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Beholding History


Photo Kathmandu
A Unique Exhibition at the Kala Ghoda Cafe
12 October to 9 November 2015


Women in the MistThe archival photographs featured in this Special Print Sale have been curated from the Nepal Picture Library and the Peace Corp Nepal Photo History Project. As art objects they are remarkable and rare; as mementos of a rapidly evolving way of life they are beautiful and unusual. And, as records of spaces irrevocably altered by the earthquakes, they are priceless. Photo Kathmandu attempts to give life to this archival material, empowering the past to lend a hand to the future.

The earthquakes on April 25 and May 12 caused significant damage to many heritage sites and community spaces across the Kathmandu Valley. While the government may restore some of these, hundreds will be neglected. Among the many affected sites is the old city of Patan, across the river from Kathmandu, where Nepal’s first international photography festival will be anchored. KVPT (Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust) and the Photo Kathmandu team believe that restoring the historical center of Patan will require a much larger investment. This fundraiser is the first step to make that restoration a reality.

Girl feeding swansKala Ghoda Café is proud to partner with Photo Kathmandu to bring this special print sale to Mumbai from 12 October to 9 November. KG Café will put a selection of 9 framed limited edition prints on display to promote this fundraiser. They are for sale for Rs. 9,800. The frame is graciously offered by the KG Café. All proceeds will go directly to KVPT to support the rebuilding of essential heritage sites in the city of Patan.



About Kala Ghoda Café (Mon-Fri: 8am - 11:45pm, Sat-Sun: 8:30am - 11:45pm)

Kala Ghoda Café

Part café, part bakery, part gallery, the Kala Ghoda Café was from the outset conceived as an alternative to the chain-café experience for the Colaba/Fort/Churchgate triangle. It's designed as an informal local meeting place, hence the choice of name, to reflect and support the neighbourhood. Access details available here.

About Photo Kathmandu (3 - 9 November)

Photo Kathmandu, the newest addition to the international photography festival circuit, is launching in November 2015. The first edition of the festival aims to serve as a platform for interaction between photography, history, anthropology and a wide array of the arts. The festival will host exhibitions, slideshows, artist talks, workshops and other events, working primarily in public spaces in and around the city.

Rise of the Artisans - Swayambhu Post Earthquake

"Rise of the Artisans" - a short documentary on how documentation efforts led by folks like Anil Chitrakar decades ago, and Kathmandu Valley's 'Living Heritage', are leading the restoration of monuments and cultural sites damaged by the April 25 earthquake.

Stunning images from Nepal’s past that could help rebuild it for the future

A group of young photographers are selling archival images of Nepal to support the rebuilding of damaged heritage sites in Patan in Kathmandu.

For decades, Patan was the cultural and artistic hub of Kathmandu. Its intricate network of courtyards, temples, artisan workshops and cafes gave it a distinct vibrancy. All this changed in April, when the deadly quake rocked Nepal, laying ruin to heritage structures and public spaces.

Now a group of young photographers in Kathmandu are selling archival images of Nepal to support the rebuilding of Patan’s damaged heritage sites. Curated from the archives of Nepal Picture Library and the Peace Corps Photo History Project, the print sales aims to raise $100,000 for the Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust, one of the few bodies preserving heritage in Nepal

The idea came to NayanTara Gurung Kakshapati and Bhushan Shilpakar as they surveyed the damage to public space in Patan. In November it will be the site of Nepal’s first photography festival, Photo Kathmandu. “Funds to rebuild the larger temples will probably come from the major donors but the smaller shrines and community spaces will struggle to be renovated or rebuilt, so that is what we would like this fund to go towards.” Kakshapati said.

So two months after the earthquake, the fundraiser was launched. All the images below are from the archives and available online for $150.

The valley untangles itself from sleep as it slowly wakes up with the rising sun. Contributor: Ron Elliott


Yards of fabric hang down the walls of houses to dry. In the light sun and wind, the colours and patterns on the cloth set in more deeply. Then the fabric is cut, rolled and brought to the market for sale. Contributor: Ron Elliott


Shyam Mohan Shrestha remembers many 'outsiders', such as this Chaudhary man, coming to his father to be photographed. The landowners of Tansen would call the Tharus up from the plains of Bhairahawa and Dang for the festivals of Dasain and Tihar. The Tharus journeyed on foot, bringing ducks, chicken and grain for the festivities. Here, this young Tharu man is clearly dressed to impress with a blazer over his linens and his hair combed to the side. Contributor: Ravi Mohan Shrestha


Students take their exams on the school’s playground in Chiti Tilahar. To prevent cheating, Sumitra Manandhar Gurung and fellow teachers had made the students sit several feet away from one another. Contributor: Sumitra Manandhar Gurung


Mass gathering of Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist – Leninist) supporters at Kathmandu Durbar Square. The Kathmandu Durbar Square is one of three Durbar Squares in the Valley, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites. When the earthquake hit on April 25, it severely damaged this site. Contributor: Bikas Rauniar


Photographed in the studio of their home, we see Amrit Bahadur Chitrakar’s mother (on the right) and her sister (on the left). When Amrit’s mother couldn’t give birth for 10 years, Amrit’s father married her sister. Then, both women gave birth to healthy children with a gap of ten months between births. Amrit’s biological mother sadly passed away when he was four months old. Contributor: Amrit Bahadur Chitrakar


Two Rai women are pictured here in the midst of a traditional dance. In general, women were reluctant to dance in public, so they only did so as the evening grew late and the raksi flowed more freely. Contributor: Larry Daloz


Bandipur,1966. Contributor: Bill Hanson


$200m needed for Nepal heritage sites

Source: Al Jazeera

Reopening Nepal's heritage sites

The Nepalese government has reopened heritage sites to visitors following the earthquake that shattered the country.

Subina Shrestha

Al Jazeera's correspondent in Nepal


Nepal, Kathmandu - In Kathmandu, the most visible scars of April’s earthquake are the heritage sites.

Temple after temple fell down here, more than 700 of them. When the international media arrived in Kathmandu, they showed the wreckage in the damaged squares.

In the minds of onlookers, Kathmandu had become a pile of rubble. Even our first reaction was to go to these sites, symbolic and dramatic as they were.

But most of the city still stands. Only 14 of 75 districts have been affected by the quake. And in a country which relies on tourism for more than three percent of GDP, visitor numbers plummeted.

Now the government has reopened heritage sites to visitors. From women selling trinkets to the coffee shops, everyone awaits tourists. A few tourists trickle in and take pictures of the damaged palaces and temples.

Residents take selfies amongst the ruins and move on. Between cordoned-off areas and a tented camp of temporary classrooms, children walk around, holding hands and eating ice cream.

While this could appear as a return to normalcy for the tourists, conservation and safety are serious considerations.

In Swaymbhunath, the oldest temple complex in Nepal dating back to the 5th century, sections of the complex have not yet been secured. Centuries-old mud and stone temples damaged by the quake are still exposed to the elements. Broken structures hang dangerously above statues.

Thirty-three of the thirty-six houses of priests and residents have been totally destroyed. Residents are in no position to keep a vigil over the temple’s valuables. And even this complex has been declared open.

The government has said that only some sections of the heritage sites are open. Tourists have been asked not to wander around by themselves and have even been given helmets to visit some sections of the 16th century palace in Kathmandu Durbar Square. Officials say that tourists will learn about disasters this way.

Conservationists allege that pressure from the business community has forced the government to open these temples sooner rather than later. Even the department of archaeology does not deny this.

But locals are keen that the government and UNESCO are fulfilling proper rites while securing and renovating temples. Nepal has a living culture in which the monuments are places of worship. Many believe that the gods need to be appeased and they want to ask for forgiveness.

And while the state is keen to open the sites for tourism and get back to business, locals hope that they don’t alienate the gods in the process.
Source: Al Jazeera
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