Dina Bangdel – kathmandu triennale

Curator's Profile

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Dina Bangdel

Curator Statement

This curatorial project responds to the theme of the first Kathmandu Triennale “Curated Showcase” on CITY and the urban landscape. My longstanding interest in the built heritage and the dynamics of the urban landscape and the agency of the community have been central to my research, and has in this project combined both the curatorial intent within a strong research-­‐based intervention. Notion that the city can be seen as an instigator and catalyst for creative narratives is at the core of this interdisciplinary focus. The experience is mediated through the voices/lenses of the diaspora Nepalis living in Doha to explore these spaces of liminality within the city. How do these communities express narratives of home, belonging, and self within the city? How do artistic expression/entanglements serve to ‘create communities’ within the urban fabric? Artists will then create a body of work that will respond to these transcultural intersections, the lived histories and memories, and narratives of Doha’s past histories.

The practices of the six artists that I have selected for this collaborative project complement the exploration of two cities: Doha and Kathmandu, with the notion of city serving as the catalyst for dialogue. The city of Doha has historically been a rich palimpsest of cultures—particularly those of South Asia—and the focus of this research-­‐based curatorial project will be on the ways in which artists experiences and identities will touch upon multivalent narratives, storytelling, and orality.

Qatar/Doha plays a critical part in this narrative of nation-­‐building for both Qatar and Nepal. Qatar has the highest number of Nepali migrant workers, approximately 500,000 who have made Doha their ‘home’. This project therefore seeks to find the narratives of belonging, memory and self within a palimpsest of narratives—centered around the city and its unbuilt or rebuilt spaces. By bringing together Nepali artists and Doha-­‐based artists in dialogue with the local communities with the city as catalyst, the aims are to examine the layers of narratives that emerge within the lived space.

Biography

Dr. Dina Bangdel is the Director of Art History at Virginia Commonwealth University in Doha, Qatar. A historian of South Asian and Himalayan art, with secondary areas of interest relating to issues of gender and identity in South Asian contemporary art and film, her interests are in the early modern period focus on the ritual and ideological functions of Buddhist art in South Asia, including theories of ritual performance and politics of identity.

She has curated major international exhibitions, including Circle of Bliss: Buddhist Meditational Art (2003, finalist for the Alfred Barr Award for best exhibition catalogue) at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Pilgrimage and Faith: Buddhism, Christianity and Islam (2010) at the Rubin Museum, New York, Prakriti Speaks: Contemporary Nepali Art (2011) in Mumbai, and Jewels of Newar Art (2011), Kathmandu. Most recently, she curated the Nepal Platform edition, Metamorphosis, at the India Art Fair in 2016.

Dr. Bangdel teaches courses on the art and architecture of South Asia, visual cultures of Tibet and Nepal, contemporary arts of South Asia, and South Asian film. She is also the Associate Professor and Director of the Art History program at Virginia Commonwealth University-Qatar.

Association

Virginia Commonwealth University – Qatar (VCUQatar or VCUQ) is Virginia Commonwealth University’s Qatari branch of its School of the Arts. The main campus is located in Richmond, Virginia. VCUQ is located at Education City in Doha, Qatar.

VCUQ is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art & Design, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and the Council for Interior Design Accreditation.

VCUQatar’s stated mission is to “cultivate a dynamic intercultural environment of diverse research, learning and community engagement that propels the holistic development of exemplary artists, designers, and scholars to build vibrant communities and diversified economies.

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