Organized by photo.circle in association with Shikshya Foundation Nepal, Photo Kathmandu endeavors to create conversations between the city, its public, its past, and its dreams and aspirations. The festival invites photographers and other practitioners who work with the visual medium to Kathmandu to build and showcase projects as exhibitions, projections and various pop-ups, facilitate workshops and exchanges, join a mixed-media residency and participate in other core and collateral programming.
This article contains highlights from the first edition of the photo festival.
The festival attempts to challenge the limits of ‘artistic intervention’, by constructing platforms and programs that create in-depth engagement with local audiences and special interest groups on themes and topics of socio-political relevance locally. A dynamic arts and education program takes this mission further. The program is run by a group of committed young arts educators who invite Nepali students, teachers, professional networks, and families to engage with the participating artists and projects.
In its third iteration in 2018, Photo Kathmandu launched two new programs; a commission for which artists were selected through an open call, and an incubator program that brought together young photo and related practitioners to share and discuss work and concerns about their practices.
Arts and education program
The arts and education program at Photo Kathmandu sought to inspire people to explore the possibilities in visual literacy; oriented educators and young people towards the exhibitions so that their visits can be immersive as well as informative; created focused and meaningful learning experiences; and provided opportunities for young people to use the photo exhibitions to reflect on their own art practices and produce relevant work.
The program worked closely with schools, teachers and students by conducting workshops and guided tours. The curatorial framework of the festival in 2018 – gender, patriarchy, power, sexuality and identity – were potentially complex topics. Therefore, we prepared a learning kit in order to support teachers and families so that students can have a focused learning experience as well as an enjoyable time.
Additionally, the Photo Kathmandu arts and education program offered:
A Teachers Seminar on Saturday, October 13, between 12 – 4pm at Yalamaya Kendra, Patan Dhoka. The seminar oriented interested teachers and administrators towards the festival. We provided tips and suggestions that helped teachers and students navigate the festival in a manageable way.
Guided tours for school groups on specific days, during the course of the festival. Each tour included an introductory briefing session, an interactive walk through specific exhibits followed by a reflective closing session.
Workshops for related professionals. The workshops engaged participants more deeply with the overarching themes of the festival. It was designed to create a deeper experience with the photo festival.