School of Arts,
Department of Art and Design
“Nostalgia versus Urban Transformation: Unveiling Cultural Insights from Kathmandu’s South-South Excursion Program 2023”
The South-South excursion program in Kathmandu commenced on November 23, 2023, comprising a diverse group of participants from Nepal and India. Notable individuals included Amshad Sunuwar, Anusha Thapa, Kabir Kayastha, Bivas Rai, Rojan Ghimire from Nepal, and Gobica Murali, Sukriti Patra, Mihir Vaidya, and Amala Babu from India. The three-day excursion provided profound findings and insights into the cultural heritage of Kathmandu, spearheaded by key personalities such as Anil Chitrakar showcasing Patan and Padma Sundar Maharjan leading the exploration in Sunakothi.
Exploration of Patan:
Patan, a cultural treasure dating back around 3000 years, revealed intriguing facets during the excursion:
The ingenious creation of wetlands for preserving Naagraaj showcased the city’s ancient heritage.
The remnants from the 13th century depicted survivor artifacts, offering glimpses into historical resilience.
Patan’s unique narration and depiction styles seamlessly integrated art into daily life, acting as a cultural reminder.
The city’s design intricately intertwined nature, culture, and structure, incorporating elements like sitting on lotus and Alexander’s introduction of lions.
Influences from the Mathur and Gamdhara schools of arts enriched Patan’s cultural fabric.
Patan emerged as a living monument, evolving over time while steadfastly preserving its core values, a perspective highlighted by cultural expert Rohit Ranjitkar.
Exploration of Sunakothi:
Led by Padma Sundar Maharjan, the excursion to Sunakothi unearthed compelling cultural insights:
Cultural monuments in Sunakothi served as symbols of protest, despite facing underutilization in contemporary times.
The presence of historical urban elements juxtaposed with the absence of contemporary craftsmen posed challenges for its preservation.
Sunakothi’s deep cultural importance was intertwined with local communities and schools, fostering intangible beliefs and attachments.
Events like jatra played a pivotal role in showcasing the authentic essence of Sunakothi.
The architectural evolution, transitioning from traditional to commercial, emphasized the adaptive reuse of elements, marking the transformation of Sunakothi’s cultural landscape.
Exploration of Khona:
Khona, highlighted during the excursion, held significant cultural revelations:
The name “Khona” bore linguistic connections and stood as the starting point of Nepali civilization.
Sikali and Phulchowki played pivotal roles in the region’s history, offering insights into native alphabets and their shared origins.
This expedition offered invaluable insights into the rich cultural heritage of Kathmandu, shedding light on the delicate balance between preserving heritage and embracing urban transformation in these historically significant locales.
Amshad Sunuwar was born in 1993 in Preeti, Ramechap, but he moved to Kathmandu before he turned a year old. Born into a Christian family and to parents who spoke two different mother tongues, Sunuwar and Koyu Rai, he grew up estranged from the culture, language, and heritage of his peoples. In Kathmandu, he grew up familiar with the industrially produced mass market utensils and objects that mark urban living. Accumulated guilt – of not knowing his roots – and a growing affection toward family heirlooms drew him into a conversation with them. His artworks have been exhibited in Park Gallery, Taragaon Museum, Windhorse gallery, Dalaila art space and Patan Museum.