“Govt Does Not Understand Art”

After organizing the second international art festival in Kathmandu, Sangeeta Thapa has high hopes about the prospects of art in the country. But at the same time, she is disappointed by the lack of interest shown by the government towards art. The a

Dec. 28, 2012, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol.:06 No.-13 Dec.28-2012(Poush 13,2069)

You organized the second international art festival after a period of three years. What goal motivated you at the beginning?

The main goal of the festival is to establish Nepal as a destination for international art festivals. We tried to bring up the issue of environmental change through art this time. Our goal is also to teach our society the importance of art and its meaning.

How was the achievement?

When we work hard, we definitely achieve something. Curators who arrived from various foreign nations like Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka were surprised to see our festival. Dr. Alka Pandey of India and others praised our work and said it will be difficult even for them to organize festivals in their countries. Praises that we have received from such international curators are very high achievements. We are motived to work even more.

It is said that the visitors were fewer than expected.

It is not a simple job to organize an art exhibitions in 16 different places for a whole month. The gathering was good as we had selected destinations from around the valley. We are still analyzing the numbers. In Patan, some 500 visitors arrived daily. This shows that people are slowly getting aware of art and its importance. It is a big thing to organize such festivals amidst all the problems.

What problems?

This time the cost exceeded our expectations. Load shedding, shortage of gallery and light management made the work very poor. In Nepal Art Foundation and Patan Museum, there were no generators for the power backup. This also showed the government’s lack of interest in art.

Didn’t you discuss these issues with the government before the festival?

What to say about this! The support from the government was its praise for art as the jewelry of the nation and that was all, and it was very disappointing. Forget about helping us in the exhibition, the government officials didn’t even visit the exhibition to encourage us. We printed cards saying that the Prime Minister will inaugurate the festival. But he did not attend the event. As the theme was about climate change, we asked for help from the environment ministry. We received no help, they instead criticized our work.


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