Sanjeev Maharjan

Sanjeev Maharjan

This work is a documentation of my ancestor’s seeds which carry our memories and history. For me, it is like finding a treasure. I found these seeds in my 92 year-old grandfather’s homes stored in plastic bags.

For the past five years, I have been exploring notions of identity, histories, memory and nostalgia. I am interested in my family’s relationship with the land. I was born and raised in a family of Newar farmers or Jyapus in Kathmandu. Jyapus are believed to be among the first settlers and indigenous inhabitants of Kathmandu Valley.

Even though my family is no longer actively farming, my family still preserves the seeds, grain and agricultural tools that they used for generations. These objects hold a strong sense of personal and collective heritage. My grandfather is known as a seed bank within the farmer community.

Within my lifetime, Kathmandu has changed rapidly. Sadly, our farmlands have turned into a concrete jungle. The dying out of agriculture will possibly also mark the end of many rituals and cultural traditions of my community.
I started my project by documenting the tangible and intangible heritage of my ancestors as they slowly vanish from our thoughts and practices. I have begun to record my grandfather’s oral history. As an artist, I feel this is the best way I can pay homage to my ancestors.

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