Ashmina Ranjit – kathmandu triennale

Artist Profile

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Artwork Description

Sacredness within and beyond, 2017

This artist can be easily considered as the founding person of performance in Kathmandu. On the occasion of the Triennale the artist will conduct different performances. The work in the Taragaon Museum has to do with a reflection on spirituality, an element which is recurrent in the work of the artist. The installation consists out of 2 major elements. On the one hand we have 5 speakers where different people (artists, the artist herself, anthropologists…) try to define what is the spiritual for them. All the voices together form a kind of archive of what spirituality can meen. The second part consists of a little figurine in textile (actually the portrait of the artist) and a picture showing the figure being taken by someone on the road to mount Kailash. This walk is a spiritual experience which some persons do undertake for religious reasons. The simplicity of the installation underlines the precision with which the artist tries to address a complex notion as spirituality.

Walking with Milk, 2017

In "Walking with Milk", Ranjit's second piece with four women from different cultures (Monali Meher, Marie Julia Bollansée, Ryan Elisabeth Reid, and Alice Fox) walked through Basantapur Durbar Square carrying bowls of milk. Alongside participants who joined in, they formed a wall of women and slowly progressed forward through the ancient, bustling cityscape with determined strength taking care not to spill the milk. They used their combined knowledge and respect for each other to silently navigate any obstacles or threats, and with their decision to care for the milk, they portrayed strength, vulnerability and love.

Biography

When Ashmina Ranjit was young she looked at the clouds.

She looked because she wanted to be free. Her nanny told her: stop looking at the clouds, women aren’t free like clouds, it will only make you sad.

No, Ashmina said. And she kept watching, searching, hoping for that freedom.

For years, because of this, Ashmina wanted to be a pilot, so she could be among the clouds. But because she was surrounded by artists in her family, she ended up at art school. To her surprise, she liked art. She became passionate about painting. She painted the subjects that interested her the most: women.

She mastered painting and drawing. The medium wasn’t enough to express in the context of what she was searching for. She desired to move forward and be truly herself, not like the masters of the past. She was not looking for the medium, she was looking for what would truly express her voice. And on that path she explored different mediums unawarely; installation, space, time, sound and video.

Then she added her body. When she first performed, she didn’t realize she was performing. But, there she was, within her work. Her art was activism: concerning her community, her life, her country and the world as a whole. Performances represented what was important to her: women, society, identity, environment and politics. And, within the social, political context of Nepal, her artivism allowed her to constantly redefine the notion of art, reposition the role of women and question human rights’ and the State.

Today, Ashmina is performing, she is leading workshops, and she is connecting community members by creating an environment for Nepali and international artists at her art hub LASANAA / NexUs. She is creating outside medium; sometimes it’s the sky she expresses in, sometimes the streets, sometimes the air.

And now, looking back, her desire to fly wasn’t physical. It was spiritual. She wanted to fly among the clouds because it is who she is and who she wants to be.