About – kathmandu triennale
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Both editions of Kathmandu International Art Festival (KIAF) were the largest non-profit art exhibitions held in South Asia. The 2009 edition was widely received as a landmark event for Nepali arts. It featured 111 artists from 25 countries who exhibited for 12 days at 6 different venues. This inaugural edition was organized by Siddhartha Art Gallery (SAG) and focused on the theme of “Status of Women.” The event was inaugurated by Rashmila Shakya, former Kumari, who embodied the concerned theme. A 3-day symposium was organized by SAG to complement the visual component of the event. Mondriaan Foundation, a patron of the Festival, hailed the Festival as their highlight for the 2009 funding cycle.

In 2011, SAF was registered to become the official organizing body of the Festival. The 2012 edition was much larger in scope and scale than its predecessor. It featured works by 97 artists exhibited at over 16 venues over the course of a month. The works were sourced from an open call and selected by an international jury. Eminent artist Richard Long (UK) was recognized as the Artist Patron of the event. KIAF 2012 realized the following historical achievements:


Use of unconventional spaces like the local zoo, trade fairs, renovated heritage complexes (Mulchowk, Patan Durbar Sqaure) and community squares brought the arts to newer audiences and communities and helped reach more than 480,000 people over the course of a month
KIAF Collaborations lead to the publication of a national award-winning children’s book on climate change titled Prerana and Lalpila. The book was written by Buddhisagar Chapain (Nepal) and Rumana Hussein (Pakistan) and was illustrated by Adeel uz Zafar (Pakistan). In 2013, the book was donated and distributed to public schools in Nepal by Room to Read.


First guided tour program in Nepal were initiated for the Festival. Through dedicated approaches, many schools were invited to visit the exhibition spaces and learn about the creations and their social messages


An outdated Transit Treaty between India and Nepal was amended to allow the transport of Cambodian artist Leang Seckon’s installation ‘Naga.’ The amendment means Nepal can now transport goods originating from third countries to travel back via India. This has had countless economic benefits for the entire nation.


Many KIAF Artists continued their connections to Nepal post-event. Artists like Gary Wornell (Finland) even instigated long-term projects on Kathmandu. Wornell recently opened an exhibition, Treasure of Nepal, in Finland and is launching the namesake book during Kathmandu Triennale 2017.

For a detailed breakdown of Festival components and names of participating artists and curators, please download the  KIAF 2009 and KIAF 2012 Fact Sheets.



The new format is built on the strengths of the past Festivals with revisions to prioritize impact. The change from Festival to Triennale also reaffirms SAF’s commitment to engendering a distinguished Nepali voice in global arts through consistent and critical programs. Our re-articulated logo—the gajur —is a fitting embodiment of our vision. The instrument is believed to facilitate the ascension of gods from earthly temples to the heavens. Kathmandu Triennale, too, hopes to be the stepping stone for Nepali arts to reach its pinnacle.

SAF has adapted the accepted pavilion format of biennale events to create  more perspectives and engagement with the event’s thematic reflections.

There are two main components of KT 2017: Exhibitions and Encounters. Exhibitions include all visual content and Encounters encapsulate the educational outreach built on the production and presentation of exhibits. It will also host outreach events in public spaces and incorporate collateral events created by partners in its overall program.


Siddhartha Arts Foundation (SAF) was established in 2011 following the inaugural Kathmandu International Art Festival (KIAF) which was organized by the Siddhartha Art Gallery (est. 1987). SAF was registered with a mission to promote and develop various Nepali arts. Its main vision is to establish Kathmandu City as a cultural hub in South Asia. In 2012, SAF organized a scaled up second edition of KIAF, which was formally concluded (after reporting and evaluation) in 2013.

To focus on capacity building, SAF in partnership with the Danish Center for Culture and Development (CKU) started the SAF Education Initiative (SAFEI). Between 2014 and 2016, SAFEI hosted numerous capacity building exercises including the first workshops on curatorial practice and an extensive training course on art management. SAFEI also held session on art criticism and conduct the first survey of Nepal’s cultural policies. CKU partnership also lead to first international museum exhibition of contemporary Nepali artists at the Moesgaard Museum, Aarhaus, Denmark. In 2015, with support from Artworks for Change (Oakland, California) the Foundation created the True Stories Project—a series of workshops that trains trafficked and orphaned woman/girls to become visual storytellers.

SAF is headed by a 7-member Board of Directors and is run by Chair of the Board who also serves as the Director of the Foundation. As a member of the Social Welfare Council, SWC is also regarded as a supervising agency. For its projects, like KT 2017, SAF nominates an Advisors’ Committee which includes government agents and private industry leaders. SAF works closely with sister institution Siddartha Art Gallery.

SAF has an up-to-date Standard Operation Policies and keeps with stringent accounting practices. It is regularly audited by independent auditors and the SWC. As a transparent organization, SAF provides full financial disclosure to Sponsors and the public after the conclusion of its activities and event.


KT 2017’s Advisory Committee guides its executive team in delivering the best possible event. Members are selected to represent both public and private sectors as well as to court the support of important cultural leaders. The Committee assists in the promotion of the festival, locally and internationally, help network for the benefit of the event. It recommend potential partnerships and also supports the efforts of institutional partners.

Members include:


Madan Chitrakar

Madan Chitrakar remains one of the best-known names in the present day contemporary Nepali painting scene. He creates both abstract and figurative paintings. His figurative works make the viewers aware of the Nepali culture capturing the medieval sculptures and architecture of Kathmandu valley. With innumerable writings to his credit, he has remained one of the leading and well-recognized art writers within Nepal and abroad. Presently, he is associated with several Art colleges in Kathmandu as a visiting faculty.

Lisa Choegyal

With a passion for tourism and conservation, Lisa Choegyal is based in Kathmandu with a wide range of affiliations. Since 2010, Lisa is New Zealand Honorary Consul to Nepal. With a specialization in planning, developing, operating, and marketing pro-poor sustainable tourism, Lisa has undertaken consultancy roles in Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lao PDR, Nepal, New Zealand, Malaysia (including Sabah and Sarawak), Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tibet, Vietnam, and throughout the countries of the South Pacific including Fiji, French Polynesia, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu. With over 30 years experience in the tourism sector, most of her international consultancy work is undertaken with Tourism Resource Consultants Ltd. (TRC) of Wellington, New Zealand. Lisa worked for 25 years with Tiger Tops Nepal and the Tiger Mountain group, one of Asia’s foremost nature and adventure tourism pioneers. Author and editor of several books including Kathmandu Valley Style, The Nepal Scene, Offerings from Nepal and South Asia titles of the Insight Guide series, Lisa also serves as a trustee on a number of social and conservation organizations.

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