24 MARCH- 9 APRIL, Kathmandu Triennial 2017
From the series of "I Have to Feed Myself, My Family and My Country…"- Hit Man Gurung
Medium : Site- specific installation (coffins from Saudi Arabia, set of migrant workers' uniform from Qatar , imitation gold leaf ,print transfer from newspaper , drawings on light box , arduino) .
Dimension : light box: 24 cm x 24 cm each (set of 15 )
1.193.5 cm x 59cm 32 cm
2. 191 cm, 60 cm,33 cm
These two coffins once contained the cadavers of Nepali migrant workers. Upon death, their bodies were packaged and shipped over to Kathmandu from Saudi Arabia. Their lives, their identities, their histories reduced to a parcel. They were not afforded the right
to a proper funeral, as their families were not even given the opportunity to perform the final cremation rites.
The coffins were installed vertically. The interiors of one was covered with imitation gold leaves while the bottom was painted with a line chart representing the amount of remittances sent by Nepali migrant workers from abroad. The other coffin contained the uniform and helmet of a Nepali construction worker from Qatar. The interior of this coffin was covered with printouts of foreign job advertisements from national newspapers.
Across from the coffins, a series of drawings were displayed inside light boxes. These drawings depicted people queuing in front of the offices of Nepal’s Ministry of Labour and Employment and The Department of Foreign Employment waiting for their work permits. There were 15 drawings inside each white frame, and each light box lit up sequentially in a loop at an interval of five seconds.
"Parallel Life story of Nepalese migrant worker in Qatar and his family in Nepal"- Mekh Limbu
Medium: Painting, Acrylic on Canvas
Dimension : 60.96cmX60.96cm, 30.48cmX30.48cm, 30.48cmX30.48cm
Nepal has undergone tremendous socio-political changes in the last few decades - from the democratic movement in the late eighties, the protracted civil war, and the abolition of monarchy and the establishment of a republic. Simultaneously, various movements along the lines of gender and ethnicity also entered the public discourse. In parallel, global forces urged citizens to migrate locally and internationally. Then the April, 2015 earthquakes further destabilized lives, causing death and displacement.
Numerous Nepalese work in the Middle East and in Malaysia. Meanwhile, the incomes they send back to Nepal allow his family to migrate to bigger towns from rural outposts, emptying villages.
Age-old urban/rural structures are changing; traditional knowledge chains are breaking; families are getting torn apart. People are giving up on agriculture, which was a typical source of sustenance. The uncertain and unstable political climate doesn’t help any of this. If anything, the migrant labor industry allows government officials to remain passive instead of taking active steps to help their citizens and their country.
"I still see that old house of ours in my dream"- Sheelasha Rajbhandari
Copper, brass, old doors and windows, digital print on archival paper, archival ink, wooden frame with silver mount, elephant grass mat.
Wooden box : 67 cm x 38 cm x 45.5 cm (each), 3 Boxes
Frame : 33cm x 33cm (each), 32 Frames
Photo credit: artist’s family archive.
Narration : Cheniya Devi Pradhan Bijukchhe (artist’s grandmother)
With this installation the artist brings tribute to her grandmother. Through objects, personal photographs and sound recordings Sheelasha Rajbandari digs into the past, and sometimes forgotten history of her city through the personal stories and collected memories of her grandmother. The work is characterized by its intimacy and personal layers. Miniature objects and stories written on photographs form together with a sound recording, the core of this work.