Gustave Le Bon is considered to be the first Frenchman to visit Nepal. His book ‘Voyage au Népal’ published in 1886, provides a general overview of the country. Ranging from its geography, geology, flora and fauna, economy, inhabitants and their customs, history as well as the government. He described how a large crowd had gathered in the streets of Kathmandu to witness the arrival of a ‘foreigner’, visitors were a rare sight in those days. He applauded the Nepali art and architecture of the Kathmandu valley.
Nepal has attracted a great number of adventure seekers and nature lovers ever since the destination was opened for international travelers in 1955 AD. Little did they know that Kathmandu valley also offered an incredible experience as the valley was a living museum of arts and architecture.
Since Nepal has reopened for fully vaccinated travelers, it is indeed the best time to explore the possibility of promoting Nepal as a Destination for Arts.
Interestingly the effort began much earlier through various events to promote traditional and contemporary Nepali artists. Kathmandu-triennale-2017 attracted many Art Stars to trek to Nepal promoting regional solidarity.
While Nepali tourism was going through an unprecedented crisis of Covid-19, the iconic Kathmandu Guest House in Thamel came up with ‘The Museum of Nepali Art ( MoNA) with the aims of promoting Nepal as an art destination. Rajan Sakya, the Founder of MoNA, came up with the idea of transforming Thamel’s rapidly expanding west end, known as Saat Ghumti, into an area focused on contemporary art and culture. The Art Street, when established, will be the first attempt at promoting and dedicating a specific area into an intellectual, cultural and artistic district in Nepal. MoNA recently paid tribute to legendary artist, Lain Singh Bangdel who was instrumental in promoting contemporary arts and bringing back the sculptures that were stolen or illegally smuggled out of the country.
MoNA hosted the event “Art for Hope” on the 7th October, 2021 where 33 Nepali artists come together for a day-long “live art congregation”. The proceeds from the sale went to support children fighting cancer at the oncology ward at Kanti Children’s Hospital.
In the 1880s, Gustav Le Bon discovered the beauty of Nepali artwork and now, 135 years later Nepal boasts the same beauty and creativity as it did then if not more. See through Gustav’s eyes and explore every aspect of art, culture and tradition that Nepal enriches in every single year on your next trip. The art and the artists await you.