Dec 28 2016

First Kathmandu Triennale to Launch in 2017

by Zoey Tang

The inaugural Kathmandu Triennale in 2017 will feature works by mainly Nepali artists, including HIT MAN GURUNG’s Yellow Helmet and Grey House, 2015. Courtesy Kathmandu Triennale.

The third edition of the Kathmandu International Art Festival was recently announced as the first Kathmandu Triennale (KT), to be held from March 24 to April 9, 2017, in Nepal’s capital, organized by Kathmandu-based Siddhartha Arts Foundation with additional support from organizing partner S.M.A.K. museum in Ghent, Belgium. KT will be curated by Philippe Van Cauteren, artistic director of S.M.A.K. Previously, Van Cauteren was the curator for the Iraq Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015 and co-curated the Belgium Pavilion two years prior.

The triennale is Nepal’s only international platform for outreach in the contemporary art scene. It will present more than 50 artists from over 25 countries under a theme of “The City” and its main exhibition is entitled “The City, My Studio / The City, My Life.” Participating artists will chiefly hail from Nepal; among them is Kathmandu native Tsherin Sherpa, who began studying traditional Tibetan thangka paintings at the age of 12, and now employs those skills to blend Buddhist imagery with pop culture and comic book references.

Indian artists will also be well-represented, including New Delhi-based 2015 Prudential Eye Awards winner Mithu Sen, who presented a version of her archival installation of abandoned toys and unusual belongings, Museum of Unbelonging (2014), at the “Unlimited” section at Art Basel in Basel in 2016. Artists from further corners of the globe will also participate in KT, such as Belgian-born, Mexico-based Francis Alÿs, whose public actions, installations and other multimedia works form what he calls “a sort of discursive argument composed of episodes, metaphors, or parables.” Alÿs will be patron artist of the inaugural Kathmandu Triennale.

For “The City, My Studio / The City, My Life,” the artists invited by Van Cauteren will be commissioned to produce new artworks that reflect the qualities of cities—they are not only workplaces, but also where citizens organize their lives. Their creations will be shown across multiple museums and a gallery in Kathmandu. Additionally, the exhibition “Built/Unbuilt : Home/City” will focus on diaspora Nepalis residing in Doha, revealing a cross-section display of works from the two regions, including an installation by Qatar artist Abdulla al-Kuwari and a collaborative project with Nepali migrant workers by Hit Man Gurung and Sheelasha Rajbhandari. Research on Nepalese art history accumulated by KT research fellow Promina Shrestha will be presented at Taragoan Museum as part of the triennale’s efforts to inform of the area’s changing cultural identity. Peripheral educational programming, titled collectively as “Encounters,” will be scheduled to boost community participation, engaging local Nepalese students and faciliating exchanges between visiting and local artists.

According to its organizers, several of the exhibitions within the triennale will be dedicated to the victims of the devastating earthquakes that occurred in April and May of 2015, damaging over 800,000 homes. Nearly 9,000 lives were lost.

Partial list of particpants for Kathmandu Triennale 2017:

Maryam al-Homaid, Abdulla al-Kuwari, Francis Alÿs, Carolina Aranibar-Fernandez, Michael Candy, Sujan Dangol, Saurganga Darshandhari, Peter Downsbrough, Shilpa Gupta, Hit Man Gurung, Amrit Bahadur Karki, Bidhata KC, Laxman Bazra Lama, Mekh Limbu, Tayeba Begum Lipi, Bart Lodewijks, Kiran Maharjan, Tess Maunder, Honoré d’O, Jupiter Pradhan, Mahbubur Rahman, Ashmina Ranjit, Sheelasha Rajbhandari, Mithu Sen, Tsherin Sherpa, Bikash Shrestha, Prithvi Shrestha, Manish Lal Shrestha, Karan Shrestha, Emelina Soares, SC Suman, Bhuwan Thapa, Carole Vanderlinden, Loïs Weinberger, Wol Sik Kim.

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