newspaper pages. The information becomes secondary, the play of forms, lines and shadows prevail. In a gentle and precise way the artist subverts the way we are informed daily about what’s happening in politics, economy and society as a whole. In the back garden of the Patan Museum the artists constructs a sculpture between trees just by piling up newspapers. The newspapers is used in the way a painter uses paint. Rain and sun will modify the work during the course of the exhibition.


See also these other posts on KT2017:







KT2017: the exhibit at Nepal Art Council

KT2017: the exhibit at Nepal Art Council

Simply fabulous! Having watched and promoted the contemporary art of Nepal for over a decade now, I am stunned to see the enormous strides this art and its artists have made under the wonderful curation of  Philippe Van Cauteren and the excellent management of Siddhartha Arts Foundation. All three stories of the Nepal Arts Council present works of a high calibre – exciting, innovative, thought-provoking … a total joy to behold.

Nepal Arts Council is a building with a history. Dating back to the 1990’s it was conceived and brought into being by the great Lain Singh Bangdel, the first modern master of Nepali painting. Upon his return from France he advocated that Nepal needed a “home” for the arts and managed to get the land and later build the 4-storied airy structure with funds totally from within Nepal. Up to this day there are complaints from artists and patrons that he didn’t create a “white box gallery”, but Bangdel did so very much on purpose as he knew all about Nepal’s problems with instable electricity, thus lighting, didn’t expect to change this in the years to come (and it still hasn’t, even though black-outs have beome much more infrequent just recently) and went on to equip the exhibition quarters with milk glass windows.

And even from the outside the building presents itself in fine state, painted the characteristic blue of the TRIENNALE:


In my report on the TRIENNALE 2017 I will focus on the participating Nepali artists (25 out of the total 70) as it makes sense for this blog. TRIENNALE 2017 as a 2-week mega event is themed “The city: My studio / The city: My life” and is an invitation to discover artists from more than 25 countries in total. It comprises a multitude of artistic expressions: sculpture, painting, installation, video, performance, drawings and more.   Artists from Nepal are exhibited side by side with artists from other cultural backgrounds and experiences. Next to a dozen collateral venues there are four major ones: Taragaon Museum in Bouddha, Patan Museum, Siddhartha Art Gallery, and Nepal Art Council at Baber Mahal, on which this first blogpost will focus.

Manish Lal Shrestha (Nepal, 1977)

Project 1336m, 2017

Entering the building your attention is immediately grabbed by the intriguing and playful interactive installation of Manish Lal Shrestha: long colorful wooly ropes, arranged in a playful heap and meant to be touched and felt and romped around in.

The 1336m (elevation of Kathmandu) knitted ropes continue to be produced during the exhibition by a team of friendly and communicative volunteers. Visitors can watch the knitting (machine), sewing, and stuffing. Manish Lal emphasizes the notions of labor, communality, and process. On the last day of the exhibition the knitted rope will be carried through the city as a procession.


Bidhata KC (Nepal, 1978)

Artist Bidhata KC realized a new, gigantic structure placed over the three floors of the Nepal Art Council. The artists makes a contemporary ‘copy’ of the Machhindranath chariot. In reconstructing the chariot  with modern industrial materials, the artist questions the link between (religious) traditions and the situation of the city today. A tribute to the beauty of this ancient tradition, at the same time the artist raises valid questions.

The large space is then also dominated by a huge sculptural work of artist Bidhata K.C., one of three spread over the whole building.

The artist departs from her painting by creating these gigantic contemporary copies of the Machindranath Chariot of religious festivals. In reconstructing this chariot with modern industrial  materials, the artist questions the link between (religious) traditions and the situation of the city today. This impressive body of work is a tribute to the beauty of this ancient tradition, while at the same time being questioned by Bidhata.

Also on the ground floor amongst the international artists we find a video installation by Bangladeshi artist Mahbubur Rahman which calls for a special mention as it it constitutes a moving and totally respectful work on the topic of transgender. We enter the installation via a life-like bedroom/livingroom with real belongings and furniture only to step into the dark video chamber where a double projection provides insight into the intricate life of a Nepal transgender woman. We see the husband and father of two at home and in the street while at the same time watching him/her get ready to go to a party. There is no moment of awkwardness in watching this heart-wrenching and powerful double film.

Another international artist needs to be mentioned as we ascend the stairs to the first floor of the building. Rumanian artist Ciprian Muresan has installed a cardboard model of a few neighbourhoods in Bucarest as an obstacle for the visitor. Layed out on the floor of the landing, the visitor is obliged to destroy the city by walking on it. The work connects the 1977 earthquake of Bucharest with the 2015 earthquake in Nepal.

Kailash K. Shrestha

Also on the wall of the first floor landing a wonderful diptych by Kailash Shrestha. In this seemingly “unfinished” work, we see caps and gowns of possibly powerful men. By omitting faces and hands the artist makes a gentle statement on status and power, leaving to the eye only the actual attributes which define a person’s status.

Second floor Nepal Council

Entering the second floor exhibition hall the another ceiling-high sculpture of Bidhata K.C. (see collage beginning of this post) catches the eye in the diffusely lit and very well-appointed wide room.


Ang Tsherin Sherpa (Nepal/USA, 1968)

California-based Ang Tsherin Sherpa is known for his paintings where he transforms traditional images by merging them with contemporary elements. For Kathmandu Triennale the artist makes an installation in the form of a mandala made of debris from the 2015 earthquakes. Elements, as remnants of the destructive force of nature, are arranged into the perfect form of a mandala symbolizing the cosmos.

Known for his paintings where he transforms traditional images by merging them with contemporary elements, the artist has here created an installation in the form of a mandala of debris from the 2015 earthquake. The elements, as remnants of the destructive force of nature, are arranged into the perfect form of a mandala symbolizing the cosmos.

Pratima Thakali (Nepal, 1987)

The Glimpse of Contact, 2017

“This city is not my home; however, it has given me a space to live in (temporarily). As a migrant, moving from one place to another, I cannot own the space of this city but the memories. The fragments of spaces are the stories which I fold and unfold through ordinary visuals. Dealing with collage of physical and mental space gives a sense of spatial memories in forms of temporary attachment, displacement, disorientation and decay of the space.”


Birendra Pratap Singh (Nepal, 1956)

City Drawings, 2010 (from Private Collection of Prithvi and Pratima Pande)

These drawings depict in a frank and often humorous style the different iconic places of Kathmandu, Patan and Bakhtapur. The nervous lines gives the depicted structures a sense of instability. Upon closer inspection visitors can find the artist merging elements of modern society with ancient Newari temples and settlements. Through these drawings the artist chronicles the changing city.

Sanjeev Maharjan (Nepal, 1983)

Maharjan’s works are often inspired from his social surrounding, which he represents through drawing, painting, photography, installation and murals. Through his work, he wants people to wake up and notice what they would normally pass by.

Sujan Chitrakar (Nepal, 1974)

ASON, 2017

Stories shape places and places foster stories. A place as old as Ason, in downtown Kathmandu, has an unending flow of events and memories. They play out around the gallis and chowks of Ason from generation to generation. The shops and homes, crumbling buildings and new structures, commerce and religion create a vibrant space. Happiness, hope and joy are layered over despair, displacement and sadness in the many told and untold stories that have settled down around Ason over time. Through a series of intimate conversations with fathers and sons, the artist anchors his work in Ason and through the space he is able to empathize with their personal experiences and the complexities of relationships. Within a patriarchal system, father and son relationships can be fraught, lacking in both compassion and conversation, but the presence of love cannot be denied. The artist captures the fragments of memories, stories, spaces, memorabilia and people that he has discovered over the time he has spent in Ason.

Sheelasha Rajbhandari (Nepal, 1988)

With this installation the artist pays tribute to her grandmother. Through objects, personal photographs and sound recordings Sheelasha Rajbhandari digs into the past, and sometimes forgotten history of her city through the personal stories and collected memories of her grandmother. The work is characterized by its intimacy and personal layers.


Third floor Nepal Council

Moving on to the light-filled third floor, we first see societal commentary in cartoon-like form.


Mehk Limbu (Nepal, 1985)

This work takes the form of a comic strip. Normally heroic stories are being told in comic strips but these painted comics are fragments telling the story of Nepali migrant workers and their unfortunate fate. A relation is made with the consequences of the blockade and the earthquake. A Pop Art like element such as a comic strip is used to tell the often tragic story of thousands and thousands of people. No phrases are written; empty speech bubbles are there for the spectator to imagine the dialogues accompanying the events.

Bikash Shrestha (Nepal, 1985)

The work of Bikash Shrestha consists of three cubic forms on which elements of different parts of Kathmandu are printed. The artists transfers elements of public space on a small sized intimate format. The wood refers to the traditional architecture of the old Kathmandu.

Sujan Dangol (Nepal, 1981)

If we don’t know where we come from, we don’t know where we are going, 2017

Sujan Dangol has been meeting and talking with refugees weeks prior to the opening of the Triennale. This video is the result of a collaboration between the artist and a group of urban refugees living in Kathmandu Valley. The video is straightforward and simply a recording of the game ‘musical chairs.’ This ‘performance’ by actual refugees functions as a metaphor for the harsh fate that they have been and are forced to go through. This banal, playful game makes us think about the lives of others who maybe quietly living around us.

And an exception will be made here, too, by mentioning a very impressive international artist (just like on the ground floor with Mahbubur Rahman’s video installation and on the second floor with Ciprian Muresan’s destroyed model of Bucarest) from China.


Song Dong (China, 1966)

Mandala City for Eating, 2017

Food is a recurring element in the work of Song Dong. On different occasions Song Dong has been building models of fictional cities made out of cookies, biscuits and candies. The cityscape of a city turned into a sweet utopia. For the occasion of Kathmandu Triennale the artist made a city in the form of a mandala with biscuits, wafers and candy. At the end of its completion the mandala is swept away by visitors of the exhibition who eat the edible city. During the exhibition an empty plinth with leftovers becomes a witness to the eating event. On two screens, the whole performance of ‘Mandala City for Eating’ is documented.


Here on the third floor is looms also the largest of Bidhata K.C.’s structures, third in her series which is spread over all three floors:

… and on the way down the stairs the visitor’s eyes fall upon one of the few paintings in the exhibition:

Laxman Karmacharya (Nepal, 1986)

Private Collection: Himalayan Bank Ltd.

This painting can be situated in the tradition of the Pop Art. The artist combines banal vernacular with religious imagery. A god being depicted as a superhero is an image which can be read from different perspectives. The artist connects an American icon, Superman with the iconic imagery of Hindu deity.



… and so much for the this first post on KATHMANDU TRIENNALE 2017, with many more to follow!

KT2017: “Built/Unbuilt” exhibit focussing on migration and identity

KT2017: “Built/Unbuilt” exhibit focussing on migration and identity

Artists from Doha and Kathmandu cooperated under the curation of Dina Bangdel on a project to research and artistically interpret the burning issues of what migration does to peoples identity: “Built/Unbuilt: Home/City”. More than 150 guests joined the opening at Tangalwood in Naxal, being treated to great art and even greater artist talks later in the evening, including a performance by Nepali artist Sunil Sigdel. The exhibition was inaugurated by the ambassador of Qatar and eminent Qatari artis Yousuf Ahmad was honored as “KT2017 Distinguished Artist”.



Close to 500,000 migrant workers live and work in Qatar, more or less slaving away to keep the fast-paced modernization and building boom of the small emirate going. A lot of media coverage has focused on the hardships the migrant workers suffer, the many deaths due to poor work safety – but recently conditions seem to have been improving.

So three Nepali artists set out to research the situation themselves, being invited to Doha for a period of two weeks. Sheelasha Rajbhandari, Hitmaan Gurung, and Mekh Limbu got to meet many workers, were invited to the many many Nepali organisations, and interacted in art projects with the workers. At the same time three artists from Doha were invited to Kathmandu to deal with the Triennale’s main topic: my city/my studio, namely Abdulla Al-Kuwari , Carolina Aranibar-Fernandez, and Emelina Soares.

Curator Dina Bangdel gives background information on the exciting “Built/Unbuilt: Home/City” exhibition


Dina, how did this project come about in the first place?

My longstanding interest in the built heritage and the dynamics of the urban landscape and the agency of the community have been central to my research, and has in this project combined both the curatorial intent within a strong research-based intervention. Notion that the city can be seen as an instigator and catalyst for creative narratives is at the core of this interdisciplinary focus. The experience is mediated through the voices/lenses of the diaspora Nepalis living in Doha to explore these spaces of liminality within the city. How do these communities express narratives of home, belonging, and self within the city? How do artistic expression/entanglements serve to ‘create communities’ within the urban fabric? Artists will then create a body of work that will respond to these transcultural intersections, the lived histories and memories, and narratives of Doha’s past histories.


Why these six artists?

The practices of the six artists that I have selected for this collaborative project complement the exploration of two cities: Doha and Kathmandu, with the notion of city serving as the catalyst for dialogue. The city of Doha has historically been a rich palimpsest of cultures—particularly those of South Asia—and the focus of this research-¬‐based curatorial project is on the ways in which artists experiences and identities will touch upon multivalent narratives, storytelling, and orality.
Qatar/Doha plays a critical part in this narrative of nation-¬‐building for both Qatar and Nepal. Qatar has the highest number of Nepali migrant workers, approximately 500,000 who have made Doha their ‘home’. This project therefore seeks to find the narratives of belonging, memory and self within a palimpsest of narratives—centered around the city and its unbuilt or rebuilt spaces. By bringing together Nepali artists and Doha-¬‐based artists in dialogue with the local communities with the city as catalyst, the aims are to examine the layers of narratives that emerge within the lived space.

And the very interesting works showed just that. In a series of photographic works Hitmaan Gurung and Sheelasha Rajbandhari played with the issue of identity when donning the work uniforms of Nepali migrant workers whilst standing next to them, dressed up in their personal clothes.

They also conducted workshops with the workers having them draw their families, getting in touch with the loss and missing of their loved ones (the workers can go home on a visit only every three years and often completely miss the growing up of their children):

Qatari artist Emelina Soarez presented a fascinating work of a “Persian carpet” made in the way of a sand mandala with earths from Qatar, Nepal, and India. She created a beautifully impermanent work of art an invited the guests to walk all over her “carpet”, making the different earths mingle beautifully:

The exhibit also featured video installations by Mekh Limbu (whose own father has been working in Qatar for more than 20 years and whom he got to see again after a period of two years during this project) and Doha-based Bolivian Carolina Aranibar Fernandez, as well as two works by Abdulla al Kuwari – one a rather sharp image of a Kathmandu scenery and the other a total blur, referring to the dust and chaos he experienced during his time in the city.

After the artists talked briefly about their works in the lovely upstairs showroom of Tangalwood, the guests took back to the garden to witness a performance by Nepali artist Sunil Sigdel who proceeded to draw blood from his fingertips, dabbing it up with cotton balls and then offering to the public “his last drops of blood” on a shovel and clad as a desert labourer.


The evening proceeded with a fascinating symposium session with both groups of artists, dealing with identity and migration and how they are personally affected, moderated by Dina Bangel and Christine Brosius of Heidelberg University (for the Nepali group) and Veeranganakumari Solanki Jamwal from India (for the Doha-based group).

Pan-South Asian exhibit with Nepali artists in Kolkata

Pan-South Asian exhibit with Nepali artists in Kolkata

“Things Lost/Remembering the Future” is a pan-South Asian exhibition at GANGES ART gallery in Kolkata that explores the ideas of loss, being and regeneration through the lens of personal and public memory. The exhibition is the first of a series that hopes to open up new channels of communication, and understanding, of the region’s unique political/historical reality and its cultural sub-texts. The opening will take place Saturday 25th March at 6pm.

Co-Curated by Kurchi Dasgupta

Curated by artists Kurchi Dasgupta and Amritah Sen, Things Lost/Remembering the Future focuses essentially on the small, the forgotten, the mis-represented as opposed to the official and the monumental. It looks upon the present from both the past and the future and investigates the processes through which historical narratives habitually emerge. We hope it will allow an alternative perception of history to spill through, one that links the South Asian experience to the larger, Global South.

One platform for 14 artists from 8 countries

This is possibly the first exhibition in Kolkata that brings together 14 artists from 8 South Asian countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka) on one platform. The works were selected with an eye on the unexpected in terms of media and content.

Some of the artists are globally established names, some are comparatively new, and a few are fresh graduates. The one aim was to magnify those rare, incisive voices that are consciously commenting on, critiquing and resisting the xenophobic and gender-biased, mainstream idea of the region’s history. The other was to give space to the forgotten and the personal, hoping this would evolve into an inclusive identity map that differs from the currently available version.

A specific, long term aim is to present rigorously curated shows on the theme in each of the involved countries, facilitating a dedicated exchange between cities and cultures, artists and institutions, ideas and viewers, the loaded present and an anthropocenic future. Bhutan will be taking part in the next edition.

  • David Alesworth (Pakistan) (
  • Kurchi Dasgupta (India) (+ 91 9654871180,
  • Tayeba Begum Lipi (Bangladesh) (
  • Huma Mulji (Pakistan) (
  • Aye Ko (Myanmar) (
  • Rahraw Omarzad (Afghanistan) (
  • Pala Pothupitiye (Sri Lanka) (
  • Ashmina Ranjit (Nepal) (
  • Amritah Sen (India) (, +91 9830112217))
  • Sunil Sigdel (Nepal) (
  • Thisath Thoradeniya (Sri Lanka)(
  • Thyitar (Myanmar) (
  • Mustafa Zaman (Bangladesh) (
  • Maimoona Hussain (Maldives) (


About Ganges Art Gallery

Since opening in September 2007, Ganges Art Gallery has organized and curated shows and retrospectives for an array of modern and contemporary artists from India and elsewhere in the subcontinent. These exhibitions have showcased the works of not just established but also upcoming artists working in painting, sculpture, video, photography and new media and whose practices are significant within cotemporary art and culture. One of our aims is to expose emerging talent through exhibitions at the gallery and participation in select international art fairs.

Located in a large, refurbished colonial structure in what is fast becoming Kolkata’s gallery hub, Ganges Art Gallery and its shows have received favourable reviews in newspapers and periodicals. We are looking to expand our presence overseas by engaging in strategic partnerships with museums and galleries of note in Asia, Europe and the United States.

Owned and managed by Smita Bajoria, Ganges is, in the future, looking to go beyond the boundaries of a traditional art gallery by hosting talks, art appreciation courses, film screenings and book readings. Our endeavour is to be a centre of creative and artistic excellence in a city synonymous with cultural activity.

33A, Jatin Das Road, Kolkata 700029, India | Tel: + 91 33 2465 3212 | | Timings: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Sunday closed) | 2013 © Ganges Art Gallery.

See more from/about Kurchi Dasgupta here>


LaLit Interview with Philippe Van Cauteren on KT2017

LaLit Interview with Philippe Van Cauteren on KT2017

Repost of a very fine interview published today, March 20th 2017, in literary magazine LaLit. Learn much about the planning and total process of creating KATHMANDU TRIENNALE 2017 in this highly intelligent conversation with Belgian curator Philippe Van Cauteren.

Taking care of art:
Philippe Van Cauteren and the Kathmandu Triennale

Image: Philippe Van Cauteren, photo by Dirk Pauwels


Philippe Van Cauteren is the curator for the upcoming Kathmandu Triennale, which focuses on the theme of the city. He is the Artistic Director of Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (S.M.A.K.) in Ghent, Belgium. Cauteren has also worked as a freelance curator and publicist in Germany, Mexico, Chile and Brazil, and has been represented twice at the Venice Biennale. In 2015, he was appointed by the RUYA Foundation to curate the Iraqi Pavilion.

… I have this belief – it might be a romantic one – that art is as valid for society as is a butcher, supermarket, religion and law. Art is a means for healing. Through an intangible and nonfunctional way, art can have a therapeutic effect on society.


What does curation mean to you as a creative process?

The words “curation” and “curating” come to me with a certain ambivalence. It is only with the professionalisation of the art world that this word appears and has, at times, taken on a bigger importance than even the word “artist”. Recently, the famous curator Hans Ulrich Obrist was wondering if it was not time to find another word for “curator”. This, to me, indicates a problem with the word. If you look at the origin of the word from the latin word “curare”, it means to take care of and cherish. This would be the ideal perspective to look at curating – taking care of the artist by having a solid and substantial exchange to provoke or inspire the right process or intervention.

At the level of an exhibition like the Kathmandu Triennale, which is like a festival, curating is also about trying to understand the place where one works. As best as possible, you have to try to understand the cultural and social surrounding in which you are active. This is a complex element wherever you are active – whether Belgium, France, Iraq or Nepal – you are always an intruder, a guest. But it is about developing empathy for our surroundings and its contexts to identify good and meaningful interventions or additions.


In your curatorial statement you state, “An exhibition is namely a tool (for transformation) and an instrument, which generates meaning, and that which serves, in its spatial articulation, to make the predefined artwork to become ‘elastic.’” Can you go into this idea of elasticity as it seems pertinent to your curatorial understanding?

Yes, with the elasticity, I think and hope that we hold the notion that an art work is not a unidimensional thing – it is not something that can be read or understood in one way. It is not to be taken like a scientific model or mathematical proof. How an art work interacts with its surroundings and spectators means that it has a very flexible existence, it always interacts with a plurality of people. What an art work means for you does not necessarily mean the same for me, in this sense, it has an elastic way of existence. In relation to the Triennale in post-earthquake Kathmandu where many things are still fragile and in some cases uncertain and not evident, the artists and the art works need this elastic capacity to answer to the place in which he or she is coming into.


So in terms of curating this exhibition, is it more about taking what the artists are doing in terms of that elasticity within their art or are you trying to create a space where those conversations could open up? How do you approach this part of the curation, is it spatial or art based?

Everything starts with the place of course, but you have to feel the necessity. If there is no necessity to do an exhibition then it is better not to do an exhibition. When I came to Nepal in November 2015 to teach a 10-day workshop, I had a fantastic exchange of dialogue with the people whom I was teaching. I fell in love with the city and this idea of doing the Triennale came around from there.

Given how busy I already am, I would not have accepted the proposal to do the Triennale if I did not sense a necessity. For me, necessity should be at the core of every activity. Of course what is necessary for me is not necessary for another person. And in terms of art and culture, there can be a lot of disagreements about necessity. Most politicians, in any country in the world, will not see art and culture as a necessary tool in society. But I have this belief – it might be a romantic one – that art is as valid for society as is a butcher, supermarket, religion and law.

… because an artist thinks, proceeds with and processes images and things as a means to connect the past, present and future. Almost no one else does this.

Art is a means for healing. Through an intangible and nonfunctional way, art can have a therapeutic effect on society. Of course this is not measurable, like how a certain medical treatment can lead to a decline in mortality. On the contrary, art is neither quantifiable nor does it have a direct function. Art holds up an extreme mirror to society. It is the best way to get a critical view of ourselves, our society and the world we live in and there is no better person to do this than an artist – not a journalist or scientist – because an artist thinks, proceeds with and processes images and things as a means to connect the past, present and future. Almost no one else does this.


Going back to the idea of curation and this idea of the artist, the Triennale isn’t just happening in one location, it is happening in multiple locations around the city – Patan Museum, Nepal Art Council, Siddhartha Art Gallery, Taragaon Museum – how do you approach the curatorial work itself?

Keep in mind that this is one exhibition happening in four different locations. The Kathmandu Triennale is one exhibition that is interconnected across these spaces. Each of the locations represent four different typologies of spaces. For instance, the Nepali Art Council has long been used for art practices, the Patan Museum reflects a certain part and layer of Nepali history and society, the Taragaon Museum was built to be a hotel by an Austrian architect and is a Western space, while the Siddhartha Art Gallery is a logical place for art.

Each of our locations is being used in a different way and the artists in them are being presented in a different way. In the Art Council, the artworks will interact with each other whereas in the Taragaon Museum you will have separate exhibitions in the individual units you find there. The kind of artist we present in the different places is determined by its architectural gifts. The four locations are of the same importance, but we try to answer to the space with respect to the context and the origin of the place.

The title of the exhibition, as you know, is “The City, My Studio / The City, My Life”. This reflects the notion of the city as a kind of primordial place where life takes place, a source of inspiration, a working ground and context for the art itself. The Triennale is also not just the presentation of the art works but also the conversations, meetings and the sharing of ideas. The art work is just the first step to build collaborations and partnerships.

The Triennale is like a pumping system to show the potential of the arts in other industries in the city. This is why we have invested a lot into our outreach to work with schools and children to give the exhibition as many anchors as possible. We want to show that there is a necessity to continue this and that there should be a second one in 2020. This exhibition is a part of Kathmandu. I am not a person who is here to do my thing and then leave, I bring my experience of close to 20 years in different places and locations but it is the city that is doing the exhibition.


What do you think makes the Kathmandu Triennale necessary at this point of time?

I met many Nepali artists – I think around 60 to 70 – from different generations. I have tremendous respect for the engagement with which they work. There were a number of artists who responded to the earthquake by taking art along with basic necessities. These artists took a stance. They said that they too could contribute and address the tragedy by helping people and softening the trauma people went through. You may believe in it or not, but it is a very courageous position for artists to take. The generosity of the artists in Nepal is in taking on cultural responsibility. They go beyond their own need to create their art works and take a position in society.

… the generosity of the artists in Nepal is in taking on cultural responsibility. They go beyond their own need to create their art works and take a position in society.

Another remarkable thing in Nepal is this remarkable continuum of the traditional arts. The tradition is very present while at the other end of the spectrum are contemporary artists and artists who think they are contemporary but are maybe more traditional than traditional artists. It’s fantastic to see so many art practices existing at the same time. However, I see there is a lack of a person – going back to the idea of a curator – who mediates between the artist and their art work. Someone to make their work more precise and help the artist formulate his or her work more precisely and accurately while thinking better about the form and content of the art work. If it is not in the sense of taking care, I have a very ambivalent relationship with the notion of a curator. I hope that the Triennale will show what the role of the curator can be and how meaningful it can be.


In terms of the artist taking a stance in society, would you be able to curate an exhibition with artists whose ethical stance or ethos you do not agree with?

I wouldn’t be able to, of course not, but I can understand that the artist is the only person in society who is able to deal with ethical questions in a different way. The rest of us have to work within the parameters of social compromise, whereas the artist is the only one who can stand outside this logic and take on another ethical position: but he or she also has to bear the consequences of it. But I would never collaborate or deal with an artist whose ethical position I would not be able to embrace.

Let me be clear about this – this does not mean I will not engage with artists with whom I disagree, there are after all plenty of positions. Even in this exhibition, there are artists with whom I do not agree 100%, but I still respect them. You do need something in common, even if it is a broad cultural sense and belief in the validation of art for society. In contrast, I would never deal with an artist who promotes ideas of racism, inequality and discrimination or takes a position against humanity.


Sticking with the politics that is associated with the arts, and the “city” that is central to the Triennale’s theme. Cities are places of both diversity and inequality: how do you balance the engagement with the city and make it accessible?

All spaces are spaces of inequality, not only the city, like the school system, the medical system. Unfortunately, inequality is one of the most difficult things to get rid of in the world. In Nepal, the caste system is not officially validated, but you will still see it play out for many generations. In my country, as well, various forms of inequality are present. I believe we have to try to have people participate in the Triennale to multiply the moments of contact between artists and viewers. This is why we emphasise our outreach to

… I believe we have to try to have people participate in the Triennale to multiply the moments of contact between artists and viewers.

schools, kids and young people. Most international artists are coming here to have an exchange with Nepali artists. We will be doing workshops, masterclasses, portfolio reviews – I want the artists to come to Nepal not just to enjoy themselves but to work, work, work and share their knowledge and point of views. I should also emphasise that the exhibition is a tool for information and communication. The Triennale is a catalyst. I hope it can add to fighting indifference, inspiring youth and encouraging the next generation to contribute to the future of this country.


How do you curate the outreach? Do you design the exhibition and then build the outreach or is outreach part of the exhibition design itself?

At the core of everything is the artist and the art, always. That is the starting point. But, of course, you do not think linearly. You don’t think, first comes the artist and then comes the second thing and then the third thing. You take it all together. So, from the beginning, we said our outreach is important. In each of the four locations, we will have outreach units. Also, the whole process of reaching out to schools and young people has already started and has been happening for months already. You cannot separate it, you have to think of it as a whole. But, we must acknowledge that we can do these things thanks to the artists and the art works.

… the Triennale is a catalyst. I hope it can add to fighting indifference, inspiring youth and encouraging the next generation to contribute to the future of this country.

What happens after the exhibition? Will there be any publications?

The exhibition only lasts two weeks. During this time, the focus is very strongly on things happening in Kathmandu and Nepal even though there will be plenty of guests visiting. We will be making a catalogue for the Triennale by the end of this year to give us time to prepare it well. We will include shots of all the exhibits and will include some critical texts on the exhibition. This catalogue will be the only thing left over from the exhibition, the only tangible thing that will remain. Most art works are temporary and this will be the only record of everything. For me, this catalogue will be a very important tool and will be a means to provide knowledge and information about the exhibition worldwide. We will also use it to prepare for the next Triennale in 2020.

The Kathmandu Triennale will be held in various locations around Kathmandu from March 24, 2016 to April 9, 2017. For further information, please visit:  

Source: LaLIt Magazine



KATHMANDU TRIENNALE 2017: introducing Ashmina Ranjit

KATHMANDU TRIENNALE 2017: introducing Ashmina Ranjit

Please enjoy the KT 2017*** video presenting one of the participating artists, Ashmina Ranjit, and her work:


Artist Statement

My art is rooted in my need to revisit Asian Traditional Culture from a woman’s perspective. Community, its essence and its power are the force that drives me to create. For me, love, social justice, equality freedom and our rights as human beings, living in our societies, our countries, and the world at large are the most important aspect of life. I create paintings, drawings, videos, sound pieces, installations and performances about the socio-political issues with a strong focus on female identity. My work questions female cultural role, social gendering, and physical experiences and sexuality while reclaiming women’s experiences and giving voice to their political concerns and their most intimate expressions of desire, joy and fulfillment. I work on both individual projects and in collaboration with other artists. I also invite the general audience to participate. Social injustice, human violation, and the on going violence in my country Nepal and around the world are critical in my work. In my performances and installation works, participants are invited to express themselves, raise issues of mutual concern and increase awareness of the topic that are addressed.”



Ashmina Ranjit is an interdisciplinary “artivist” who works internationally on themes related to cultural roles, social gendering, sexuality, human rights and other ever-pressing socio-political issues. She has performed and executed various projects in USA, Europe, Australia and Asia.



Lasanaa is an artivist organization that begun in 2007. Their main agenda is social reform through art. They seek to have the Nepali art community be more involved with social issues. They believe in bringing people together to allow learning through exchange, social reforms through art and artivisim.




Kathmandu Triennale 2017 – The City

Kathmandu Triennale is Nepal’s premier platform for global contemporary arts. It is the latest iteration of the pioneering Kathmandu International Art Festival (KIAF 2009, 2012). Like the precursory Festivals, the Triennale thematically engages particular social issues while advancing a nuanced approach to promote the pedagogical potential of the arts. Through the Triennale, organizer Siddhartha Arts Foundation (SAF) presents multiple perspectives on edition themes – to educate audiences and engage society in critical dialogue. Kathmandu Triennale’s inaugural edition (KT 2017) will be dedicated to the theme of The City and is curated by Philippe Van Cauteren, Belgium while associated museum S.M.A.K an organizing partner of the event. KT 2017 opens on 24 March, 2017.

Official website:

KTM TRIENNALE 2017: introducing Sujan Chitrakar

KTM TRIENNALE 2017: introducing Sujan Chitrakar

Please enjoy the KT 2017*** video presenting one of the participating artists, Sujan Chritrakar, and his work:


Sujan Chitrakar (b. 1974) is a Kathmandu based visual artist. He is an assistant professor and the Head of Center for Art and Design at Kathmandu University. He is also a recipient of the Fulbright Senior Scholar award 2013-14 for an artistic research project at the mural arts program of Philadelphia. He facilitated the Kathmandu International Art Festival – Earth | Body | Mind in 2012 as a creative and logistic consultant and also co-curated its first edition – Separating myths from the reality in 2009. He has several participations in international group exhibitions that include his representation for Nepal at Fukuoka Triennale 2005 and Colombo Art Biennale 2011. His solos include Utopian introspection! -random expressions within defined periphery, 2004, Masticated faces, 2004 and Let’s talk about art, baby!, 2010-11. He is one of the founding members of Sutra Nepal, an artist-led group pro-active during 2003-08.




Kathmandu Triennale 2017 – The City

Kathmandu Triennale is Nepal’s premier platform for global contemporary arts. It is the latest iteration of the pioneering Kathmandu International Art Festival (KIAF 2009, 2012). Like the precursory Festivals, the Triennale thematically engages particular social issues while advancing a nuanced approach to promote the pedagogical potential of the arts. Through the Triennale, organizer Siddhartha Arts Foundation (SAF) presents multiple perspectives on edition themes – to educate audiences and engage society in critical dialogue. Kathmandu Triennale’s inaugural edition (KT 2017) will be dedicated to the theme of The City and is curated by Philippe Van Cauteren, Belgium while associated museum S.M.A.K an organizing partner of the event. KT 2017 opens on 24 March, 2017.

See the official website:

KTM TRIENNALE 2017: presenting Jupiter Pradhan

KTM TRIENNALE 2017: presenting Jupiter Pradhan

Please enjoy the KT 2017*** video presenting one of the participating artists, Jupiter Pradhan, and his work:

Artist’s Statement

“Art has a great amount of gravity, which is constantly satisfying. Art and its utility is slowly growing into an absolute understanding of reality. And when this absolute understanding is attained, perhaps that attainment is what is known as enlightenment. In search of satisfaction, art has taken me closer to the elements of society. This is how I can touch, play & speak with society, delve deep inside it. This is how I relate myself to my surroundings. Streams of experiences and expressions begin to flow from within me. This is when art becomes a medium to me.”


Jupiter Pradhan, holds a BFA in painting from the Tribhuvan University (2005) and an MFA in painting from the University of Development Alternative, Dhaka, Bangladesh (2009). Pradhan is a multi-media artist whose artistic expression includes performance, video, painting and craft. He has had solo exhibitions in Kathmandu and the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan. Pradhan’s works have also been included in several group exhibitions in Nepal, India, Bangladesh and Japan. Art residencies have taken him to Japan, South Korea and Indonesia. Pradhan, who is an active curator and art event organizer, was also an exhibiting artist in the 2nd Kathmandu International Art Festival 2012.




Kathmandu Triennale 2017 – The City

Kathmandu Triennale is Nepal’s premier platform for global contemporary arts. It is the latest iteration of the pioneering Kathmandu International Art Festival (KIAF 2009, 2012). Like the precursory Festivals, the Triennale thematically engages particular social issues while advancing a nuanced approach to promote the pedagogical potential of the arts. Through the Triennale, organizer Siddhartha Arts Foundation (SAF) presents multiple perspectives on edition themes – to educate audiences and engage society in critical dialogue. Kathmandu Triennale’s inaugural edition (KT 2017) will be dedicated to the theme of The City and is curated by Philippe Van Cauteren, Belgium while associated museum S.M.A.K an organizing partner of the event. KT 2017 opens on 24 March, 2017.

See the official website:

Aditya Aryal: opening at TINGS LOUNGE HOTEL

Aditya Aryal: opening at TINGS LOUNGE HOTEL

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.”

Why Aditya?

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:
Aditya Aryal

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


KTM TRIENNALE 2017: presenting Manish Lal Shrestha

KTM TRIENNALE 2017: presenting Manish Lal Shrestha

Please enjoy the KT 2017*** video presenting one of the participating artists, Manish Lal Shrestha, and his work:


Manish  is a multidimensional visual artist, who has had 13 solo exhibitions, several workshops and residencies internationally in Switzerland, France, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, USA and Nepal. He has several awards to his name including the National Fine Arts award (2011), from Nepal Academy of Fine Arts. He is Founder/Executive Director of Gallery Mcube, Nepal. He is also a visiting faculty at the Srijana College of Fine Arts, Nepal.  Shrestha is an alum of the JJ School of Arts in Mumbai, India.




Kathmandu Triennale 2017 – The City

Kathmandu Triennale is Nepal’s premier platform for global contemporary arts. It is the latest iteration of the pioneering Kathmandu International Art Festival (KIAF 2009, 2012). Like the precursory Festivals, the Triennale thematically engages particular social issues while advancing a nuanced approach to promote the pedagogical potential of the arts. Through the Triennale, organizer Siddhartha Arts Foundation (SAF) presents multiple perspectives on edition themes – to educate audiences and engage society in critical dialogue. Kathmandu Triennale’s inaugural edition (KT 2017) will be dedicated to the theme of The City and is curated by Philippe Van Cauteren, Belgium while associated museum S.M.A.K an organizing partner of the event. KT 2017 opens on 24 March, 2017.

KTM TRIENNALE 2017: presenting Bidhata KC

KTM TRIENNALE 2017: presenting Bidhata KC

Please enjoy the KT 2017*** video presenting one of the participating artists, Bidhata KC, and her work:


Bidhata KC received her MFA from Tribhuvan University, Nepal. She has taken part in various group exhibitions and projects in Nepal and internationally. KC has had showed her works in 7 solo exhibitions till date. In 2013 she was awarded with ‘Master Tej Bahadur Chitrakar Smriti Puraskar’ for the Best Painting/Artist award and in 2011 her painting was honored with a ‘Special Mention Award’ in the National Fine Art Exhibition. Likewise, she was honored by ‘Arniko National Youth Art Award’, a National Government Award for excellence in Modern Art.

Bidhata has always been curious about her surroundings and draws inspiration from nature. She travels widely in order to gather inspiration. Her choice of medium range from painting and printmaking to installations and multimedia.



Kathmandu Triennale 2017 – The City

Kathmandu Triennale is Nepal’s premier platform for global contemporary arts. It is the latest iteration of the pioneering Kathmandu International Art Festival (KIAF 2009, 2012). Like the precursory Festivals, the Triennale thematically engages particular social issues while advancing a nuanced approach to promote the pedagogical potential of the arts. Through the Triennale, organizer Siddhartha Arts Foundation (SAF) presents multiple perspectives on edition themes – to educate audiences and engage society in critical dialogue. Kathmandu Triennale’s inaugural edition (KT 2017) will be dedicated to the theme of The City and is curated by Philippe Van Cauteren, Belgium while associated museum S.M.A.K an organizing partner of the event. KT 2017 opens on 24 March, 2017.

Meet Philippe Van Cauteren, curator of KATHMANDU TRIENNALE 2017

Meet Philippe Van Cauteren, curator of KATHMANDU TRIENNALE 2017

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:

—-> see more on KATHMANDU TRIENNALE here:



Erina Tamrakar Single Exhibit at Park Gallery

Erina Tamrakar Single Exhibit at Park Gallery

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)


KTM TRIENNALE 2017: presenting Kiran Maharjan

KTM TRIENNALE 2017: presenting Kiran Maharjan

Please enjoy this wonderful video presenting one of the participating artists, Kiran Maharjan, and his work:


Kiran Maharjan is a street artist whose works depict images painted realistically with spray, paint which have elements of calligraphy. His work revolves around the dual nature of man and of the artist himself. Maharjan completed his BFA degree from Kathmandu University centre for Art and Design in 2014. He has exhibited his work in galleries like Siddhartha Art Gallery, Nepal Art Council and in various other alternative venues like Alliance Francaise de Katmandou and Tings Tea Lounge. He is currently involved in the street art project called Prasad and also conducts various street art workshops in and around the capital. His work can be seen nationally in the streets of Kupondole, Thamel, Pokhara, Birgunj, and Internationally in Denmark and Finland.