Courtesy of the artist
Arhant Shrestha was not allowed to see the city he called home. He spent his childhood dreaming about what might lay beyond the walls of his family compound, constructing a fantasy world that had its foundations in his own reality, but lay beyond the con fnes of his tangible environment. This series of images explores a parallel unfolding of the artist's changing relationship with Kathmandu, himself, and the people around him. Along with an imagined past, he examines the city as seen in the present: still full of wonder but also far more sharp and disorienting than the hazy images of his youth. It is also a re fection on the space that the women in his life occupied in his limited world, and how their dei fcation framed his childhood to a profound degree. He further considers his adolescent desire for femininity, and how an independent navigation of the world today as an adult has only led to an increasingly con ficted relationship with his own gender. He comments on the conditions of privilege that preceded his sheltered existence, and the material conditions that continue to guide the lens through which he sees this city. This work does not try to answer any questions, whether they may be personal conundrums of identity or broader issues of class. As a photographer, the focus at present is to simply document the journey – both physical and imaginary – thus far.