The Newsletter 76 Spring 2017

Artmandu. The city as a catalyst

Kathmandu Triennale

<p>Kathmandu Triennale is Nepal’s premier platform for global contemporary arts. It is the latest iteration of the pioneering Kathmandu International Art Festival. Like the precursory Festivals, whose 2009 and 2012 editions centered on the themes ‘Status of Women’ and ‘Earth|Body|Mind’, 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’.</p>

Kathmandu Triennale
24 March - 9 April 2017

Exhibitions will be held between 24 March and 9 April 2017, at multiple venues across the Kathmandu Valley. The central exhibition, ‘The City: My Studio/The City: My Life will be directed by curator Philippe Van CauterenAdditional curated showcases will be held alongside the central exhibition to present multiple world-perspectives on the central theme. These showcases are being organized by institutional partners and curators independently with support from KT 2017 as a local partner.

Tsherin Sherpa (born 1968, in Kathmandu, Nepal) is a Tibetan/Nepalese artist whose works have been shown in major museums around the world. Trained in traditional Tibetan thangka painting from a young age, Sherpa borrows from Tibetan iconography to abstract, fragment and reconstruct the traditional image to investigate and explore the diasporic experience as well as the dichotomy found where sacred and secular culture collide. By employing mass culture's ubiquitous noise, Tsherin imports these representations into a heightened dialogue where deities, pop icons, and global affairs can renegotiate into a mirror-like transmutation.

Central exhibition

Philippe Van Cauteren is the Artistic Director of the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (S.M.A.K.) in Ghent, Belgium, a contemporary art museum primarily focused on artists and their practice. It functions as an art laboratory, a place for experimentation, research and innovation. The museum poses questions, stimulates reflection and celebrates doubt.

In the words of Van Cauteren, “The title of the exhibition ‘The City: My Studio/The City: My Life’ clearly articulates the two functions that the city can have for an artist. Kathmandu (or any other city) as a working place, as the mold for artistic thinking and process. The city is also an arena where daily life is ‘performed’ in its richness and complexity. Invited artists are not to illustrate this definition of the city or urban life, but instead to take the city as a catalyst – as  a laboratory to generate artistic forms, gestures, acts, ideas; art works. The city is much like a container in which, through random ways, direct and indirect, history, habits and traditions are preserved. The socio-cultural texture of the place; colors and odors; the past, the present and the future; stories’ facts and fiction—all of it activated in the same. The artist thus will aim to be an urban archaeologist who digs from the city these elements. In this exhibition Kathmandu serves as a unique and marvelous hub where encounters are generated between artists from Nepal and around the world.”

Sheelasha Rajbhandari  is a Kathmandu-based visual artist. Her mixed media installations explore the contradictory –parallel existence of traditional beliefs, historic ideas and contemporary events. She likes to compare and contrast her personal emotions/opinions with existing collective values, through dialogues with different communities. Her artworks are generally the synthesis of such discourse. Materials and methods she applies for her artworks are aligned with her concept. She chooses meaningful materials with their own significance.

Contributing artists

There are two main components of KT 2017: Exhibitions and Encounters. Exhibitions include all visual content and Encounters encapsulate the educational outreach built on the production and presentation of exhibits. It will also host outreach events in public spaces and incorporate collateral events created by partners in its overall program. KT 2017 Exhibitions will see the participation of over 50 artists from more than 25 countries, with a considerable percentage representing Nepal. The roster has been selected by curator Philippe Van Cauteren to represent an inclusive list of established and younger artists covering different media actively used by artists today. International selections have been made on artists’ capacity to develop their work in Kathmandu within a limited timeframe prior to the exhibition, and also on their commitment to engage in capacity building for Nepal’s art scene. Although not decisive, these two elements—through the dialogue and exchange between the Nepali art community and visiting artists—will contribute to the dynamicity of the exhibition.

Hit Man Gurung (b.1986) is a Kathmandu based Artist. He is deeply concerned how Nepal’s social fabric and individual lifestyle have been affected by the ten year Maoist civil war, mass migration, haphazard urban development  and the unstable political situation of  Nepal. International migration has increased exponentially since the civil war, leaving a generation gap that affects the sense of community, the passing on of knowledge and economic wellbeing. This series of work highlights both the emotional impact and the dramatic socio-economic changes that such a mass migration has caused in the country.

Support and sponsorship

For those who would like to support the KT 2017 ‘Youth, Community and Children Engagement’ program, please visit their Indiegogo campaign page for more information:

KT 2017 will be sponsoring 12 art reporters from around the world who will gain VIP access during the Triennale. Anyone wishing to apply should get in touch with the organization at