KATHMANDU, Sept 26: Nepal and Australia came together on September 23 at the opening of a collaborative art exhibition between local carpet weavers and mixed media artists from the land Down Under.
Founder and curator of Weave Art Change, Isabella Holding, said the exhibition, Weaving Art & Change in Nepal, is “about using art to promote social development” and cross-cultural artistic connections.
The Australian curator first fell in love with the local carpet industry when she visited Kumbheshwar Technical School (KTS) in Patan during her first trip to Nepal in 2009.
“After I left [the country], I really wanted to come back here and help somehow, but I was an art curator and not sure exactly what to do,” she said.
One year later in 2010, her dream was realized, with eight Australian artists creating original artworks later interpreted by Nepali artisans via the KTS.
Exhibition curator Isabella Holding with Nepali carpet weavers in front of one of the artworks. Photo:Emilia Terzon/Republica
Now both sides of the story are on display at the Siddhartha Art Gallery, Baber Mahal Revisited, which is also celebrating its 25th anniversary this month.
Kiran Khadgi, Director of KTS, said that the exhibition was a great opportunity for the carpet weavers to display their high-value items, which are only usually sold to a niche market.
“Due to the economic recession, our products don’t have good market, but through Weave Art Change we’re getting continuous orders for our products,” said Khadgi.
The local weavers attending the exhibition were elated at seeing their work hung on the gallery walls, despite some of them not being that aware of what the project was about.
“The carpet I was weaving had birds and little houses. It’s also a map of the world, apparently, and there’s America and Australia on it,” said Anju Magar, one of the
The Australian Ambassador to Nepal, HE Susan Grace, said the exhibition was “a great realization of a partnership” between local weavers, Australian artists, KTS, and AUSAid.
“The quality of the artwork has challenged the relationship between art and craft,” the envoy from Oz said of the exhibition, which is on display until October 7.