The FinePrint Fever Festival also featured conversations around books, with Amar Neupane, Asim Sagar, and political conversations with the likes of Gagan Thapa, Rabindra Mishra. Actors Rajesh Hamal and Manisha Koirala were crowd pullers, with Koirala discussing Jijibisa, a translation of her book Healed, which maps her life’s journey as she batted and beat cancer.
The authors gave well-attended talks about their work and relevant life experiences. The event also provided space for conversation with Niranjan Kunwar of Between Queens and the Cities, fame, a frank discussion of LGBTQ+ experiences, a pressing but under-discussed current issue.
Unnati Cultural Village is a Chaudhary Foundation initiative, which has been captioned as ‘the prospect of the multi-ethnic, multi-linguistic and diverse geography of Nepal’. The venue is a resort-cum-art center, featuring low-hanging mango trees and meandering footpaths.
The design, inspired by Tharu architecture, motifs, and sketches, crafted by the expert hands of local Tharu artisans Nanu Maya Mahato, Khem Kumari Mahato, Sundar Kumari Chaudhary and Durga Mahato. Ceramicist, Gopal Kalapremi, also provided training to local artists under a community initiative at the centre.
The venue is also home to a Craft Museum and an artifact museum called Sampada Art Gallery, featuring contemporary Nepali artists, Rangmanch Amphitheatre, an open-air performance space and Atelier, artist studio spaces.
Anusuya Gurung, one of the curators of the craft museum describes the centre as an educational opportunity to showcase the historical evolution of Nepal through craft and artisans. The museum begins with mythological references, and the times when craft existed as utility for agriculture, weaponry and ritual.
It then moves into the medieval age, when craft transitions into art and architecture, with evidence of new materials like stone and metal. The third section shows modern and contemporary artifacts, and like the present time, is a ‘living work-in-progress’ with contemporary art pieces from pioneers in their artistry.