After the opening ceremony, the second day of the Kathmandu Triennale started off with a tour of Patan organized by Phillipe Van Cauteren where the artists and reporters walked around the ancient city and the Durbar Square. The remains of the earthquake two years ago was still visible for the guests to see and the images of Kishor Kayastha’s short movie that was presented at the opening ceremony portrayed itself in real life.
After the tour, the group headed to Patan Museum in Patan Durbar Square for the book launch of Nepali Painting, a book about the artisan crafts of Chitrakars by Madan Chitrakar. The book celebrates the historic contributions made by Chitrakars of the Newar community, who were artists that contributed traditional paintings from the 11th century till the present.
While back at the museum, the book launch was then followed by an art symposium with artists Ashmina Ranjit, Ryan Lizbeth Reed and Bart Lodewijks on the topic Public Spaces and Public Art. The artists talked about their experiences in presenting art in various public spaces and the reaction of the public. As well as the dilemmas of documenting such art work during and after the process and about crediting the artist’s performance.
It was a day of performances as four artists presented their artwork around Patan. First was the performance of artist Anno Dijkstra where he sculpted hands out of plaster during an afternoon in Patan Durbar Square and handed the piece away to a local. The performance was followed by a traditional Japanese tea ceremony presented by Masae Suzuki and Tetsu Suzuki. The tea ceremony demonstrated the calm and intimate nature of the process even in the crowded Patan Museum. It was quite the hit with the audience. The tea ceremony lasted for a while. Afterwards, the most awaited performance began. As Meher Monali began picking up the items that she had placed spread across the museum then asked the audience to tie the items on her body, her performance, Secrets within Beyond began. Once all the items were tied to her body, she began making her way to Pimbahal. As she walked gracefully, the items dragging behind her and hanging from her body, she started cutting off the items one by one and made offerings to the passersbys. It was quite the show as the local kids and curious spectators followed her to the destination.
Monali’s performance was followed by Ashmina Ranjit’s in which she was dressed up in her iconic white dress. She graced her way into the small, traditional rest stop in Pimbahal and began separating rice grains with discipline. Again, the performance was quite a show for the local community who watched her as she went on.
As the events for the day wrapped up, the artists were treated to a traditional concert of Dhaa baja at Pimbahal itself while the volunteers of Kathmandu Triennale lit diyos (clay oil lamps) around the historical pond. Ka Baata and [rp]COLLECTIVE also had their exhibit alongside the concert as colored paper turned into prayer flags with prayers written on them by people. They were hung up in Tekas, wooden struts that support the buildings that received damage during the earthquake. It was very engaging as volunteers, local community and the artists all got together to celebrate the public space. The festivity of the night went on as the community echoed in the sound of traditional drums followed by a Lakhey dance performed by the locals of that area.