Photo returns to Kathmandu

The third edition of Nepal’s international photography festival is all set to kick off on Friday for a month-long festival of images. As a sign of the times, the shows will zoom in on gender, identity, as well as explore how patriarchy and sexuality affect power dynamics in societies around the world.

This year, the extravaganza of images will spill over beyond Patan to Kathmandu. The walls and alleyways of the two cities are once again plastered with photographs, projections, murals in preparation for the shows, exhibits, panel discussions and installations. They will use the visual medium to bring together the city and its citizens, join its past with its present and future, and connect it all to the outside world.

“This year Photo Kathmandu is curating works on gender, power, identity, patriarchy and sexuality through its exhibitions,” says festival director Nayantara Gurung Kakshapati.

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The festival will be inaugurated by Minister for Women, Children and Senior Citizens Tham Maya Thapa on 12 October. There are 14 print exhibitions, four slideshow nights, 17 talks by artists and panel discussions, and eight workshops and exchanges, and mixed media residency programs. This year Photo Kathmandu will also host a South Asia Incubator program. The media residency is a platform where artists will work for a month on individual projects to showcase it at the end.

More than 90 national and international artists, including photographers, curators, editors, writers from 25 countries are taking part in the festival which the organisers estimate will get half a million visitors. Artists and photographers from Italy, Germany, Bangladesh, India, United Kingdom, South Africa, USA, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Finland, Iran, Spain, Turkey, Canada, and Pakistan will be exhibiting.

Kakshapati adds: “This year Photo Kathmandu is more focused on the process than the product itself." There will be a month-long mixed-media residency with Indian curator and art writer Veerangana Kumari Solanki and Nepali artist Sujan Chitrakar who oversee artists work together. Other artists include Nhooja Tuladhar and Bandana Tulachan from Nepal, Marco Panzetti and Valentina Abenavoli from Italy, Pakistan’s Fiza Khatri, and Ilgin Denix Akseloglu from Turkey who will delve into the intersection of photography, video, stage performance.

The ‘Multimedia Storytelling and Web Documentary’ workshop by Uwe H Martin and ‘The Self and Representation’ workshop by Robin Hammond are highlights of this year’s festival. UK-based artist Robin Hammond is also exhibiting ‘Where Love is illegal’ creating a space for LGBTQI+ participants to share stories of discrimination and survival. There are also shows in Freak Street showcasing images and stories from the hippie era.

The month long Photo Kathmandu festival creates space for conversation with people around the world with multiple exhibitions, collateral events, workshops, public programs and much more.

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Monika Deupala