Nava Jagreti Smarak - New Awakening Memorial
Shantiko Samjhana Batika
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 peace nectar will flow.
Dharani Dhar Koirala, Naibadhy, 1920
Nava Jagreti Smarak is a public art installation dedicated to the people who have lost their lives during Nepal’s eight-year conflict. Created on the site of Shantiko Samjhana Batika – Remembering Peace Park next to Rani Pokhari in Kathmandu, the work establishes a memorial where one can begin the process of healing the emotional and physical wounds of violence.
The monument will be shaped like a stupa and made with river rocks collected from all the regions of Nepal. It will be formed like a Mani wall in the high Himalaya where individuals place stones as offerings.
As building a true peace requires community involvement, so too does this artwork. The public is encouraged to deposit small rocks, especially from those parts of the country where conflict has occurred. Visitors can further participate in the commemoration process by dedicating a stone engraved with a name of the deceased to be placed at the monument. Local stone carvers are encouraged to provide this service for a fee at the site.
Collaboratively building this memorial may help bridge some of the differences between the opposing parties. It provides an opportunity to reflect on the tragedy and look towards a “new awakening.” By working together, the memorial becomes an expression of unity through creativity.
Nepali flags at the memorial recount the number of people that have died. The work envisions displaying their names as well as those listed as missing since the fighting began. A ring of sand surrounding the mound is for lighting oil lamps and incense as homage to the departed souls and for strength in achieving a just peace.
The recent use of Shantiko Samjhana Batika – 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. Taking into consideration such a need, Nava Jagreti Smarak envisions a traditional Patee (public shelter) in the park.
This memorial is a continuation of the artwork begun last year with the creation of Shantiko Samjhana Batika in Kathmandu and Shantiko Samjhana Kunj in Pharping. These two projects created new gardens and groves to contemplate peace, revitalize the environment and help transform the lives of participating communities.