This year marks 20 years since the start of the Maoist rebellion in Nepal. This war and its aftermath have left deep scars on many Nepali lives, and still affect the country at large. Last year, Nepal was hit by several horrific earthquakes, which killed over 8,000 people and left over 800,000 families homeless. A new festival in the country's capital is exploring such devastation through photography.
In a year of untold devastation for the country of Nepal, and twenty years to the day after one of the country’s most defining wars, Photo Kathmandu, Nepal’s only international photography festival, is gearing up for its second edition.
NayanTara Gurung Kakshapati, Co-Founder of the festival, tells BJP of the challenges Nepal has faced, and how the festival will try to respond to it – primarily by exhibiting work from around Asia that speak of humanity’s ability to survive, and continue, despite the most unthinkable hardship.
“Among a dozen powerful exhibitions, Photo Kathmandu 2016 will feature ‘Afghan Dreams’ by Sandra Calligaro. This work presents the daily life of the Afghan people, who work and play despite their political and economic upheavals.
“It is an alternate representation of Afghanistan, and holds up a mirror to daily life there, challenging our notions of the war-torn nation.
“The festival also presents work like ‘Alive’ by Kim Hak of Cambodia. The series looks back at the Khemer Rouge period by examining images of objects that survived the genocide.
“Another great work that we are proud to feature is titled ‘Broken Dreams’ by Arantxa Cedillo who looks at a group of inspiring Nepali women who have broken barriers and charted new paths in Nepali society.
“We hope these works will inspire the Nepali public and give them resolve to overcome what has been a very challenging 15 months here in Nepal.”
The festival aims to be a platform where local and regional photographers can learn, share and grow. Hopefully their storytelling will continue to put Nepal on the map, especially this year as the attention of the international media fades away and as we still struggle to resurface and recover from the horrific earthquakes last year.
Photo Kathmandu 2016 will host 12 print exhibitions, 7 slide-show nights, 14 artist talks, 6 workshops and a mixed-media residency that will bring artists together to respond to and converse with the historic city of Patan, where the festival will be anchored.
This year’s selected artists in residency are: Arijit Bhattacharyya (India), Catrine Val (Germany), Julia Schuster (UK), Daniel Arthur Panjwaneey (Pakistan), Rajan Shrestha (Nepal) and Shimul Saha (Bangladesh). Bangladeshi artist and curator Mahbubur Rahman, co-founder of Britto Arts Trust, will be the curator-in-residence.
The 12 print exhibitions presented by the festival this year include works by the following artists: Azadeh Akhlaghi (Iran), Jannatul Mawa (Bangladesh), Tasneem Alsultan (Saudi Arabia), Shikhar Bhattarai (Nepal), Bruce Owens (USA), Kim Hak (Cambodia), Arantxa Cedillo (Spain), Sandra Calligaro (France), and Ian Teh (UK/Malaysia) among others.
The festival will also feature an exhibition featuring archival works from Nepal Picture Library and works by French projection artist Clément Briend.
The festival presents several workshops by local and visiting photo practitioners including Pablo Bartholomew (India), Lars Willumeit (Germany), Yann Mingard (Switzerland), Kishor Sharma (Nepal), Shikhar Bhattarai (Nepal), Kevin WY Lee (Singapore), Prawin Adhikari (Nepal), Kevin Bubriski (USA) and Patrick Witty (USA).
Photo Kathmandu will be held between 21 October and 3 November, 2016. More information is available here.