In 1993, we wrote a ten-page proposal in which we outlined our ideas and philosophy for an ecological artwork that used local myths and traditions to generate interest in revitalizing the riverine ecology of the Kathmandu Valley. This position paper proposed to reestablish the human connection with the sacred Bagmati River and its tributaries that has been lost to pollution. We suggested the formation of a greenway and nature corridor linking all of the valley's rivers in order to compensate for the loss of open space due to rampant development and the aggressive presence of vehicular traffic. Since this artwork provides a framework for ecological restoration, we believe that its success will depend upon the activism of Nepali people. To insure their participation, we developed an educational component that would communicate the relevancy of our ideas by drawing upon Nepal's unique cultural language. Turning to Hindu and Buddhist mythology and art, we reinterpreted an indigenous environmental ethic and created art works that synthesized these ancient ideas with contemporary approaches to both art and nature. We appropriated the image and symbolism of the Nagas, ancient serpent deities, who represent fertility and clean air and water. thus broadened the foundation of environmental art by specifically addressing the revival of an eroding Nepali cultural identity and environmental ethic while concentrating on the restoration of an ecosystem. By using native myths and traditions along with new ideas to achieve sustainable human development,can be viewed a prototype for nations facing similar environmental and cultural problems.
Myth of the Naga Kathmandu Valley Watershed Installation, Kathmandu ~ 1993