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Publication Date : 18-03-2013
The Swotha Gallery in Nepal aims to contribute to the sharing and study of Nepali photography
The popularity of photography as both hobby and profession is definitely on the rise in Nepal these days. Many photography groups exist around the Kathmandu valley, there are numerous workshops and trainings happening on a regular basis, and photography exhibitions have taken up a big chunk of gallery space. Keeping such a trend in motion, the Swotha Gallery, established by the Nepal Picture Library for exhibiting photographs and located in Swotha Tol, Patan, was inaugurated on March 12. The event comprised a video presentation, a slideshow as well as a live performance by popular Nepali instrumental band Kutumba and Kobahal’s local favourites Dha Baja Khala.
The Nepal Picture Library, established in April 2011, is an initiative of photo.circle to archive photographs from Nepal. It intends to contribute to the study of Nepali photography and expand knowledge and raise awareness on the memory, identity and historical exploration of the country with the help of photographs. The inauguration of Swotha Gallery marks the expansion of the Picture Library beyond cyberspace.
“In addition to being an exhibition space, Swotha Gallery also plans to become a hub for collecting old photographs and stories from Patan,” said Bhushan Shilpakar, the library’s co-founder.
Upon inauguration, the gallery has been presenting the works of prominent Nepali photographer Mukunda Bahadur Shrestha.
“I am very happy to show my work here in my hometown of Patan,” said Shrestha. He added that the archiving of the photographs in the Nepal Picture Library has given his work a new life. Shrestha had spent the 1970s and 80s travelling across Nepal and taking photographs of its mountains, culture and people. Over 1,100 of his photographs and negatives have been digitised by the Picture Library. They were earlier exhibited under the title Postcards and Beyond at the Siddhartha Art Gallery in August last year.
In order to make the ‘viewing’ process more interactive, the Swotha Gallery also intends to organsie Archive Afternoons where photographers will be invited to bring their old photographs to get them digitised under the Nepal Picture Library.
“We will also set up a sound booth to record oral histories and interviews with contributors. This material will be a valuable addition to the Nepal Picture Library’s growing collections of photographs and interviews,” said Shilpakar.
Swotha Gallery is open all seven days of the week from 11am-6pm