KATHMANDU, Nov 26: As the 2nd Kathmandu International Art Festival (KIAF) kicks off, we catch up with art curator Sangeeta Thapa, Chairperson of Siddhartha Arts Foundation and the Director of this Festival, for a bit of a background.
What are some of the significant preparation that went into making this mega event happening?
The Second Kathmandu International Art Festival took us a good two years to put together. During this time, we’ve built a team of dedicated arts managers. We had an international jury that selected the work.
It’s been a major challenge to raise sponsorship for the festival; our resources have been stretched thin as we’ve spread the exhibition across 16 venues. We’re grateful to the international art foundations and agencies, embassies, hotels, local individuals a nd organizations that have come forward to help the festival get on its feet. To build a synergy for the festival, we’ve liaised with several local art organizations, such as the Kathmandu University Centre for Art and Design, Bindu, Sattya, Artudio and Art-lab. There are many artists and over 100 art students-volunteers who are responsible for installing the art works at the 16 venues across the city. The festival couldn’t have been possible without them.
Why have you chosen the Earth, Body, Mind theme for this edition?
The festival has been planned as a three-year event or a triennial. We’re using art as a medium to inspire, motivate and educate people about issues that are nationally and globally pertinent. In 2009, it was the about the status of women. This time, it’s about the critical issue of climate change, the environment and the ecology. Nepal is listed as one of the most vulnerable countries in the world that will be affected by climate change, so the information needs to disseminate beyond the realm of academia.
What are your expectations from the festival in terms of the impact it’s going to have on the general people?
We’ve worked with Horlicks to conduct art competitions in Biratnagar, Pokhara and Kathmandu to raise awareness about climate change issues with schoolchildren. We’ve worked with Volunteers for Change to honor the garbage collectors in the city, with Kathmandu Cycle City, with the community of Naag Bahal, and the Nepal Handicraft Association. Other than that, we’re also working with WWF, Care Nepal, FECOFUN, Hariyo Ban, NTNC, and with the Central Zoo in Jawalakhel, which is also one of the venues for the festival. We sincerely hope our viewership crosses the 100,000 mark and that the way people view art and climate change will change.