ins-outdoor-shanti ko samjhana

Shantiko Samjhana
Remembering Peace Park, Rani Pokhari, Kathmandu
Remembering Peace Grove, Pharping 

Ecological Art Installations
Dedicated to Peace and the Environment
October  2002 


Offer, offer whatever we have
What else is there than enriching a culture?
Without offering our courage as sacrifice
How else will we be remembered .
From Chitta Shanti by Dharani Dhar Koirala – 1956



Siddhartha Art Gallery, Kathmandu

October 4 – 18, 2002

Rani Pokhari, Kathmandu 
October 26 – 30, 2002

November 2 – 9, 2002

Shanti ko Samjhana – Remembering Peace, a public art installation, presented new opportunities for expressing personal as well as collective aspirations for peace and healing during this time of turmoil in Nepal and around the world.  This artwork visualized the recent tragedies in Nepal while serving as a catalyst for environmental remediation.

Shanti ko Samjhana was first introduced through an exhibition of drawings, prints, banners and text at the Siddhartha Art Gallery in Kathmandu October 4 – 24.  This show presented the idea for creating a temporary outdoor installation at Rani Pokhari and two permanent environmental artworks – Remembering Peace Park in Kathmandu and Remembering Peace Grove at Pharping.

A distinct aspect of Nepali identity is that art still plays an important role in daily life. Shanti ko Samjhana recognized and celebrated Nepali culture in the midst of adversity.  The outdoor installation was created around the Rani Pokhari, a historic pond constructed by King Pratap Malla of Kathmandu (ruling from1641-1674) in sympathy with his beloved wife’s grief over their son’s death.  Reflecting this ancient story, Shanti ko Samjhana was sited at this pokhari to contemplate the recent anguish of our community and the desire for renewal.

During the installation period October 26 – 30, three large copper deyos (oil lamps) were kept lit in memory of the deceased, in solidarity with the living victims, and for a future that is free of violence and injustice. For four days, 3000 clay oil lamps were illuminated around the pokhari at dusk to celebrate the inspirational qualities of the natural and cultural landscapes of Nepal.  The public was invited to personally participate by lighting oil lamp dedicated to nonviolence.  

The installation at Rani Pokhari culminated in the establishment of a permanent Remembering Peace Park on the south side of Rani Pokhari. Kathmandu Metropolitan City provided the land, cleared the site and landscaped the area. In collaboration with Kumari Nursery of Paknajol,Kathmandu, tree saplings and flowering plants were planted to remember those who have perished and to symbolize our hopes for peace.

In the final phase, November 2 – 9, of Shanti ko Samjhana-Remembering Peace,  a peace grove was established on an important watershed site in Pharping, ten miles from Kathmandu. The Seshnarayan Village Community helped design and institute this forest preserve.  Ekaha Pokhari Women’s Group, Gobhal Women’s Group and Janajyoti Youth Club of Pharpingparticipated in creating this grove and have taken responsibility for nurturing the seedlings. The community-owned land was cleared, fenced and planted with a variety of herbal, fruit and flowering tree saplings that will generate income for the community.

Using the tree sapling as a metaphor for rejuvenation, Shanti ko Samjhana created the setting where people could express their desire for peace by transforming the environment and the quality of their lives.

Siddhartha Art Gallery Installation,Kathmandu
October 4 – 24, 2002

Shanti ko Samjhana, A Public Art Installation at Rani Pokari

Dedicated to Peace and the Environment

Lighting of oil lamps, October 26-30, 2002

Remembering Peace Park, Rani Pokhari, Kathmandu
October 2002 

Remembering Peace Grove, Pharping
November  2002

Nava Jagreti Smarak – New Awakening Memorial
Remembering Peace Park
Rani Pokhari, Kathmandu 

September – November 2003.

This is a new age of new awakening
Now seize upon this new direction and then,
By caring for your country supporting your nation
The succulent nectar of peace will flow.
Dharani Dhar Koirala, Naibadhy, 1920

Nava Jagreti Smarakis was public art installation dedicated to the people who lost their lives during Nepal’s eight-year conflict. Created on the site of Remembering Peace Park next to Rani Pokhari in Kathmandu, the work established a memorial to begin healing the emotional and physical wounds of violence.

The monument was shaped like a stupa and made with river rocks collected from all the regions of Nepal. It was formed like a Mani wall in the high Himalayas, where individuals place stones as offerings.

As building a true peace requires community involvement, so too did this artwork. The public was encouraged to deposit small rocks, especially from those parts of the country where violence had occurred. Visitors participated in the commemoration process by dedicating a stone engraved with the name of the deceased for placement on the monument. Nepali flags at the memorial recounted the number of people who had died.

It was envisioned that collaboratively building this memorial would help bridge some of the differences between opposing parties. It provided an opportunity to reflect on the tragedy and look towards a “new awakening.” By working together, the memorial became an expression of unity through creativity.

The recent use of Remembering Peace Park for non-violent protest fulfills one of the goals for creating this space. During these demonstrations, temporary structures were erected to give shelter to the participants.

This memorial was a continuation of the artwork begun in 2002 with the creation of Remembering Peace Park in Kathmandu and Remembering Peace Grove in Pharping. These two projects created new gardens and groves to contemplate peace, revitalize the environment and help transform the lives of participating communities.

Drawing for the Peace Park

Peace Park Rani Pokare 2006