March 14, 2020 Sydney, Australia

'Not Less Expensive Than Gold' 2016-2020

Mixed-Media Installation (Video, Drawings, Paper mache, Herbs, Prints on clothes)

Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with generous support from Open Society Foundations.This project is kindly Supported by Kumudini Gurung, Julia Booth, Ali Newling. 

Imperial expansion and process of colonization had an overpowering influence on non-European medicinal traditions and cultural practices across the world. In Nepal, the modern or allopathic system of medicine was introduced by the Christian missionaries in the 17th century. In the aftermath of the centuries of Western medical intervention and Nepal’s quest to adopt so-called ‘modernization’, the older folk’s Indigenous, ethnic, communal and shamanistic medicinal, and healing practices started to disintegrate and disappear, while derogatory terms such as ‘alternative medicine’ or ‘pseudoscience’ are now used to describe traditional practices.

Despite Nepal being a small landlocked country, it has tremendous geographic diversity. The land rises from as low as 59 meters to the highest point on earth – 8848 meters above sea level at the summit of Mount Everest. The physiographic zones and climatic, topographic and ecological variation across Nepal provide for a wide range of rich medicinal, aromatic plants. The herbs found in Nepal at an altitude of 3000 meters and above are considered rich in natural chemicals. Ironically, those medicinal plants, which people have been using for hundreds, if not thousands, of years have now become export goods, while presently 80-90 percent of the drugs used by locals are imported. Increasingly, in most of the developing countries, basic needs like health, education, and transportation are being systematically privatized and commercialized. Health services and medical education are unaccountably expensive. Only five percent of the population in Nepal can afford to pursue a Bachelor of Medicine or Surgery. In most rural areas, because of a lack of proper infrastructure, people have to travel long distances to the capital for even basic treatment.

Text & Images Courtesy- Artree Nepal

Artists: Subas Tamang , Lavkant Chaudhary , Mekh Limbu, Sheelasha Rajbhandari , Hit Man Gurung.

Project Production Team: Mekh Limbu, Subas Tamang, Lavkant Chaudhary, Binay Rimal, Kala Limbu, Mithu Chaudhary, Aman Tuladhar.Special thankful to Gopal Kalapremi Shrestha

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