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Bagmati River Art Project includes artists Alberto Rey and Jason Dilworth
Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Bagmati River Art Project includes artists Alberto Rey and Jason Dilworth

An exhibition at the Siddhartha Art Gallery at Barbar Mahal Revisited in Kathmandu, Nepal, which opened on Nov. 20, features paintings, water data from the Bagmati River, a book about the project, a documentary and artwork by Nepalese artists whose attention focuses on issues related to the river.

Department of Visual Arts and New Media faculty Rey and Dilworth worked on the book and exhibition together, and Rey created the documentary for the project.

A brochure and poster written in Nepalese also provides important accessible scientific and health data about the river. The poster and brochures will be distributed to the communities that live along the entire length of the river in Nepal.

Members of the Bagmati River Expedition 2015 team, who created a comprehensive report about the river's water quality, microinvertebrates, avian population and plastics data, have already established connections in these communities. The works have been created in collaboration with Sujan Chitrakar, program coordinator and an assistant professor for Kathmandu University's School of Art, Center for Art and Design, and his graphic design students at Kathmandu University.

The book, "The Complexities of Water," documents the importance of the Bagmati River, the cause for the pollution, climate change effects on the Kathmandu Valley and its groundwater, and plans to improve the condition of the river. The role of this publication, like the exhibition, is to use aesthetics as a way to make the scientific data accessible to a wider audience. Artists from the United States and Nepal are included in the publication. The publication will be made available in Kathmandu at no cost to the residents to assure wide dissemination of its data to diverse communities. It also will be available in the United States and sold as a way to fund other parts of this project and future projects. A link to the finished book is available online.

The documentary, "BAGMATI," documents the project and includes interviews with water quality and health professionals, community members as well a policy makers in Kathmandu. Songs by traditional Nepalese folk singers are incorporated throughout the video including a commissioned song about the Bagmati River. A link to the finished documentary is available online.

An exciting extension to the project is to exhibit the artwork, publication, documentary, and some brochures and posters in the United States where it will tour around the country and possibly, internationally.

Water issues are a worldwide concern and the Bagmati's perils are not unique. It is hoped that by touring the exhibition and by combining it with site-specific exhibitions, audiences can create connections between their region and other global communities.

The Burchfield Penney Art Center in Buffalo has volunteered to promote and organize the touring exhibition.

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