Bandana Sharma sits in an empty classroom in Kalanki, Kathmand (2003).
“Why Nepal? Why do you come back?” I’ve been asked often. I falter, unable to formulate anything neither consistent nor convincing. Disorder. This ‘why’ lies in a nebulous angle of my mind, elusive but dense.
I realise a certain match between my own disorder and the one that defines these towns and villages where I keep coming back, season after season. A certain match with this territory that does not know the void and where auspicious stones have been erected in the few places that were left virgin by the secular hustle: this territory that appeases me.
Descending from the airport each time I return, shaken up by the traffic jam and the insane driving, suffocated by the racket, the lead and the nitrates, I simply slip into a world where I already exist, soothed in the shadow of its chaos. A world in which I feel recognised. A glance, a dog, a twisted line of ragged walls, a pond, a ladybird on the half-open window of the car, a butcher’s shop on the pavement, the spasms of a bus, the light burn of the tea on the lip. I receive them as solace.
A lone chair with a pair of trousers in a hotel room in Dharma, Mugu (2006).
Nothing offends me: death, violence, fever, the air drizzling with dust and heavy metals, the overload of the space. I am in the right place. A place that is searching for balance, a balance between order and disorder, between fiction and reality. This is the Nepal I capture on my lens and where I begin to find my answer to “why Nepal?”
Frédéric Lecloux, a Belgian photographer, is displaying almost two decades of his work from Nepal at Alliance Française from 31 January onwards. This text is translated and freely adapted from an excerpt of a yet unpublished French book Ne plus voyager.
Everyday Epiphanies: A Nepal Retrospective
Santosh (left) and Rakesh (right) pose for a photo in the middle of atea garden in Ilam (2011).
31 January-13 February, 10am to 6pm
Alliance Française, Tripureswo
Some pictures of the exhibition Everyday Epiphanies: A Nepal Retrospective by Frédéric Lecloux