(Organized by Latitude 28)
“SOLD” from the series “This is My Home, My Land and My country…” - Hit Man Gurung
“SOLD” is an ongoing work that concentrates on the long history of human trafficking, especially girls and women from Nepal to India, Middle East, East Asia and different parts of the world. The increasing rate of human trafficking every year is deeply shocking. According to the report of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), human trafficking in the country increased by as much as 40 percent after Nepal earthquake 2015. While 23,200 Nepalese reported to be victims of some forms of trafficking, 3,900 were missing, 6,100 were trafficked and 13,600 were attempted to be trafficked. The majority of trafficking victims are women and girls who are especially vulnerable due to limited economic opportunities, illiteracy or low education, and low socioeconomic and cultural status. Women and girls are also more vulnerable to trafficking if they come from marginalized livelihoods, are deserted by their husbands or families, and are victims of abuse and violence. 98% victims of attempted trafficking were female, 60% of trafficked victims are females and 70% of missing people are female.
The trafficking of girls from Nepal into India for forced prostitution is perhaps one of the busiest slave trafficking routes anywhere in the world, with an estimated 5,000-10,000 Nepali women and girls trafficked to India each year. Many victims who end up overseas are passed through India first before their final destinations. Also widespread is labor exploitation of victims in disorganized, informal sectors in the gulf states, such as domestic servitude.
The used currency in the artwork are symbols of black income that is connected with illegal networks of human trafficking in different countries where the girls and women are being trafficked. The red bar code on the faces of the portraits symbolize humans used as products. The red bar code is a representation of trade that is difficult to scan or identify.
“Gurkha; a Political Slave or Pride of Bravery?” - Hit Man Gurung
Through this series of multimedia works, I am looking back on the history of Nepal and how Shah rulers conquered the small kingdoms and tribes of Annapurna regions, used ethnic people living in those regions (later named them Gurkhali) for the purpose of unifying the country. In 1816, the treaty of Sugauli was signed between the Kingdom of Nepal and the British East India Company, which ended the Anglo-Nepalese war. In 1817, Gurkhas served as troops under the contract of the East India Company, then fought the First and Second World Wars for the British. After the partition of India in 1947, an agreement between Nepal, India and Britain transferred four Gurkha regiments from the British to the Indian army. Despite this history, there is still a strong tradition amongst people from the Gurung, Magar, Rai and Limbu ethnic groups to to join the British and Indian armies as Gurkha soldiers. Since I belong to the Gurung community, I am interested in the political, social, cultural and identity-based aspects of this traditional dynamics as well as the more recent legal foreign troops employee agreement between Nepal, India and Britain.