Pran Community Art Center is a Center for Breathing Love, a collaborative space dedicated to innovate creative exchanges with local, national, and international communities, in Gairimudi VDC, Dolakha. The Center is Artudio’s vision for a long-term, post-disaster effort to create a safe haven for children as well as other people in the community, where the members can explore and experiment their ideas, skills and imaginations. The center has regular participants from the community for cultural celebrations, community meetings and workshops. Currently, the Center resides in a temporary shelter where children and adults benefit from various activities (such as art, music, performance, book reading, and cultural activities) held every Saturday mornings and on holidays. These programs are coordinated by the local children themselves.
The Little Album is a part of Kathmandu Triennale education outreach program conducted by Artudio in Pran Community Center and Shree Jana Jyoti Secondary School, Gairimudi, Dolakha in partnership with Kathmandu Triennale and Srijanalaya. This curated exhibition by Krisha Tamrakar is on public view from 2nd to 9th April 2017.
“The Little Album” an art exhibition by the little artist from Pran Community Art Center and Shree Jana Jyoti Secondary School, Gairimudi, Dolakha as part of Kathmandu Triennale outreach program curated by Krisha Tamrakar in partnership with Kathmandu Triennale and Srijanalaya will be on view from 2nd – 9th April, 2017 from 10 am onward. The exhibition will open everyday from 10-5 including Saturday.
Come and have real experiences of the little voices of Gairimudi, Dolakha
Artudio is conducts “The Little Album” art workshop with the children in Shree Janajyoti Sceonday School, Gairimudi-7, Dolakha as part of Education Outreach partnership with Kathmandu Triennale and Srijanalaya 2017.
Facilitators: Kailash K Shrestha , Contemporary Visual Artist and Founder of Artudio and Krisha Tamrakar, Visual Artist
Assistant: Bisesh Manandhar
Visual Documentation: Karma Tsering Gurung, Aryapranish Silwal
Artudio is conducts “The Little Album” art workshop with the Little Artists from the local community at Pran Community Arts Center in Gairimudi, Dolakha as part of Education Outreach partnership with Srijanalaya and Kathmandu Triennale 2017.
Facilitators: Kailash K Shrestha , Contemporary Visual Artist and Founder of Artudio and Krisha Tamrakar, Visual Artist
Assistant: Bisesh Manandhar
Visual Documentation: Karma Tsering Gurung, Aryapranish Silwal
Various Articles published about Dolakha Album: a curated community homestay art residency+exhibition hosted by Artudio and curated by contemporary artist of Nepal and Founder of Artudio, Kailash K Shrestha on National Dailies.
PRINT MEDIA COVERAGE
The persistence of memory
By Pranaya SJB Rana
The persistence of memory – Pranaya SJB Rana, Five contemporary artists from Kathmandu explore memory and loss in Dolakha’s Gairimudi Sep 3, 2016- Each object holds a history, a patina of memories that have accumulated over the years, shaped by remembrances like a pebble smoothened by an eddy, like a dirt track fashioned by the warmth of naked feet. Every object is a palimpsest, written and rewritten.
A disaster creates a disjunction. The order of things is disrupted and memories crumble with the material objects that housed them. What would be passed down as inheritance lies in danger of being lost to the currents of time, obliterated like much else. Some sense must be made of the rubble and memory—written repetitively and differently—must be preserved. The perpetuation of memory is thus a human act against the inevitable annihilation of time. And though inexorable, the answer must always be in the attempt.
What memory does a home hold? The rafters in its ceilings, the wood in its windowpanes, the dirt in its foundations. When a home collapses, do the trove of memories it holds burst open like Pandora’s Box and let loose all its secrets? Or does that secret stash crumple quietly into itself, emptying its innards into the debris of mud and mortar, cement and stone? Without homes, what becomes of a people, a community?
In Dolakha’s Gairimudi, the persistence of memory is a particular thing. It seeps out through song and silence, the air and the earth.
In May, five artists spent a week in Gairimudi, living amongst locals, playing with the children and listening to stories, as part of a short-term artist residency curated by visual artist Kailash K Shrestha and co-curated by Nischal Oli. The five were of varied disciplines—Sujan Dangol, who works in new media; Surendra Maharjan, who does mostly printmaking; visual artist Sandhya Silwal; multimedia artist Rajan Shrestha who works primarily with photo, audio and video; and filmmaker Abhimanyu Dixit. They were joined by a local artisan, Chhabi Bahadur Shrestha, who weaves bamboo, and five international artists from the Global Art Collective.
Among these artists, perhaps Sujan Dangol’s sculpture of objects from Gairimudi explored instilled memory most explicitly. Constructed out of material found and donated by the community, Dangol’s piece attempts to fashion a collective memory of the community, as exemplified by the objects chosen for the sculpture, whether an old school trunk, empty bottles of alcohol or debris from broken homes. In creating a monument, Dangol’s was perhaps alluding to a history that is shared between the objects that come from different homes and different families. When an entire country undergoes a tragedy, the trauma of loss becomes communal. Personal history is no longer parcelled off within walls but is conjoined, forcefully, by the vagaries of nature.
For the others, memory passed differently, whether through a song penned by a tenth grader and recorded together by Rajan Shrestha, or the ubiquity of Gairimudi’s bamboo in the works of Sandhya Silwal, Surendra Maharjan and Chhabi Bahadur Shrestha. Bamboo now lines many makeshift houses in Gairimudi as old homes still lie with their walls collapsed, exposing black holes that resemble hungry maws.
Bamboo and wood salvaged came into play for the pyrotechnic finale of the project. The Global Art Collective artists asked the community to each bring in a piece of bamboo from their homes, which they constructed into a giant structure spelling out the word ‘chinta’. Children were encouraged to scrawl their worries onto the wood. Then, fires were lit and the entire structure went up in flames, a la Burning Man. In burning up the wood and scattering its ashes into the wind, the symbolism is blunt. But what the spectacle asserts is that memory persists in objects imbued with meaning.
Abhimanyu Dixit’s film, born out of a little kid’s recurring dream, is a meandering journey to a different kind of memory, an idealised past represented by buildings that are still standing, which the earthquake hasn’t yet brought down. Dixit worked with the actors, all Gairimudi locals, in a freewheeling style, allowing them to improvise and take active part in the creation of their own representation. Although fictional, the film sublimates the present sense of loss and a yearning for the past into a reluctant, but nonetheless inevitable, acceptance of what has occurred.
Kailash Shrestha titled the residency ‘Dolakha Album’, akin to a photo album where Dolakha is but one page, the next being Manang. Shrestha’s intention behind the project is seemingly to explore the innate predilection that all human beings have towards the aesthetic. The purpose was not to impose a preconceived notion of what is art on the Gairimudi community but instead, build a rapport with the people, the places and their objects to build an organic understanding of what is art to this particular community and this particular space. Outside of the whitewashed walls of Kathmandu’s galleries, art flourishes on mud flats where children build dioramas out of leaves, sticks and stones, and a middle-aged artisan who has been weaving bamboo baskets for decades finally comes to terms with the fact that what he is doing is no less art than anything else.
Dolakha Album is an experiment in influence but it is also an exploration of how much memory the objects of a community hold. Gairimudi’s rato mato and bamboo are signifiers, in that they locate the community and its history on a timeline. This is who they are in this particular time and these are their inclinations. The project asserts the historicity of art—good art is born out of specifics but speaks to the universal. In these particulars, the stuff that makes up Gairimudi complements the breathing bodies that make up the Gairimudi community; it is not one or the other.
Gairimudi and the pieces created by the artists involved showcase just how resolute memory is. Nothing is ever lost, simply transmuted into something else. Memory is never recalled, it is always rewritten. A wooden beam that once held up a two-storey home is now repurposed to support a temporary shelter.
Art, like life, is never about complacency, as Dolakha Album seems to affirm. Gairimudi is not about resilience; Gairimudi is about vibrancy. Gairimudi is not about resignation to the fates but a pronouncement that life cannot be dull, it must echo and rebound. It must pass laterally into others—things and people—into song and onto film and as smoke and ashes. thinkinink.wordpress.com Published: 03-09-2016 09:18
Dolakha Album: Community Homestay Art Residency was hosted by Artudio in Gairimudi, Dolakha from May 3rd to 10th, 2016. This residency was curated by Kailash K Shrestha, a contemporary visual artist and founder of Artudio.
Five Nepali contemporary artists; Sujan Dangol, Surendra Maharjan, Sandhya Silwal, Rajan Shrestha & Abhimanyu Dixit were carefully selected as the participating resident artists of the residency. Artists from the Global Art Collective also joined the team for a community sculpture burn.
After the successful curated exhibition in the community of Gairimudi, the exhibition was held in Artudio, Swoyambhu, Chhauni Hospital Road from 12th August to 20th August 2016. The Exhibition was inaugurated by Sangeeta Thapa, Founder/ Director of Siddhartha Arts Foundation’s Education Initiative and Siddhartha Art-Gallery.
Dolakha Album: Community Homestay Art Residency was supported by SAFEI, CKU and Buddha Kumari Foundation.
Dolakha Album: A short term curated community home-stay art residency was a short-term residency curated by visual artist Kailash K Shrestha of Artudio. It was hosted in Gairimudi, Dolakha between 3 – 12 May, 2016. The primary goal of the platform was to integrate artistic process and creations into the context of the setting. Installation, new media and multimedia artists were selected by the curator to travel to the village, where they conducted research and created works to reflect their understanding of the complex realities of life in rural Nepal, post-earthquakes of 2015. While no thematic restrictions were levied, artists were limited to material found in the community. Further, each artist was hosted by a community resident affected by the earthquake and strategic encounters with the community were facilitated under the supervision of the curator.
The devastating earthquake of 25 April and 12 May brought unprecedented calamity and destruction to Dolakha, epicenter of the second quake. Together the quakes destroyed most houses of the district. Artudio began its post-disaster efforts with Healing Through Art immediately in the wake of the first earthquake. This initiative made its way through Kathmandu, Kavre, Nuwakot to Gairimudi carrying out a range of activities for children along the way. When the program finally arrived in Gairimudi, after the second quake, not a single house remained standing.
Artudio’s efforts in Gairimudi started on the heels of immediate rescue and relief operations. Instantly it revealed many positive changes amongst traumatized children and community members. Inspired by these outcomes, Artudio conceived of a longer term plan to continue engaging the community with the arts. Pran Art Center was thus born.
Today, the center operates out of a temporary shed but with a committed institutional vision and support from Artudio’s network of professional artists as well as volunteers, Pran Art Center aims to jumpstart a new cultural movement. Similar to the haat bazars that are commonplace across Nepal, we envision a different kind of rural gathering – a space where ideas, skills, creativity and happiness are exchanged.
Based on this vision, the Dolakha Album: Homestay Art Residency was envisioned as a foundational attempt to break away from the perception of art for the privileged or for urban settings. It became a testing ground for artists to redefine art as a contextual object, one that uniformly adapts to the everyday of all settings. Besides inspiring the community of Gairimudi through their artistic processes and creations, encounters facilitated by the Artudio catalyzed a distinguished approach to contextualizing art to the host’s reception. Additionally, the framework was mindful in delivering some relief directly to families economically, psychologically and physically affected by the quakes.
As might be expected, extensive co-operation amongst art institutions, artists and managers is necessary to grant permanence to the center’s mission. Fortunately, the motivations and impact are obvious – the center has immense potential to pioneer a new Nepali approach to collaborations and co-creation. Artudio believes that with enough support it could reach national and international audiences through the center and add a new chapter to Nepali and world art history.
Art has yet to penetrate rural Nepal. When most art projects are concentrated in Kathmandu Valley, Dolakha Album becomes a novel attempt to conduct a community-based residency program far away from the urban hubs.
Although, rural Nepal is still reserved for photographs and paintings of its landscape have been romanticized for decades, exhaustive artistic interventions have never transpired in such environments. Dolkha Album is then the beginning of a more engaging reflection of a village – Gairimudi.
This project could have been only afforded by the commitment of artists to immerse themselves into the culture, lifestyle, atmosphere and spirit of the locality. Thus, eligible artists were identified keeping in mind the challenge of working outside one’s comfort zone and of experimenting with limited resources. Conventional as well as new media artists were selectively invited in an effort to provide a more nurturing climate of co-creation. The community was thus involved in the process of, and discourse on, ‘creating’ and ‘expressing’ in all its diversity. The use of locally available resources and accessible technologies and tools furthered that integration of creating into the community.
Making art in a place like Gairimudi, which is slowly losing its traditional identity and essence, is in itself an achievement. By observing the complex realities of the village, and documenting its present context artists have lent a hand in preserving its contemporary history for years to come. In return, artists were undoubtedly reciprocated with a better understanding of contexts that shape their own practice.
Artists bring fresh thoughts, perspectives to the subject they confront. Through this dialogue they are able to engage and inspire everyone from children to the elderly. Artudio is certain that by championing such platforms more constructive impact can be realized for all people involved. For generosity and reflection is the true measure of an artist’s success and is the goal of art.
Gairimudi, an inspiriting village perched atop of a wooded hillock of Dolakha, comprises of nine wards. It is located between Khanikhola river to its north and the village of Virkot along the southern lower belt of the hill. Ethnically diverse, the community represents people of Newar, Sherpa, Magar, Chhetri, Damai, Kami, Sarki denominations. The locality boasts of great natural beauty and cultural sites such as the Kaileshwor temple and the newly discovered Karkale cave. Gairimudi is home to some 4500 inhabitants and 900 houses. It is famous for its rich deposits of red clay.
Pran Community Art Center is a collaborative space dedicated to creating exchanges with native, national and international communities in Gairimudi VDC, Dolakha. The Center is Artudio’s vision for a long-term, post-disaster effort to realize a safe haven for children, where they can explore ideas and art forms outside their immediate academic curriculum. The center has equal participants from all member of the community for cultural celebrations, community meetings and workshops. Currently, the Center resides in a temporary shelter where children and adults benefit from various activities (art, music, performance, book reading, cultural activities) held every Saturday morning and holidays.
CHILDREN’S ART WORKSHOP
A day during the residency was reserved for activities with children of Gairimudi. Artists held several interactions and encounters with over 100 school children during the day. Some recorded music about their surrounding, others performed, and some even created land art in open areas. The results of the day were then shared at the community exhibition on the final day of the Dolakha Album.
Mr. Sujan Dangol, New Media Artists
Mr. Surendra Maharjan, Printmaking Artist
Ms. Sandhya Silwal, Visual Artist
Mr. Rajan Shrestha, Sound based Multi Media Artist
Mr. Abhimanyu Dixit, Film Artist
Mr. Chabi Bahadur Shrestha, Local Artisan
The Residency was supported by Siddhartha Art Foundation Education Initiatives & Buddha Kumari Foundation
Note: The Exhibition will remain till 20th Aug, 2016 everyday from 10 AM to 7 PM
Dolakha Album Press Release
Dolakha Album: A Community Homestay Art Residency
GAIRIMUDI, DOLAKHA 2016
Artudio, Center for Visual Arts, had organized Dolakha Album: Community Homestay Art Residency, in Gairimudi, Dolakha from 3rd May to 10th May 2016. Where five nationally and internationally renowned contemporary artists researched on culture, geography, finance, politics, and emotional aspects of Gairimudi. The findings of the research was based on life after the earthquake as Dolakha was one of the many epi centers of the earthquake in 2015 and created artworks accordingly. The artists used locally available materials which opened the door of opportunity globally to promote local resources and support the lifestyle of the community. This project aims to introduce renowned artists with a grass root community, awareness based on the cultural and traditions of the community as well as giving the local resources the value to the community and the artists.
At the end of the residency, an outside exhibition, curated by contemporary visual artist, Kailash K Shrestha also a Gairimudi local, was held in the community. Even with some difficulties from the weather, the exhibition was a success and was also taken to Jan Jyoti School for the school children. Now, Artudio is bringing this exhibition to Kathmandu on Friday, 12th August to 20th August 2016. Friday, 12th August, is the opening night of the exhibition at Artudio, Chhauni Hospital Road, Swoyambhhu. On Saturday, 13th August, 8 AM – 10 AM along with Dolakha Album’s local artisan, Mr. Chabi Bahadur Shrestha, will be mentoring a bamboo weaving workshop for anyone who is interested in learning the local weaving technique of Gairimudi.
We will also be hosting a panel discussion on Saturday, 13th August at 3 PM to 5 PM with the five Dolakha Album contemporary artists; Sujan Dangol, Rajan Shrestha, Surendra Maharjan, Sandhya Silwal and Abhimany Dixit along with local artisan Chabi Bahadur Shrestha and curator Kailash K Shrestha. This panel discussion will be moderated by Prashanta Manandhar, the Founder of Story Tellers.
Dolakha Album – A Community Homestay Art Residency is not just the continuity of the art program but also a new step to decentralize Art from the cities and take it into the grass root communities.
We would kindly like to request you to collect the news of such a grass root community art project and create a platform for a public dialogue. Program: Dolakha Album Exhibition Opening Night: Friday, 12th August 2016
Bamboo Weaving Workshop: Saturday 13th August 2016 8AM – 10AM
The Dolakha Album is a short-term curated residency hosted in Gairimudi, Dolakha. This week-long engagement brought together 5 contemporary artists from Kathmandu to create artworks based on Gairimudi. We had artists Mr.Sujan Dangol, New Media Artists, Mr. Surendra Maharjan, Printmaking Artist, Ms. Sandhya Silwal, Visual Artist, Mr. Rajan Shrestha, Sound based Multi Media Artist and Mr. Abhimanyu Dixit, Film Artist who worked collectively with each other as well as the Gairimudi Community people.
During the residency the artists created works in diverse forms; video art, land art, photography, site specific installations, new media and multimedia. The artists were restricted on materials being introduced into the community and were advised to work with local materials. The artists were hosted by families in the community to be able to really live like a local and integrate into the society.
All artworks created during the residency was exhibited in the community space in Gairimudi. The Residency was curated by Contemporary Artist Kailash K Shrestha and co curated by Nischal Oli.
Artwork by contemporary visual artist Sandhya Silwal on display during Dolakha Album, a community homestay art residency 2016. Photo: Artudio