PhotoKTM 4 – Update

Dear friends,

I hope we find you in good health and spirit in the new world order!

We have been so inspired to see communities everywhere digging deep into their resolves, despite the many crises this year, to find ways to survive, respond and continue to nurture purpose. As you know, PhotoKTM was born at a time of deep crisis in 2015, when the ground literally shifted under our feet and we lost 9,000 lives across the country to a swift and shattering earthquake. That year taught us how to summon up dogged grit, and we have found ourselves drawing from those lessons again this year. We have known from experience that the festival can be a time and place for us to gather, share, learn and find hope together. We could all use some of that balm this year. So the next edition of PhotoKTM is still on!

The festival will of course be completely recalibrated. We will not be inviting you to get on a plane and come to Kathmandu this year – we will be sending you Zoom links instead. Let’s pretend for now that we are a climate-friendly festival 🙂 Kathmandu will be here, and we will look forward to welcoming you in the years to come. We will also not be installing too many exhibitions on walls this year. We will be sending home DIY paste-up packets instead. And we will shift to online speed-dating, virtual bhatti-gatherings and Zoom programming until we can safely meet in person.

We wish to share with you some strategic decisions as we shape-shift and navigate our new social, political and economic realities, that include rethinking the following:

TIME: What is time? This question feels like the theme song for 2020, no? For this fourth edition of PhotoKTM, we are breaking out of our 5-week festival format and shifting to a year-long calendar. The festival is part of a larger continuum of image-making, research and civic engagements for us at photo.circle and Nepal Picture Library. We have always asked ourselves – what might be possible if we were to take the resources and energy we commit to a 5-week festival, and stretch it out over a longer period? Would we be able to foster deeper, less frenzied connections and dialogue? This feels like a good time to shift gears and find out. We are excited about the new possibilities this slow-dancing will open up. Therefore, new festival dates are 3 December 2020 – 2 December 2021.

PLACE: The festival has thus far existed as an ephemeral platform that pops up every two years and then dissipates into the city. This year, we are trying to find a more permanent home for PhotoKTM in Patan. In 2021, when it is safer for us to gather physically, this space will host small exhibitions, workshops, public programming and serve as an anchor for a range of engagements that the festival will initiate in partnership with local community organizations. If all goes well, this might even be the birth of a small interdisciplinary community arts center. PhotoKTM is rooted in this community. We are excited to see the tenor of our local engagements shift and deepen with this more permanent physical presence in the city.

Stay tuned for updates for the opening week from 3-9 December 2020. And more announcements coming soon as we slow-dance our way forward 🙂

Stay safe and stay well friends,

NayanTara Gurung Kakshapati
Co-Founder and Festival Director
On behalf of Team PhotoKTM