kolor kathmandu ko katha
It all started two years ago with Yuki Poudel, a member of team Sattya’s visit to Philadelphia- a city famous for being home to beautiful, stirring murals. To Yuki, it seemed that the paintings and graffiti brought a sense of positivity to the community. This inspired her to do something similar in Kathmandu, something that had never been done in our country before; which was ironic considering the intriguing love for art that our culture has.
On her arrival to Kathmandu, she shared her thoughts with her team members. Greeted with a positive response, Sattya Media Arts collective decided to come up with Kolor Kathmandu, a project to liven up art in Nepal. It was simple, to create 75 murals representing each of our districts. When you look at it now, you will agree that it was a job well done.
In the beginning, there were 12 international muralists that started things off. The group of international artists consisted of a popular German street artist duo, Herakut along with 25 local artists, Kolor Kathmandu started by painting 25 murals in Baluwatar, Shankhamul, Bhotahiti, Jawalakhel, and other parts of the town and moved on to the other districts.
While some artists focused on landscapes, others chose to depict social stigmas and problems faced in their districts. Anish Bajracharya’s piece named ‘Bara’ in Bhanimandal, for example, pays homage to the popular Newari lentil dish which shares its name with the district. In the mural, he incorporates the Gadhimai festival held in Bara every five years. Another mural- this one named ‘Doti ‘- tells the tale of the district’s hardworking farming women, the fishes from its Karnali River and its jungles’ tigers. At first, there were a few sceptical locals who doubted their initiatives and their ideas. But that changed when they started seeing the young artists’ passion at work. And when the huge monotonous white walls transformed into intricate works of art, the sceptics turned to admirers.
This spurred the team to do better and work harder, and this was important as their task was not easy. Finding apt, visible walls and then getting the owners of the walls to agree to let some random artists paint over them was no walk in the park. Once that was sorted, the work would have to be completed within the promised time. Despite several challenges, the team remained persistent and focused on their work at hand. Social, financial and political barriers arose, but Sattya persevered. And their hard work paid off, and they were able to bring colour to the bland walls of Kathmandu, doing justice to the colourful life of the city.
To bring a just end to their entire project, Sattya Media Arts Collective organized ‘Kolor Kathmandu ko Katha’; an exhibition of the photographs of their murals. The event took place at The City Museum, Durbar Marg from August 14 to August21. According to the team, this particular event was organised to bring all the murals spread across the valley to one location and to keep the spirit of Kolor Kathmandu alive.
Still, there are many walls that could do with a coat of colour and creativity, and there were a lot of questions raised about the possibilities of Kolor Kathmandu 2. The team has decided to take a respite for the moment, but we will definitely be amongst those who will be waiting for the chances of seeing them back at work.