Kathmandu Triennale 2017 opening ceremony took place on the 24th March at Hyatt Regency’s Ballroom at around 9:30 AM. The ceremony began with a short film by Kishor Kayastha – Shifting Valley, who claimed that the film was a “response to the consequence of the earthquake as an artist.” The film Shifting Valley brought home the horrors of the earthquake, that turned the once bustling and energetic Kathmandu, to a ghost of a city with destruction in almost every place. His use of colors itself told the whole story of Kathmandu and aftermath of the earthquake. It would be correct to say that many in the room were taken back to that time and relived all their memories good and bad. And many were still talking about it during the other parts of the ceremony.
The opening speech of the ceremony was given by Sangeeta Thapa, the chair of the Kathmandu Triennale and the founder/ director of the Siddhartha Art Gallery. During this speech, she introduced Kathmandu Triennale and explained to the audience how this event has helped put Nepali art in the global art scene. She further stated that the Triennle “is dedicated to the memory of our people who lost their lives in the earthquakes. It is also a cultural assertion that art must go on, that life must go on.” She also thanked the patrons, sponsors, supporters, and the outreach partners of the Triennale. Sangeeta Thapa’s speech was followed by a speech by Philippe Van Cauteren, Director of S.M.A.K Museum in Ghent and the curator of the Triennale, who officially announced the opening of the Kathmandu Triennale. Philippe Van Cauteren, mentioned that “art is a necessity” and “one of the core elements and core points of the city”. This concept can be clearly seen in this Triennale, as the Triennale is dedicated to the City, and since the international artists had to create their work in response to their experience of Kathmandu.
During the opening ceremony Philippe Van Cauteren recognized Birendra Pratap Singh for this contributions and Sangeeta Thapa honored the Triennale’s patron artist Francis Alys. All the involved national and international artists were also honored with a Khada shawl by the Ambassador of the European Union Rensje Tserink, while Nischal Oli the director of the Triennale thanked them. This was followed by the lamp lighting ceremony by the Ambassador of the European Union Renjse Tserink and Mr. and Mrs. Sharaf.
The guests were then lead outside to the sunny Rox garden where they could enjoy the High Tea while watching Ashmina Ranjit’s untitled performance piece. This was followed by a short performance by Prithvi Shrestha, then a short introduction of the Taragaon Museum by Philippe Van Cauteren after which the guests could roam around the museum and discover the artworks on display. Then the guests were taken to Nepal Art Council where Philippe Van Cauteren introduced the artworks in NAC, after which the guests could also walk through the venue uncover the gems found there. A performance by Marie Julia Bollanse and another by Pinky (Mabubur Rahman’s project) was followed by Song Dong’s Eating the Mandala City. After which everyone when to Basantapur where they were given a city tour by Alok Siddhi Tuladhar in collaboration with Kathmandu Metropolitan City . This eventfully day ended with a traditional concert including bands like Shruti and the band and Night that was followed by a traditional bhoj for the artists, reporters, guests and volunteers at Itumbahal.
The opening ceremony was honored by guests such as Ambassador of the European Union Rensje Tserink, the Ambassador of Bangladesh, Chancellor of the Nepal Academy Ragini Upadhya, Mr and Mrs Sharaf, Uttam Nepali, Kishor and Mira Kayastha ,the members of the Art Bahrain Magazine as well as the patrons of the arts, artists, sponsors and the members of the national and international media.