In November 2018, I received a grant from the Queensland Government: Arts Qld to attend the Micro Galleries street art project and artist residency in Patan, Kathmandu, Nepal. Along with Lara Furst (the amazing photographer who snapped all the shots below) and The Brightsiders we jetsetted off to Nepal for this amazing opportunity.
The project included:
• An artist residency • Women on Wall • Street Art works focused around 'Empowerment' • Workshops
Below is a breakdown of the project and a visual narrative. Words by Micro Galleries and photos by Lara Furst.
Climate Change Residency in Kathmandu. For 10 days, selected MG artists came together with scientists, activists and community to share knowledge, skills, and create an immersive and interactive creative response that communicated climate disruption, it’s implications, and possible solutions to the local community - a community that is vulnerable, and will be devastatingly affected by climate disruption. Learning from Climate Reality ICIMOD , S4W Nepal , international relations academics, and arts activists such as Milan Rai , we heard stories of women singing as they leave their traditional village for the last time as they cannot sustain their families there any longer, of attempts at mitigation and adaptation for subsistence farmers, of women in communities who queue to eke the last drops of water from ancient water spouts, and realised we can be the storytellers, the communicators, reality-bringers of this intangible issue, and the visionaries of an alternative way of moving forward. The artists transformed the community lane through the symbol of a giant snake - each component of the snake involved a different aspect of learning about climate disruption using up-cycled or locally-sourced natural materials. Viewers were led along the snake by the artists who provided information and interactive moments. All the materials were then re-purposed by the community to change their lane into the beginnings of a colourful garden. It was a multi-media installation that included a soundscape, projection art, installation art, mural and spray work, and performance art.
The Artist Residency outcome: an interactive immersive installation. This space had been transformed into an enviro-playground using up-cycled and repurposed materials, projections and sound; the audience were led along a multi-media snake by the artists who provided information and interactive moments about climate change and its impact The Micro Galleries Residency is a new program started in 2018 that reinforces ideas about global communities, artist networks, and creating platforms that allow artists to come together to make innovative change - for themselves and communities.
The Street Art Works Our original and core Micro Galleries concept - the open air galleries. Taking art to the doorstep of people who think they might not have the time, money, education, status or interest in art, and seeing if we can challenge that. It's all about discovering it, happening upon it...opening your door and there it is! Art that lives in the community for a short or long while, and makes a positive impact. Art that has no commercial value and is free: free to enjoy, question, puzzle or laugh at. Art, for art's sake. We had over one hundred works in Kathmandu, and these are but a small sample that we think capture the range. From murals and installations, to projections wheat-paste, Patan got a little splash of everything we had.
An all-women-identifying project that crosses cultures, oceans, interwebs and walls - this project is all about female empowerment and raising the visual voice of women. Creatively led by Sarah Sculley and Jyoti Shrestha, MG together with Urban Nasty brought together women from the local Kathmandu community, the local arts community and the international arts community to create a new mural that explored a story shared by these women. After months of discussion with local women and our women-identifying artists, a common theme is threaded out of the yarn: water. The lack of it, the pollution of it, the precious nature of it, and how profoundly important it is for women around the world. The reduction of unclean water and access to water has a direct impact on womens health, time, labour and independence. Women hold up 50% of the st, and carry most of its water. The women all came together on 24th Nov to paint their message, accompanied by incredible female musicians including Addy.
Workshops at Koseli Lara and The Brightsiders worked with the astounding Koseli Foundation School. This amazing organisation provides education and opportunity for Kathmandu's underprivileged kids, creating new possibilities for them.