Breaking Views: Engaging Art in Post-Earthquake Nepal
Christiane Brosius & Sanjeev Maharjan
2017, pp. 148 (colour plates)
ISBN 978 9937 597 38 8 (hardback)
How do artists look at their lifeworld after a catastrophe such as the earthquake in Nepal 2015? What does art mean in this context, what can it ‘do’? This book is a collaborative effort responding to these and other questions. It brings together the expertise of artists and curators, an art historian and an anthropologist, to offer a set of perspectives that reflect friction, fragility and precarity as much as perseverance and resilient strongholds. Centre-stage of the book are the photographs, interviews and an installation of artist Sanjeev Maharjan. They are discussed as a careful reflection of those weeks and months after the earthquake hit, but beyond that also invite us to address the broader context of art’s role in society, and of an urbanising world in flux. Lastly, the different views in this book also facilitate the ‘breaking’ of dominant narratives of catastrophe that often overshadow individual experiences by means of heightened sensationalism.
Christiane Brosius is professor of Visual and Media Anthropology at the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies. With an academic background in Cultural and Social Anthropology, Art History and Art Education, her focus is on art, media and visual popular cultures in South Asia (mainly Nepal and India) and processes of urbanisation. Publications range from “India’s Middle Class. New Forms of Urban Leisure, Consumption and Prosperity” (2010 Routledge, New Delhi, reprint 2014) to “Empowering Visions. A Study on Videos and the Politics of Cultural Nationalism in India” (London: Anthem Press 2005) and, more recently to the emotional ecologies of Valentine’s Day in India. Research projects cover interdisciplinary approaches to studying single women in Delhi and Shanghai, Active Ageing in South Asia and the field of art production and urbanisation in India and Nepal. Brosius is also co-founder of Tasveer Ghar/House of Pictures: A Digital Network of South Asian Popular Visual Culture.
Sanjeev Maharjan is a visual artist and art educator based in Kathmandu. He received his MFA from Tribhuvan University and a BFA in 2009 from Kathmandu University. Maharjan participated in numerous international and national exhibitions, art festivals, residencies and workshops in The Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, India, Bangladesh and in Nepal. He participated in the: Kathmandu Triennale (The City, 2017); India Art Fair (Nepal Art Council Booth, 2017); Coup De Ville Triennale of Contemporary Art, Saint Niklaas, Belgium (2016); ‘”Parallel Realities”: Nepali artists between tradition and globalization’ at the Moesgaard Museum, Aarhus, Denmark (2016), the Kathmandu International Art Festivals (2009, 2012), Photo Kathmandu Photo/Jazz residency curated by Philippe Van Cauteren (2015); Abhisaran-Vijayanagar Residency curated by Amit Jain (2014), “Flooting Peers”, Chittagong, Bangladesh (2013) and the Kathmandu Contemporary Art Center Residency (KCAC, 2010). Solo exhibitions wwere “Portraits from The Shadow” at Siddhartha Art Gallery (2009) and “Repeating Bodies” at KCAC (2010). He is a co-founder of Drawing Room KTM, an artist-run studio and learning space and of Srijanalaya, a nonprofit nongovernmental organization dedicated to alternative forms of art education in Nepal.