Nepali – An exhibition


25.10.2019 18:00 - 25.10.2019 20:00

Photography born in Nepal

Tarvitaanko todella luonnonkatastrofi, jotta saadaan ihmiset aidosti kokoontumaan yhteen?

Menneisyys ja nykyisyys. Erilaisuus ja samankaltaisuus. Onko meidän mahdollista unohtaa, tai jopa vaalia tätä kaikkea vahvistaen sen kautta yhteenkuuluvuuttamme ja luoden pohjaa terveemmälle, vahvemmalle ja kestävämmälle yhteisölle.

”Nepali – Näyttely” tuo toista kertaa nämä 22 valikoitua valokuvaa esitettäväksi yleisölle. Ensimmäisen kerran näyttely on järjestetty Nepalissa keväällä 2019, mutta tällä kertaa tapahtumapaikkana toimii Helsinki. Alkavan näyttelyn viimeisenä päivänä 24. marraskuuta tullaan myös julkaisemaan ”Bound: Photography born in Nepal” valokuvakirja, ja sekä itse näyttely, että valokuvakirja tulevat olemaan osa luontevaa jatkumoa Nepali 2019 -projektista – laajemmasta tutkimusmatkasta yhteenkuuluvuuden käsitteeseen sekä yhteisölliseen resilienssiin ja sosiaaliseen kestävyyteen.

In the early months of 2019, a group of dedicated students flew to the rural district of Nuwakot, in Nepal, within the framework of Aalto University’s ‘Sustainable Global Technologies Studio’ course. They were given some primary resources to carry out a project about sustainable reconstruction after disasters, in collaboration with students from the Asian Institute of Technology and Management (AITM), on a land that had recently been hit by one of the most destructive earthquakes of the past decades. By means of engaging with the local community, their intended research aimed to focus; on one hand, on Social Sustainability, and on the other, on Economic Sustainability.

Through studies on communal resilience, the two parallel, but still distinct areas, eventually shifted towards a joint investigation into the concept of social cohesion and its role in recovering a community. But what does social cohesion mean? From a place of empathy, humility and openness, the group initiated cultural involvement by holding the first photography exhibition in the area of Dhungentar at the local Multipurpose Community Hall, which, for one day in February 2019, has turned into the lively meeting point of local villagers, documentary artworks, artisanal jewels and impromptu performances. Captured by a handful of photographic cameras and mediated into a documentary visual language, the images, without aspiring to reanimate, still bare the power to transport us to that formerly existent moment in space and time, where, “Collectiveness, alignments and resilience”* seem to have manifested. Be it a natural force, a generated atmosphere, a sense of belonging, or a shared purpose; the cohesion that radiates through the photographs of the collective – Carles Martínez Millana, Avinash Dhital, Luis Alfonso Monje, and Prithivi Jung Thapa – translates real encounters. An experience that seemingly was not dictated by cultural origin, disciplinary orientation or the superficies of status quo, but the genuine connection of humans, who without owning a common history, share a current present. The exact 22 images that have been displayed in Dhungentar earlier are now shown in Helsinki, including some of the salvaged original photographs printed on PVC in Nepal, alongside the others that were reprinted on recycled newspaper, here in Finland. Utilising an equally low-threshold approach for production and costs, the exhibition is hosted at a similarly accessible urban community space Kalasataman Vapaakaupunki with the kind support of Aalto Global Impact, Aalto PrintLab, PBL South Asia and the Finland-Nepal Friendship Association.

*one of the anonymous responses to an exercise carried out for the photobook, ‘Bound: Photography born in Nepal’. The book is self-published by the Nepali project team 2019 and officially launched on the 24th November of the same year, as part of the ‘Nepali — An exhibition’ event’ where people around the world have been asked: what does social cohesion mean to you?

Photography: Carles Martínez Millana, Avinash Dhital, Luis Alfonso Monje and Prithivi Jung Thapa
Nepali 2019: André Santos, Anumaria Salminen, Carles Martínez Millana, Kristiina Kolu, Lassi Tähtinen, Luis Alfonso Monje and Roosa Verkasalo
Curation: María Paloma Velázquez