I belong to the indigenous Tamsaling community, much of whose history is based on oral narrative traditions which are not well documented. The Tamsaling community makes up 5 per cent of Nepal’s population, but most of the community is underprivileged, discriminated against and politically excluded.
To understand my own present condition and that of my community, I seek to understand the history and development of culture and the social fabric of my community. My works are based on photographs taken by Volkmar Wentzel in 1949. The photographs capture a moment in history when a Mercedes car was hand carried by a group of men on the rocky, hilly trail from Bhimphedi to Kathmandu. Surrounded by the hills of the Kathmandu Valley, the capital of Nepal, was the only city with modern roads.
I want to look at this photograph through Tamang people’s perspectives as most of the people carrying the car belong to the Tamang community. I think this photograph is evidence of the dark side of that time. How the ruling class and the elite people who imported the cars were not interested in the development of the country, but focused only on fulfilling their own desires for luxury.
And from generation to generation, communities like the Tamsaling have had to pay the price for this luxury. The impact of this history can be seen to this date. This artwork, “The Study of History” is an attempt to understand, rediscover, and reinterpret my community’s history.