Urban Lore | शहरी अफ़साना

Patan - Kathamandu, Nepal \ पाटन - काठमांडू, नेपाल

2014 - 16

The museum at Durbar Square in Patan has within its precinct a make-shift workshop overseeing the refurbishment of the damaged timber construction

For a community of stone-carvers, Bhincebaal has been home for centuries. Acute water shortage is observed in the neighborhood, even as it is rebuilt

Fabrication in copper is a two-step process constituting the lost wax method, followed by repousse’ (carving ornamental relief into bust). This particular industry sees the influx and employment of young rural folk migrating from the Terai

Over three annual visits to the Valley, this project becomes a photographic documentation of the urban restoration of Kathmandu one year after the 2015 Earthquake.

At the time, the intent was to understand how a city regenerates itself, at different levels, through material narratives in craft and architecture. It reflects on how legend and lore, often woven into an urban fabric, through symbolic and semiotic artifacts, are transmuted across the Silk Road, to various centers beyond the Himalayas - for  culture and commerce, for centuries.

The city’s architecture finds itself still articulated by guilds of Newari craftsmen, skilled across wood, stone, copper and a range of other materials. This journalistic quest took us through complex spatio-temporal relationships between materials, craft, people and urban/interior places, ultimately leading to a chance discovery of the root cause of the earthquake - scarcity of water in the Valley had forced the hand of a misinformed governance to dig bore-wells in seismically active zones.

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