Nepali Times Asian Paints
Life Times
ARTIVISM


MICHAEL COX


Experimenting with the essence of contemporary art sounds ominous. But when Ashmina Ranjit puts a new spin on the art world of Nepal, it's time to listen.

Ranjit says her new Jhamsikhel art hub, Lasanaa, is based on the contemporary idea of artivism. She defines artivism as art and activism combined to redefine political art. "Art is a tool for social change and the Lasanaa art space is trying to redefine the notion of art and artists," she says.

The initiative isn't some off-the-rack trend picked up from western contemporary art. Ranjit draws on the political and cultural changes of the last 20 years. With the help of a team of academics and artists, she has finally been able to realise her dream to create a space that will define artivism in Nepal.

As Ranjit envisages it, Lasanaa will feature art and dialogue as expressed through video, sound, performance and other forms of experimental art. The space will serve as much as an open gallery to disseminate art as for the ideas they embody, and will bring together contemporary art, creative thinking, and the essence of art into an interactive hub.

A key objective for Lasanaa is also to "break the line", and demonstrate to people that art is more than paintings that hang on walls and beautify homes. "People here misunderstand the word contemporary art," Ranjit says. For her, artists too have to reflect on history if they are to produce contemporary art. "If this kind of essence is missing it's not contemporary," she says.

Indeed the recent international workshop, Glocalization of Art, and the three-day workshop that followed, epitomised such on engagement with current issues. The results, which were exhibited in Lasanaa at the start of December (see pictures), included an installation that used defunct televisions, prayer flags defaced with noodle adverts, and other slogans to comment on the clash of modernity and tradition in contemporary Nepal.

Ranjit laments Nepal's current education system, which according to her spoonfeeds future artistic minds. But if she has her way Lasanaa will be a site "where art is happening all the time", not for its own sake, but to encourage political art that can push society in a positive direction. Perhaps then, she says, "Art can be for the people."



LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


ADVERTISEMENT









himalkhabar.com            

NEPALI TIMES IS A PUBLICATION OF HIMALMEDIA PRIVATE LIMITED | ABOUT US | ADVERTISE | SUBSCRIPTION | PRIVACY POLICY | TERMS OF USE | CONTACT