As Kathmandu urbanises and finds itself turning into a megalopolis, walls are being raised to define identity and ownership. They are conforming to mask the new urban fear of the other.
In the installation art exhibition, Rhythm of Solitude, artist Binod Shrestha who is assistant professor of art at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse reflects on being Nepali.
The exhibit is a unique blend of basic everyday materials like salt, pigments, fabric, wood, sand and bricks with elements of modernity that have captivated Binod and to a larger extent, the Nepali nation.
Hosted at Yala Maya Kendra, the venue was chosen specifically for the inside/outside and semi-public/semi-private nature of the location. It provides a walled in courtyard garden that captures the traditional Newari courtyard housing complexes that were once common in the inner cities. These courtyards created the community as much as they defined it. The setting enables Binod to capture that unique sense of Nepali community while meditating on our propensity to violence (physical, emotional or psychological).
Given our communal, social and familial upbringing, where does the violence come from? The answers are perhaps best experienced through the installation itself rather than through the ambiguity of words. But, what is clear is that peace can't reign when fear, subjugation, helplessness, discrimination and insecurity are present, rampant or hidden.
As part of a diaspora community that derives its identity from a nation that is increasingly unsure about its own identity, the exhibition is as much a quest for identity. The wall is a metaphor, the similitude of bricks, the simulacrum of technology, the displacement of identity, and the fulcrums of fear. The vagueness of these terms in relation to the hidden humanity within Nepal and the Nepali are captured in the base materials of the exhibition.
Rhythm of Solitude
9-15 August at Yala Maya Kendra
10 am to 7 pm
The exhibition is organized by Quixote's Cove: The Bookshop