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Curatorial Seminar: Exploring Multiplicity, Affirmations, and Friendship

This seminar invites creatives across disciplines to hear firsthand from curators Sheelasha Rajbhandari, Hit Man Gurung and Cosmin Costinas as they share their experience co-curating the recent Kathmandu Triennale and devising upcoming large-scale curatorial projects across Asia and the Pacific.

The speakers will be revisiting their ongoing dialogue started over five years ago on issues related to the multiplicity of artistic languages and cosmologies, struggles for sovereignty in different fields – from bodies to communities, as well as the affirmation of new principles of living and working in a world that leaves behind oppression and colonial parameters. These matters were at the core of the Kathmandu Triennale 2077, the 4th edition of the event that opened to the public in 2022 in which the three collaborated. The Triennale will be revisited in this presentation, in light of the place it occupied in these ever shifting conversations and as a basis for continuous research and propositions in other platforms, contexts, and rapidly changing times, including the upcoming Biennale Jogja 17 and Colomboscope 2024, where Rajbhandari and Gurung will serve as Guest Curators and the 24th Biennale of Sydney with Costinas as Co-Artistic Director.

Attendees will be shared a handful of brief resources to get familiar with the session’s topics and discussion. Refreshments will be provided.

Sheelasha Rajbhandari is an artist and curator based out of Kathmandu. Her works draw upon an embodied and speculative lineage of femininities to question the positioning of women across time, landscapes, and cosmologies. Her practice is a provocation to reflect beyond neo-liberal conception of time in order to decenter patriarchal structures that perpetuate cycles of industrial extraction and individual exhaustion. For her, art-making is about making space for collective action. This questioning feeds into her recent artistic and curatorial approach that recompose notions of Indigeneity, gender, worth, and productivity. Her installation in the traveling exhibition “A beast, a god and a line” (2018-2020) was presented at Para Site, Hong Kong; TS1, Yangon; Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw; Kunsthall, Trondheim; and MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum, Chiang Mai. She has also been an artist in residence at the Bellas Artes Projects (2019) and Para Site (2017). She has furthermore exhibited at Museum of Arts and Design, New York (2022), Weltmuseum Wien (2019); Serendipity Arts Festival, Goa (2017); and Kathmandu Triennale (2017). As a part of her collective, she has been a part of Dhaka Art Summit (2020) and Biennale of Sydney (2020). Rajbhandari co-curated the Kathmandu Triennale 2077, Nepal Pavilion at Venice Biennale (2022), ‘Garden of Ten Seasons’ at Savvy Contemporary, Berlin (2022) and ’12 Baishakh,’ Bhaktapur (2015) alongside Hit Man Gurung. She is also the co-founder of ArtTree Nepal, an artist collective and Kalā Kulo, an arts initiative.

Hit Man Gurung (b. 1984) is an artist and curator based in Kathmandu by way of Lamjung. Gurung’s diverse practice concerns itself with the fabric of human mobilities, frictions of history, and failures of revolutions. While rooted in the recent history of Nepal, his works unravel a complex web of kinships and extraction across geographies that underscore the exploitative nature of capitalism. These narratives revolve around the lived experiences of migrants caught between a dehumanizing transnational labor-based industry and an apathetic nation-state. He furthermore invokes Indigenous methodologies and epistemologies to fundamentally reconfigure contemporary artistic praxis. He has participated in exhibitions at SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin (2020); Biennale of Sydney (2020); Artspace Sydney (2019); Weltmuseum Wien (2019); Kathmandu Triennale (2017); Yinchuan Biennale (2016); Para Site, Hong Kong (2016); Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Brisbane (2015-16); and Dhaka Art Summit (2014, 2016, 2018 ,2020). He was co-curator for the Kathmandu Triennale 2077 (2022), Nepal Pavilion at Venice Biennale (2022), ‘Garden of Ten Seasons’ at Savvy Contemporary, Berlin (2022) and ’12 Baishakh,’ Bhaktapur (2015) alongside Sheelasha Rajbhandari. He has also co-founded ArtTree Nepal, an artist collective and Kalā Kulo, an arts initiative.

Cosmin Costinas is the Senior Curator of Exhibition Practices at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, HKW, Berlin (since 2022) and co-Artistic Director of the 24th Biennale of Sydney (2024). He was the Executive Director/Curator of Para Site, Hong Kong (2011-2022), Artistic Director of Kathmandu Triennale 2077 (2022), co-curator of the Romanian Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale (2022), Curatorial Adviser of the Aichi Triennale (2022), Curator of Dakar Biennale 2018 – La Biennale de l’Art africain contemporain-DAK’ART (2018), Guest Curator at the Dhaka Art Summit (2018), Co-curator of the 10th Shanghai Biennale (2014), Curator of BAK-basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht (2008-2011), Co-curator of the 1st Ural Industrial Biennial, Ekaterinburg (2010), and Editor of documenta 12 Magazines, Vienna/Kassel (2005–2007).

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