Nima Gyamcho Lama
Nepal Academy of Fine Arts, Council Member

I am Nima Gyamcho Lama, the current Head of Traditional Arts at the Nepal Academy of Fine Arts.

In 2015, the British Council invited me and two of my colleagues to represent Nepalese art at the Alchemy Festival in London. It was a big project at the Southbank Centre, London. The project was organized, along with other activities happening simultaneously in Nepal and Britain, to celebrate the 200th year of the relationship between Nepal and Britain.

We reached London on the 14 of May 2015. Our first order of business was attending a dinner with the Nepali Ambassador to Britain, Surya Bahadur Thapa, the Country Director, Heads of the festival organizing team and other Nepali artists. The dinner was organized to mark the year-long celebration of the bilateral relationships between the two countries. To mark the significance of the occasion and to celebrate it, we created a special 20x20 ft mandala.

At the Alchemy Festival, we created seventeen different mandalas all around Southbank Centre. Among them were the Pancha Buddha Mandala, Laxmi Mandala and Asta-Mangala Mandala. The festival attracted a large number of people, among them the sizeable Nepalese diaspora in England. The audiences really liked our mandalas and showed us a great deal of appreciation. As part of the festival, we also conducted workshops for school children, including differently abled children. In these workshops, we not only gave them a crash course on mandala-making but held discussion sessions as well. During the latter, the children were curious to know more about Lord Buddha and the Mount Everest among other things. On the last day, we made a collective mandala in the Main Hall. The hall was full of people, some of whom were helping us and others designing their own mandalas. That was a fulfilling day for me.

The Alchemy Festival was a resounding success because we all worked together as a team. This, I believe, has helped further strengthen the friendship between Nepal and Britain. Nepal Art Academy selected us to represent our country, and the British Council gave us that opportunity.