In 2017, Nepal and China signed a framework agreement for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). BRI is a strategy set forth by China in 2013 to expand its in fuence by building a network of economic corridors around the globe. BRI projects in Nepal include the Kathmandu-Kerung Railway, the Galchhi-Rasuwagadhi-Kerung 400 kilovolt transmission line, the 762 megawatt Tamor hydroelectric dam, and the 426 megawatt Phukot Karnali run-of-theriver hydropower project.
This work is composed of three vertical paintings that question the possibility of these projects and what they can bring to Nepal and take away from it. The outcome of a collaboration between Turkish artist Köken Ergun and Nepali artist Tashi Lama, this triptych of paintings is inspired by traditional thangka paintings. The painting on the left is the artists’ impression of the Kathmandu-Kerung Railway project, while the painting on the right predicts how Nepal might export electricity to the greater region of South and Southeast Asia. The environmental and human consequences in relation to the construction of these projects are portrayed in the details of both paintings. A third painting – the middle of the triptych – simply states the words NEPALI POWER, an interplay of propaganda rhetoric and an intimate question: Will it happen or not?
Commissioned for Kathmandu Triennale 2077. The artist’s participation is made possible with support from SAHA Association and IFA.