The British Council has been organising Women of the World Festival in Nepal since 2017. The Festival is now in its fifth edition. Since 2018, the Festival editions have worked with artists to visually exhibit harmful practices affecting women/girls to raise awareness of key issues and their intersections with other socio-cultural barriers.
The United Nations in Nepal defines harmful practices as persistent behaviours that discriminate on the basis of sex, gender, age, caste/ethnicity, language, religion, and more. They leave women and people from excluded groups at risk of violence, poorer physical and psychological health, educational and economic outcomes, injury, and even death.
Over three editions (2018-2021), British Council has worked with two pairs of photojournalists and curators to produce exhibition and programming to further WOW objectives.
Uma Bista’s Our Songs from The Forest and Nabin Baral’s Witch Accusation and Persecution in Nepal are the primary outputs to date. Curators Nayantara Kakshapati, photo. Circle and UK-based Anna Colin have supported the two artists respectively.
The British Council intends to explore all the five recognised harmful practices through WOW in the coming editions. (Please see resources for literature on harmful practices in Nepal.) We are seeking for a Nepali visual artist(s) to collaborate with Brighton-based curator Beth Troakes in early 2022 to produce an exhibition on caste-based discrimination for the WOW Nepal.
Introduction of Opportunity
Nepal is home to over 120 ethnic communities each with distinct cultures/languages and social structures. This diversity is source of national pride – a unique characteristic for a country its size – but the intersections of caste and gender, coupled with the historic marginalisation of many minority and indigenous communities, is ripe with issues that require attention and action.
A majority Hindu population practices a mix of caste systems with strong geographic indicators. More recently, Nepal has taken legal and policy action to curb caste-based discrimination, however without wider public engagement, the systemic problems of caste-based discrimination and especially its disproportionate burden on women/girls cannot be effectively remedied.
Perception change will play a critical role in shifting values and amending behaviours sustainably. To support the agency of marginalised women/girls, the Women of the World Festival is committed to exploring all five harmful practices recognized by the United Nations in Nepal through UK and Nepal collaborations. The British Council is inviting a Nepal-based artist to collaborate with UK-based curator Beth Troakes to develop and deliver a presentation on the harmful practice of caste-based discrimination for its fifth edition.
About the Curator
Beth Troakes is freelance curator and gallery director based in Brighton, UK. She has curated exhibitions nationally and internationally and has worked with partners in Italy, South Korea and China.
In 2016, she established Gallery Lock In to host socially engaged exhibitions and curate work around her ongoing research into the social, psychological and physical boundaries of the body. Her other curatorial work includes ‘The Dissident’, working with artists from Shanghai and Brighton on themes of political and social dissidence; ‘Anti-Frieze’ that questioned the relationship between immortality and the ownership of art; ‘Traces’ in Seoul which used object-based artworks to resist the immateriality of the online world; as well as working with the China Pavilion at the Venice Biennale and an exhibition of Chinese video animation at Brighton’s CineCity.
Having spent time in Nepal, Beth has developed a passionate commitment to changing the lives of others through exposing harmful practices, displaying the work of marginalised voices, and giving a platform to those wishing to engage in these serious issues, as well as confronting those who don’t.
Beth not only sees this as an opportunity for the selected artist but for empowering women and girls across Nepal and will use WOW as a catalyst for change and ongoing collaborations.
We are seeking an emerging to mid-career visual artist(s) (including photojournalists and multi-disciplinary artists) to work with the appointed UK curator and the British Council Arts team. Candidates with lived experiences that connect with the chosen theme of gender and caste-based discrimination are preferred. Those from marginal backgrounds are highly encouraged to apply.
The selected artist will:
- Co-design and co-lead a virtual exchange with the appointed curator to develop an exhibition on caste-based discrimination and gender intersections for the fifth edition of Women of the World Festival. Exchange period covers the period of artistic production (January and February). Exchange needs to include weekly virtual meet-up to discuss progress and to share feedback. Final schedule of exchange needs to be recorded with the British Council via email. It will be the collective responsibility of the selected curator and artist to maintain their proposed schedule and meet deadlines.
- Present collaborative output through Women of the World Festival in March 2022. The curator shall help finalise the body of work to be presented with the artist. A minimum of 20 images (and captions) as main body of work is expected from this assignment. The call will prioritise production of new work, but will also consider existing works that are relevant to the focus area.
- Artist will be required to commit to at least 180 minutes of online public programming/press interviews in the lead up to/during and post WOW Festival. They will also need to work with WOW’s production team to support the exhibition design and fabrication.
The total commitment period for the artist is 4 months (January to April 2022) To support the delivery of their responsibilities, British Council in Nepal will issue a grant of NPR 250,000, covering artist fees and costs in process of making the work. Please read the FAQ for further details.
Additionally, British Council will cover costs of producing a physical showcase at Lumbini Park.
Note: Please refer to the documents in the download section for more details to apply.