The Kathmandu Triennale has appointed Nepalese artists and cultural organizers Hit Man Gurung and Sheelasha Rajbhandari as cocurators of its 2020 edition. They join director Sharareh Bajracharya and artistic director Cosmin Costinas in organizing the festival, which began in 2009 to address questions of climate change and feminism and was reformatted into a triennial in 2017, shifting its focus to further engage trans-Asian voices and the Nepali contemporary art scene. The forthcoming edition is slated to open in December 2020.
Gurung was born in Nepal in 1986 and studied at Tribhuvan Unversity. His work is concerned with the mass migrations of transitory, low-wage Nepalese laborers, urban development and housing conditions, legacies of the Nepalese civil war and Maoist insurgency forces in the country. He has shown at the Kathmandu International Art Festival; Siddhartha Art Gallery, Nepal; Park Art Gallery, Nepal; Para Site Art Center, Hong Kong; Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Australia; the India Art Fair; and Dhaka Art Summit.
Rajbhandari, born in Kathmandu in 1988, studied at Kathmandu University and Tribuwan University, where she taught as a sculpture instructor from 2012 to 2014. Her work explores Nepal’s history and geopolitical positioning through traditional folklore, oral histories, mythology, performance, and ritual. Her work has been shown at Moesgaard Museum, Denmark; Jeonbuk Museum, South Korea; India Art Fair; Asian Art Biennale, Bangladesh; Kathmandu International Arts Festival; and the Kathmandu Triennial.
Gurung and Rajbhandari have previously collaborated on book projects and as cofounders of the artist collective Artree Nepal, established in 2013. Their work is on view at the “Nepal Art Now” exhibition at Vienna’s Weltmuseum through November 6.
Organized by the Siddhartha Arts Foundation, the triennale will coincide with the biennial Photo Kathmandu festival, as well as the Kochi-Muziris Biennale and Serendipity Arts Festival. Under Costinas, the 2020 edition will be staged across various historical sites in Kathmandu to address decolonization discourses, “leaving behind the Enlightenment and modern projects with their totalizing claims.” The festival will also aim to examine the status of contemporary art, globalization, indigenous perspectives, and the colonialist gaze of ethnography.