ins-outdoors-for the people of nepal

For the People of Nepal 
Siddhartha Art Gallery Kathmandu 
October 1994

This installation was inspired by the small shrines in public and private courtyards in the towns and villages of Nepal. It was sited in a public space within a modern office complex in Kathmandu that housed the Siddhartha Art Gallery and several computer-related businesses. The building, which represents a trend of new construction in Nepal, did not take into account the traditional architecture of creating a common space with aesthetic and functional values. We used this space to create For the People of Nepal: a Public Sculpture to reflect upon the loss of traditional values in the maintenance of a “commons” in Nepal. Situated prominently at the entrance to the building, the central courtyard was bare dirt with a few scraggly plants, and had become a place to throw cigarette buts. People who worked in the building had no interest in maintaining this common space. We used natural materials and everyday functional objects to construct a sculpture that reflected the importance and beauty of the seemingly ordinary things in our lives. It was intended to stimulate thoughts and dialogue on the endangered condition of Nepal’s culture and environment. Nepal’s asset is its people and their traditions that maintained a balance between society and nature. This installation celebrated Nepali identity by presenting indigenous ideas and materials in a new context as a metaphor for sustainable living.

Materials and Metaphors

Bamboo,a traditional building material with many important functional and ritual uses. It is the foundation of a craft tradition that has enabled Nepali people to demonstrate their creativity and ingenuity. Represents the growth of the country, firmly rooted in the positive traditions and intelligence of its people.

Namlo,a strap used together with a doko basket for transporting goods. It represents the burden of survival and the physical toil of people. Its fine weaving forms a bond that suggests the strength necessary to forge a future course for the country.

Rato Mato (Red Earth),it represents the essence of Nepali culture as it is expressed in the construction of homes, art and rituals and the beauty of the land.

Lohoro-selauto (Mortar and Pestle),a grinding stone which is used as a metaphor for the lingham and yoni and the necessity of unity and equality among the men and woman of Nepal.

Water the substance of life itself that is necessary for physical and spiritual cleansing.

Flower, it is the Center from which energy emerges and a metaphor for the beauty of life. Represents the blossoming of the human spirit and the rejuvenation of culture and environment which can only be accomplished though creative action.