Subash Thebe Limbu considers his works to be science fction through an Indigenous lens, rooted in the language, script, songs, and symbols of the Yakthung (Limbu) peoples. In Ningwasum, he explores Adivasi Futurism, a concept he has developed over a number of years, inspired by the writings of Octavia Butler, Afrofuturism, Indigenous Futurism, and various Adivasi, Janajati, feminist, queer, and Dalit movements. It features an Indigenous, astronaut time traveller from the future, whose Indigenous nation not only co-exists with other nations and allies but also contains advanced technology that would appear magical to those from the present.
Filmed mostly in the Himalayas, including the Wasanglung region in Eastern Nepal, which is believed to be the shamanic home of the Yakthung, Ningwasum weaves oral narratives, animations, language, storytelling, soundscapes, and electronic music. It explores the notions of time, space, and memory and how realities could difer from community to community, person to person. The mothership featured in the flm is based on a Silam Sakma, a ritual object commonly used and unanimously accepted as a symbol of identity among the Yakthung community of Nepal.
Adivasi Futurism in Limbu’s work is a portal that reorients and redefnes progress, delinks conceptualizations of nation states, and reimagines Indigenous peoples as the creators of interplanetary and interstellar civilisations of the future.
The artist’s research is made possible with support from the Prince Claus Fund and QAGOMA APT10