Similarly, a malaria prevention initiative projected images of mosquitoes on the wall to illustrate to villagers how the disease is transmitted. After the slideshow, the people were glad they would never be afflicted with malaria because “we don’t have such big mosquitoes here”.
Frei uses the anecdotes to critique his own work in Nepal, and how he found out how pictorial literacy is learnt. Later, he started using stylised depictions of everyday objects using the drawing techniques of local thangka painters as reference.
In Manang, architecture students Burtscher, Türtscher and Wulz had no common language to communicate with the Manang-pa with only a compass and tape measure drew the physical environment. Nearly 30 years later, they are valuable records of the ‘anonymous architecture’ of a Manang village before tourists and the road arrived.
Gutschow had to use all his powers of persuasion to get Burtscher to part with his drawings and bring them back to Nepal. Eventually, recognising how their work has developed a cultural significance, the trio agreed to surrender their drawings for safekeeping – admittedly keeping their favourites.
Klaus Kette worked on several survey missions in Mustang as an artist and his work is striking, allowing visitors to grasp the feeling of a place, recognition of a face, even if the lines that make the impressions are imprecise, gnarly whirls of movement. We journey through city streets, stop at landmarks, experience unknown interiors, survey remote landscapes, and come face to face with strangers.