Quota tussle stalls appointments in academies

Kathmandu, September 9:

The government had got the Nepal Fine Art Academy Act, 2007, passed in Parliament before the session was prorogued on August 24.

However, because of the squabbling over appointments, it appears that the chancellor and vice chancellor of the academy will be named only after the Constituent Assembly elections.

“The good news is we have the law. But here is bad news, too. Appointments in the academy are stalled following squabbling over quota,” said Madan Chitrakar, a senior artist and art writer, who was involved in drafting the new law.

He lamented that the artists — who were feeling pepped up — never thought that the members of the political establishment would extend the “culture of quota into the domain of the arts.”

“It is understandable when talking about areas where empowerment is the objective. But arts should have been treated differently,” Chitrakar added, pointing out how the ruling coalition has ended up “politicising the arts and the nascent academy.”

The possibility of the government making appointments now is getting remote before the Election Commission (EC) enforces the mandatory code of conduct. The enforcement of the code of conduct is overdue, but has been put on hold following a request by the government.

Till the appointments are made, the aspirations of the artists to be part of the

independent academy, “will remain bottled up.”

“The immediate agenda (of the academy) would be ordering research into various aspects

of Nepalese arts (which is not done). We have a lot to do before we can think of competing with rivals in South Asia,” Chitrakar said.

Next, of course, is to create a “benchmark for future generation after documenting all that need to be documented.”

“The law in place is a milestone and is expected to open the world to Nepali artists,” he said.

After the passing of the legislation on August 24, what used to be the Royal Nepal Academy was hived off into Nepal Fine Arts Academy, Music and Drama Academy and Nepal Academy, putting an end to years of “dominance of literature over everything else.”