Looking around from your wooden chair leaning over a glass table, the whole ambience starts intriguing you. The chair is not a regular chair you get in the market and the table is made of window pane. Across that table, there are few gleaming mosaic tables. Then, there is another table — made of glass and vintage junk motorcycle, you can see a sofa set made of bicycle parts among others. All these things together create an artistic atmosphere. And this is a glimpse of NexUs Culture Nepal, a hub of artists.
Located at Bakhundole, art oozes out from every corner in this place. On your left is an eye catching cream coloured wall decorated with glasses, a big wheel and more. Past the wall is a café with a big beautiful painting of Kathmandu Valley. Other rooms and corridors of the two-and-a-half-storey building have an artistic touch.
“It is a cultural hub where creative minds come together and get inspired by each other. It is a common platform where these people can feel that there is a place for ‘me’,” shares visual artist Ashmina Ranjit, one of the artists behind the venue’s establishment.
NexUs was conceptualised few years ago for the Nepali art community while it started taking shape in November 2014. Following the idea of artivism and collaboration, NexUs was envisioned and designed “to stand out from the rest of the cafes”.
Work started in February 2015 and with the contribution of Nepali artists’ community and their friends, NexUs has come into operation. Sustainability — economically and environmentally — is its another feature. They want to help sustain the artists’ community by the profit earned from “running this place by conducting different artistic programmes” as per Ranjit. They are also running NexUs Cafe for the same purpose.
“And environment is the key, we want to take the concept of reduce, recycle and reuse forward,” Ranjit divulges. Buying junks and collecting materials like wood or discarded furniture from other people’s houses and reusing them, they have designed and created the walls, chairs, and windows collaborating with welders and carpenters. They are reusing jam bottles as drinking glasses too. They even have got handmade dinnerware of ceramics made by the students of Kathmandu University.
“It is a collaborative effort. The building was unmanaged but spacious. We wanted to create something from whatever we saw around us,” artist Prakash Ranjit expresses how they were able to create NexUs.
Artist Sagar Manandhar — one of the major contributors for the hub, feels “NexUs is a hub where we can do our work freely”. And being a part of it was “challenging as well as fun”.
He shares, “We are artistes and we create. We don’t have idea about management. Taking care of monetary and managerial things and meeting people during the process was challenging yet fun. Working with artists and people from non-artistic background opened to more possibilities in the work.”
The furniture are creative and have significance. The bicycle sofas for instance were gifted by artist Sujan Dangol. The chairs and woods were used by legendary artist Lain Singh Bangdel, chair and sofa from another legend Shashi Shah’s house have been used to create chairs and table. To this Ashmina asserts, “In a way we are conserving history.”
Making a complete art space, library, studio and residency for international artists are other features of this place. Workshops and talk programmes also take place here.
A version of this article appears in print on January 15, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.