Emerging Photo Narratives of Nepal

German Embassy Kathmandu, in collaboration with Goethe Institute in New Delhi and Pix India, organizes the 35-day photo exhibition titled “Emerging Photo Narratives of Nepal.”

Sept. 29, 2016, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol 10, No 4, September 16,2016 (Bhadra 31, 2073)

German Embassy Kathmandu, in collaboration with Goethe Institute in New Delhi and Pix India, organizes the 35-day photo exhibition titled “Emerging Photo Narratives of Nepal.”

 The exhibition takes place in Taragaon Museum Kathmandu, inside the premises of Hotel Hayat Regency Bouddha. The event, dedicated to creating an archive of contemporary Nepalese photo-practices, begins on Friday, 30th September and continues until Monday, 7th November. The exhibition brings together the creations of 14 photographers from Nepal, India and Europe.

According to a press release issued by Embassy of Germany,  Nepal today contributes to the global visual culture while examining its own unique contemporary social issues amid the debates on constitution and rebuilding the country from the devastation of earthquake in 2015. Little known studios, family photographs and images of state culture seem to merge in Nepal, creating a new visual genealogy in the region. This exhibition is a foray into the emerging photo narratives in Nepal, historical and contemporary, and the ways in which they mobilize viewership.

 Co-hosting this exhibition through the Embassy in Kathmandu underlines German government’s longstanding commitment to support in preserving and promoting Nepal’s distinctive culture and art.

PIX is a South Asia oriented contemporary photography platform and display practice based in India. Founded by Rahaab Allana and Nandita Jaishankar in 2011, PIX is about investigating and engaging with broad and expansive fields of contemporary photographic practice in South Asia, ranging from the application, conceptual standing and adaptability of photography to its subjects: its movement, transmission, appropriation and distinct relation to the allied arts. By often seeking non-professional, amateur but legible photographers PIX questions the mainstream, and also the role of photography today: art-media, documentary, digital, virtual, etc.

The writers for PIX are scholars, theorists, researchers and practitioners working in the areas of art history, visual anthropology, philosophy, culture and technology studies as well as artists, curators, media practitioners, critics, novelists, poets and students who provide material that is original, on the varied practices of young, emerging photographers in the region.

The Nepal issue is Pix’ 13th volume dedicated to creating an archive of contemporary practices in Nepal. As Pix works as a theme-based quarterly, the theme for Nepal was Scope.

The idea of a network and its scope – the evolving role of the practitioner and his/her field of reference – stands at the shifting horizon of viewer engagement, where Nepal today contributes to a global visual culture while examining its own, unique history with a more speculative approach: minority issues, constitutional amendments and restitution efforts following the devastating earthquake in 2015. Here, little known studios, family photographs and images of state culture all seem to merge, creating a new visual genealogy in the region.

The issue is a foray into emerging photo narratives in Nepal, historical and contemporary, and the ways in which they mobilize viewership. This ‘scope’ is about how lines of sight are being established by practitioners within the country, as well the larger South Asian region to surmount visual hierarchies and redraft the vernacular – one that is not only regional in its aesthetics, but challenges the notion of world photography and its definition in the present. Contributing substantially to the flow of images, Nepal is poised to engage on the medium’s future. The issue seeks to look at significant social-political, personal and artistic strands developing in photography from the region.

About Taragaon Museum:

The Taragaon Museum is a cluster of seven buildings designed by the Austrian architect, Carl Pruscha, in 1970. The Museum is a piece of Kathmandu’s forgotten heritage which now stands within the compound of Hyatt Regency at Bouddhanath, Kathmandu.

In 2011, Arun Saraf undertook to renovate and preserve the erstwhile Taragaon Hotel under the able guidance of long time Kathmandu resident, German architect Professor Neils Gutschow. The Taragaon Museum was launched as a documentation centre for everything related to Himalayan traditions and culture. The museum documents the work of various artists, architects, anthropologists and photographers from abroad, who have worked and contributed in last 65 years researching, identifying, highlighting and preserving the cultural heritage of Kathmandu valley. The museum is a work in progress and we seek to collaborate with many such scholars who are currently not displayed here to recognize their contribution to the preservation of Nepalese culture and heritage.

Currently, a growing permanent collection, a contemporary art gallery and event hall, a café and few shops are the integral parts of the museum. In addition, the library and an archiving centre are in process.

Rahaab Allana completed his MA in Art History/Archaeology from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London University is an editor. He has published works in journals/catalogues and edited/authored publications and curated exhibitions on photography as an art form and documentary practice.

Editorial board includes Nandita Jaishankar who studied Anthropology at McGill University (Montreal) and Asia Pacific Studies at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver). She has been living in New Delhi since 2003, where she works as an editor.

Photo Editorial is  Philippe Calia is an artist, photographer and multimedia producer, currently based out of Bombay, India. His engagement with the realms of arts and photography also takes shape through the activities of writing, teaching and curation. Calia is a co-founding member of BIND, a photography-oriented collective that explores specific and inventive forms of engagement with the medium such as photobooks, installations and performances.

Akshay Mahajan is a photographic practitioner based in New Delhi. He restricts his practice to his immediate experience. His work has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Le Monde Diplomatique, Bloomberg Business Week & The Paris Review. He is also the co-publisher of blindboys.org, a community-driven space which uses simple yet effective ways to reach out to photographers and audiences alike.

Tanvi Mishra is a freelance documentary photographer based in New Delhi, India. Trained as an economist, her background in the social sciences impacts her choices as a visual storyteller. Her publications include Der Spiegel, Le Figaro, The Sunday Guardian and Tehelka to name a few. She curated ‘Postcards from the Interior’ (2012), a group show of six photographers from India and Singapore, and was also part of the team for the Delhi Photo Festival (2013 & 2015).

Advisory for Nepal issue:

NayanTara Gurung Kakshapati is a photographer and curator based in Kathmandu, Nepal. She is the co-founder of photo.circle, a photography platform that has facilitated learning, networking, publishing, marketing and other opportunities for Nepali photographers; Nepal Picture Library, a digital photo archive that strives to document a ground-up history of the Nepali people and Photo Kathmandu, an international photography festival that recently completed its first edition in November 2015.

Featured photographers:

Frédéric Lecloux, Karan Shrestham, Karma Tshering Gurung,  Narayan Tushar Kaudinya, Nirman Shrestha, Philip Blenkisop, Rajan Shrestha, Sagar Chhetri , Sharbendu De, Shikhar Bhattarai, Surendra Lawoti, Tuomo Manninen and Zishaan Akbar Latif

Featured writers:

NayanTara Gurung Kakshapati, Tara Bedi , Nepal Photo Project Philippe Calia & Asmita Parelkar | BIND Collective, Kanak Mani Dixit, Muna Gurung,  Nischal Oli, Pranab Man Singh, Pranaya SJB Rana, Prawin Adhikari and Yukta Bajracharya.

PIX Newsletter devoted to fine art photography from Nepal will also be launched on September 30th.As part of the PIX launch of the Nepal issue and exhibition, a special newsletter will also be launched. This newsletter tracks the thematic, scope, not only through traction generated in social media, but a visual arts practice within photography, investigating a conceptual space which uses the medium as a tool to explore history, autobiography and subjectivity. The visual artists featured in this newsletter use installation and mixed media to make potent statements on society through an intermedia practice tackling issues ranging from hardships faced by migrant labour to awareness for the differently abled; gender inequality as well as environmental concerns.

The newsletter presents but a selection of the burgeoning contemporary arts scene in Nepal – photography seems to have found a renewed context and boundary to explore, even with the rise of social awareness and events through Photo Kathmandu, the second edition of which occasions this newsletter. Furthermore, with a space like Taragaon Museum as the host, there could now be institutional fora in which images will find alternative ways to engage with an ever expanding community.

Featured artists include  Anil Shahi,Hitman Gurung, Manish Paudel, Rohan Thapa, Sheelasha Rajbhandari, Shushank Kalapremi Shrestha and Sudeep Balla

Featured writers include Frédéric Lecloux & NayanTara Gurung Kakshapat, Latika Gupta, Lola Mac Dougall-Padgaonkar, Nandita Jaishankar, Paroma Mukherjee,  Rahaab Allana,  Roshan Mishra and Sangeeta Thapa.

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