An expression for social justice that grows into a social movement, largely with the use of social media: this is what has defined a generation’s efforts to stand up for what they believe is right, it is what has inspired thoughtful and provocative art and literature, and it is what has helped destroy the notion of staying silent, and being ignored when speaking up. If “we” see something, we say something. If “we” feel something, we do something. If those in position of delivering social justice turn a deaf ear, “we occupy.”
#Occupy resonates and is an ode to a generation looking for itself, and eager to “do something.” It is a generation occupied with liking, double tapping ♥, showing up, being seen, obsessing about everything, obsessing about self, a generation occupied with wanting to do something, to mean something.
The year-end exhibition at the City Museum Kathmandu is an acknowledgement of this spirit, as well as art and art forms that inspires, and is inspired by, it. The exhibition includes original ‘objects of dissent’ from Hong Kong’s #UmbrellaRevolution (2014), from Kathmandu’s #OccupyBaluwatar (December 2012), and documentation of New York’s #OccupyWallStreet (2011).
While the exhibition is largely based on actual and recreation of things produced and used in the different occupy movements by those who participated in it, three original pieces were also commissioned.
The curator, Kashish Das Shrestha, asked artist Aditya Aryal, alias SadhuX, to produce two statement pieces for this event. The first piece was originally conceived by the artist himself during #OccupyBaluwatar. However, it was never made because of its provocative nature – a topless figure of the Kumari goddess in the context of Violence Against Women– until now.
The second piece is based on an image from the Hong Kong protests that was taken by Vincent Yu (Associated Press) and published on the front page of the International New York Times on 2 December 2014. It has been adapted to reflect the threats posed by political unaccountability to our shared ecology, and more specifically, the global illegal wildlife trade of which China continues to remain a crucial protagonist, while promoting its Panda diplomacy campaign.
The event’s poster was commissioned to artist Shraddha Shrestha Shraddha, alias Deadline.