What a wild 2 months! On March 8th, Harry Morgan, Bhuwan Rokka and Marli Gordon sat down together and decided to launch the Reflections 25.4.16 project to commemorate the 1st anniversary of the April 25th earthquake, and to share real stories about the situation in Nepal now. We knew it would be a lot of work, but none of us quite expected it to grow into what it did.
One phone call later and we were sitting with a member of the 2nd Nepalese Constituent Assembly who immediately committed to attending our Opening Ceremony (something we hadn’t yet planned). We started collecting stories, sent out our call for artists entries and tried to reach as many artists as possible, Nepali and international. With momentum building, it was not long before we booked our gallery space at the Patan Museum, in the UNESCO World Heritage Site Darbur Square and it all kept snowballing from there. The energy was fuelled by every conversation we had about the project, people loved the concept and were eager to participate somehow. We were completely taken aback and…more than a little pleased, The whole time had surreal feeling, hard to believe what was happening.
On the 8th April we found ourselves sitting before a large room full of journalists, making official statements for our press-release. We thought artists had attitudes…media people were a whole new ball-game.
From that point we had only two weeks to prepare everything after that- building the show, collating the artists entries, finding funding, building the website, finalising the stories and photos, arranging the parallel exhibition in Bristol, co-ordinating a big opening event, plus countless more details. Many selfless volunteers, Nepali and international, NFN members and friends, put in hours of difficult work to translate the interviews, and sort out everything. We spent long days and nights in the NFN office, frantically trying to pull together all of the final details. We battled with electricity cuts, “Nepali time”, crazy Kathmandu traffic and wild mountain roads, and other obstacles less unique to Nepal.
At around the 17th – One week before the opening night, the artwork began to roll in, and things suddenly started to feel real. We had our first big print run – over 100 gorgeous photographs, signs, information boards, and high quality large scale prints of our international artists entries. The final few days before the show were a whole new level of stressful. Our core team pulled all nighters working on the many final touches, with barely a chance to rest.
Before we knew it, the 24th was upon us. Starting early the volunteer and photography team set about building and hanging the show in the courtyard, while Harry and Bhuwan rushed around Kathmandu collecting the last printed pieces and framed original artworks, and Marli made all of the arrangements for the opening ceremony. Right up until the very last minute, every member of the team worked flat out to pull it all together in time. The 1 year Nepali anniversary of the earthquake, the atmosphere in Patan Durbar square was electric. At 6pm we walked onto the stage we had set up in the rear courtyard, to the heavy atmospheric sound of Buddhist monks chanting in the Neighbouring temple. It was time.
There was a short speech from each of our honoured guests – Minister of Information and Technology Sherdhan Rai, Central Committee Member of Nepali Congress Minendra Risal and world-renowned Engineer Anil Chitrakar. After which, the artists and volunteers joined us on stage so that we might express our gratitude. We held a minutes silence for the victims of the 2015 earthquake, and in remembrance of the trials and challenges of this past year.
The ribbon was cut, the exhibition opened, food, drinks, and music began, and our project, Reflections 25.4.16, Launched.
A short video from our opening night:
The Exhibition and opening event at Patan Museum was sponsored fully by Aero Bricks, a new startup company producing AAC blocks, a german technology brick, a modern alternative building option for the rebuild effort in Nepal.
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