Free your mind


No other venue would have been more apt for the Khulla Dhoka (Open Door), an exhibition of doors painted by children and artists, than the Dhokaima at Patan Dhoka.

The exhibition of around 50 painted doors was inaugurated on May 5 by EU chargé d’affaires, E Lechuga Jimenez.

“The month of May is the month of Europe because May 9 is Europe Day. This is the first time the European Commission has been involved in a cultural programme, but I promise you that it is not going to be the last one. The European Commission is involved in the political, economic and development approaches in Nepal. We have realised that the cultural approach is equally important,” said Jimenez.

Among the other sponsors were the Asian Paints that had provided the paints needed for the workshop, and Bhatbhateni Supermarket that had provided all the doors needed.

The doors were painted during three different workshops organised at National Association of Fine Arts, Siddhartha Art Gallery and at the Department of Kathmandu University of Fine Art under a special community art project that started in January. A project of a similar kind had been conducted in Belgium in October 2004 under the initiative of EU in order to create dialogue between Palestinian and Israeli children. Taking the concept, Jonathan Edou,

a student at the Lincoln School, Kathmandu and Sangeeta Thapa, curator of

the Siddhartha Art Gallery coordinated to carry out a similar project in Nepal.

For this they adapted the concept into 108 doors for its religious and other symbolism in the Nepali context.

Edou said, “I have taken this project as an icon, an opportunity to give back to Nepal for everything it has done for me in the past 17 years.”

The exhibition showcases 10 doors created during the workshop conducted at Siddhartha Art Gallery and about 47 doors done by children from various schools and organisations. The children also sang a number of songs at the inaugural function.

One door invites you to walk through it to a lush green meadow with mountains in the background and clouds sailing in the clean blue skies. The other door takes one to another place — a village in Janakpur, while the door painted by single women’s group shows the disparity between a widow (whose life is in a dark world) and married woman (in the light).

The exhibition is open to all on May 6 from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm at Dhokaima. It will move to NAFA on May 15 and the book, Khulla Dhoka, will be launched then. The proceeds from the sale of the painted doors will go towards the welfare of the children.