KATHMANDU, Oct 18: Through a series of photographs, artist Yanik Shrestha will be portraying the changing face of Kathmandu. Below, the poet and photographer talks about his project, ‘All Falls Down’, which will be exhibited at Café Mitra, Thamel on Friday, 6 pm onwards.
What stimulated this project?
Coughing continuously and coming back home with a bag of dust. But on the serious side of things, I love Kathmandu and I hate to see what’s happening of it. I would think this should stimulate a soul: when one has to live, breathe and see the city rapidly change into a concrete jungle and the beauty of it just becomes a dormant reminder of how the place used to look like, a reminder that change is only constant. The visual appearance of everyday life in Kathmandu has tainted vividly and irreversibly.
Two photographs from the ‘All Falls Down’ series by Yanik Shrestha to be exhibited at Café Mitra, Thamel on Friday. Photo: Yanik Shrestha
What have been some personal findings during the past three months?
It’s a small city, more aptly, an urban village we all live in. So, you cannot help but make it personal. Having to see some of my favorite places go down was definitely not a sight for sore eyes. I grew up with Upstairs Jazz Bar for the last 13 years and now to see it in rubble! But as everything has to come full circle, All Falls Down!
How has the meaning of Kathmandu changed for you and as an artist, what significance does this change have for you?
I’ve always said in the last 15 years “look up, it’s a paradise; look down it’s a parasite”. But all said and done, this city has a strange charm for those who call it home. How does one exactly describe a place where the gods play havoc and the mountains play host? Kathmandu - a place that breeds monks by day and gamblers by night in a city that boasts of a plethora of sacred pilgrimage sites. Life in Kathmandu speaks truly from the edge. Give it time I say. It rewards you with serendipity.
What impact on the audience do you anticipate through this exhibition?
I call it a visual awareness. I want the people to understand that an exhibition does not only have to be with mountains and models only.
My hope with this “ All Falls Down” project is to emphasize the role of art and artists in helping the public understand, accept, and appreciate sustainability initiatives. Through this idea of archiving for the vast radical change the city is going through the recent months, I hope to bring to light three months of intimate, poetic and personal photographic work portraying the daily life of present Kathmandu. I want people to see, react and hopefully contribute to a greener and friendlier home that we call K-Town!
How many photographs are being exhibited?
30 out of which four are black and white and life size!