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Street Art in Nepal, Pt. 1: Art as a Tool for Social Change
Episode 20714th February 2023 • Not Real Art • Crewest Studio
00:00:00 00:43:44

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Late in 2022 street artist extraordinaire Man One traveled to Nepal to participate in a cultural exchange program designed to celebrate the voices of Nepali minorities. Over a two week period, the California-based muralist—who also serves as co-founder of NOT REAL ART parent company, Crewest Studio—collaborated with Nepali artists on a unique public mural project promoting diversity, inclusion, and equality. 

In today’s podcast episode, NOT REAL ART founder and host Scott “Sourdough” Power discusses the Nepal Street Art Project through a series of man-on-the-street interviews. Scott chats with those intimately involved in the project, including Man One and Project Coordinator Sarah Knight, who calls the venture “a people-to-people exchange through the arts that is particularly [focused] on the topic of social inclusion and diversity.”

Combining research, cross-cultural exchange, and public workshops, the project’s main objective is to establish critical public discourse on key issues surrounding inclusion and equity. Powered by the creative potential of street art to inspire social change, the project showcases and celebrates socially excluded communities in the region with curatorial projects in Janakpur and Kathmandu. The final outcome is “The Wall of Unity,” collaborative mural designed by Nepali artists from diverse ethnic, geographic, and creative backgrounds. Organized by Kathmandu-based contemporary art collective Artudio in collaboration with the US Embassy in Nepal, the project featured the incredible talents of Khem Bahadur Palpali, Kiran Maharjan, Sudeep Balla, Manisha Shah, and Man One.

“There’s not a lot of data that we can show to say, ‘Look how successful this program was,’ says Project Coordinator Sarah Knight, who serves as the cultural affairs officer for the US Embassy in Nepal. “But when you’re here, when you’re seeing people interact and change their minds about [street art] and start important dialogues, you see the value happen. No matter how the art turns out, I’d say that it has been a very successful program.” 

Tune in today’s episode to hear more about the power of street art in the fight for social change. 

In Today’s Episode

Scott “Sourdough” Power discusses…

  • Project Coordinator Sarah Knight’s crucial contribution to the exchange program
  • Why the US Embassy and Artudio chose to work in Janakpur and Kathmandu for this project
  • How Man One worked with a local Nepali school to teach the students about graffiti 
  • Modern Mithila painting, a traditional style of art practiced in India and Nepal
  • How Nepali artists honor tradition while making space for contemporary expression
  • The significance of the location where the “Wall of Unity” appears, near Nepal’s Parliament
  • The one word that summarizes the message of this mural: “ekata” (unity)
  • The varied ways this project challenges conventional ideas about art in Nepal

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