Women in Film & Photography 2021 Exhibition, Chapel Gallery

Amidst the Garden of Eden lies empty elysian fields, still spaces, and the silence that echoes in them. Located in the southern outskirt of the Kathmandu Valley are Khokana and Bungamati, twin villages encompassing an archeological site, Ku Dey, out to the very edge of the foothills of the valley. But as the fog rises, one begins to see that though the sacred lands inherent beauty, they are tempered with modern signs of intrusion and degradation.

It is believed by the locals that their land was blessed by the goddess Shikali Devi to begin a new settlement. Decades later, the land has been proposed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, waiting for restoration and preservation. But lately it serves as a ground for a socio-political battle, as the land poses to be under threat by the State initiated Kathmandu-Tarai Expressway, a 78-kilometre “fast track” road conceived to bring tourists from an un-built airport in Tarai to the capital in just 90 minutes, a velocity whose casualty would be the displacement of the settlements that remain dotted across the sacred land. The indigenous inhabitants unite to save the last vestiges of their motherland against the ecological destruction and unsolicited displacement in the foreseeable future.

After Eden is a body of work which attempts to mediate between the evocative past and the elusive present informed in response to the changing landscapes on the notion of development. The tainted terrains are a constant reminder of how the notion of progress trumps people, continually erasing and overwriting the land and memory. Through the series of physical traces rupturing the organic terrain are questions raised upon the need for this emerging fast track as it slices through these vast scapes.

About Aakriti Chandervanshi
Aakriti Chandervanshi [b. 1995] is a visual artist, curator and designer from India whose work spans unique geographies and is embedded in the contexts of her everyday in the landscapes of South Asia. As an architectural graduate, she chose to engage her practice with her photographic journey and thus, the roots of her practice emerge from her keen interest in the historicities of the built environment and relevant debates around the discourse on their conservation. A fellow of the International Photography Programme at Pathshala South Asian Media Institute, Dhaka, her most recent work explores the relationship of the built juxtaposed with the emotional landscape in socio-cultural spaces of Nepal. Her work has found its space across various acclaimed print and digital publications such as British Journal of Photography, Financial Times, BBC, Domus, among others. Her dissertation explores relating architecture with psychology (titled ‘Animals in Translation). Following this, she designed a Centre for Animal Assisted Therapy, which she’s currently pursuing to bring to life in the present day. She is devoted to her work and pets, perhaps not as equally as she would like.

:: Exhibition: 11 Nov to 19 Dec 2021
:: Opening: 11 Nov (12pm to 9pm) / Artists in attendance: 11 Nov (6pm to 9pm)
:: Exhibition Tours with Curators & Artists, registration required: 11 Nov (6pm) and 11 Dec (2pm)
:: Online Artist Talks, registration required:
16 Nov, Tue, 8pm to 930pm: A Stubborn Bloom, Uma Bista, Ennuh Tiu
23 Nov, Tue, 8pm to 930pm: Aakriti Chandervanshi, Hong Shu-ying, Natalie Khoo, Yen Duong
30 Nov, Tue, 8pm to 930pm: Divya Cowasji, Michelle Chan, Moe Suzuki
7 Dec, Tue, 8pm to 9pm: Amrita Chandradas, Aarthi Sankar and Ruby Jayaseelan
:: Film screenings, 4 Dec
– Remnants and Reflections 130pm to 310pm
– Open Call Programme 345pm to 510pm