“I realised that the definition of art had to be expanded, it cannot just be a canvas or an installation, art is not just a craft, it has to be something that provokes the viewer into action,” he explains.
As Kathmandu’s air pollution got worse, Rai donned a military issue gas mask and stood in the middle of traffic on the city’s main intersections, broom in hand. He visited municipality offices wearing that mask, using social media to expose government inaction.
That brought Rai face-to-face with official apathy and neglect at the root of Kathmandu’s sorry state. By now he was familiar with the ins and outs of the municipalities, and set up the non-proft Vriksha Foundation for his activism.
He tried to work with Kathmandu’s mayor to rescue the Tin Kune triangle, only to find that it was not just the government that could thwart action, but also the local community.