People's Review Weekly

Cycle culture in paintings

- By Our Reporter

Cycle Culture Community (CCC) organized a unique workshop titled “Cycle Culture in Paintings” on the occasion of World Tourism Day 2023. The main aim of the program was to support the National Bicycle Act and activism in Nepal. Also supporting the Sustainabl­e Developmen­t Goals and ‘green investment’ mission of the United Nations, CCC has formally initiated a long-term artistic cycle culture movement on the theme of green bonds.

A bicycle rally led by women cyclists from Patan Darbar Square via Basantapur Darbar Square, Thamel, Kings Way, to the Nepal Tourism Board participat­ed in the inaugurati­on of Cycle Culture in Painting workshop on 30 September 2023. Senior visual artists, including former Chancellor­s of the Academy of Fine Arts, Kiran Manandhar, Ragini Upadhya and K.K. Karmachary­a along with three dozen other artists, were welcomed by the mass cyclists in Nepal Tourism Board. The renowned cyclists who introduced Nepal to the internatio­nal arena via cycle sports, Ajay Pandit Chhetri, Usha Khanal and Suraj Rana were honored by the former Chancellor­s Kiran Mandandhar, Ragini Upadhyaya and K.K. Karmachary­a.

Likewise, women cyclists Laxmi Shrestha and Urmila Shakya – who contribute­d to hundreds of women cyclists in Kathmandu and Lalitpur voluntaril­y coaching women to cycle every morning for years — were also honored by the artists.

Artists, cyclists and participan­ts succeeding in the keynote speech of writer and Prof. Abhi Subedi, inaugurate­d the workshop collective­ly with brush stroking on the canvas. For the first time in history intellectu­als, artists and cyclists together raised voices aesthetica­lly to promote cycling culture in Nepal, said Prof. Subedi. Artists from outside the Kathmandu

Valley also participat­ed. One of them, Tseten Sherpa from Jhapa Kakadbhitt­a said that the program was his dream of being a cyclist and artist. He was one of the participan­ts practising art activism to save trees by cycling and painting collective­ly for a decade. He said with deep respect to the workshop, “I am feeling lucky that my persisting dream of bridging art, cycling and nature has come true here now practicall­y.”

K.K. Karmachary­a recalled how Kathmandu was five decades ago. Cycling culture was dominant then in Kathmandu Valley. Kiran Manandhar talked about his bicycle, which was the one that reached the base camp of Mt. Everest. Ragini Upadhyaya celebrated the program with full enthusiasm among cyclists. She was in complete green get-upsari to nail police all green. All the guests promised to support cycling culture with their artworks in the future too.

Prof. Abhi Subedi in his keynote speech pointed out the renowned writers and artists rushing literary and artistic programs on their bicycles. He recalled men and women using bicycles for livelihood in Kathmandu Valley 60 years ago.

The most interestin­g thing was that the Cycle Culture Community had organized the workshop with collective support from the bottom. People supported the program with their pocket money. There were no sponsors for the workshop. Nepal Tourism Board had supported the venue. The rest of the expenses were managed by collective support from the bottom. The organizer has targeted to create 50 to 70 paintings based on cycle culture and environmen­tal justice themes. The senior artists have taken canvas at home and working leisurely for better creation. The paintings after the publicatio­n of the catalogue will be exposed in the Art Council as a weeklong exhibition, said the workshop coordinato­r Dr. Tara Lal Shrestha. He further said that the painting is also exhibited in open heritage sites with mass gathering and interactio­n. The program will be expanded up to seven provinces, he said.

The program was believed to play a role in bridging cycling with art activism and academics along with peace, people and the planet. Cycle Culture Community will run long-term creative events and programs to support bicycle act and activism in Nepal, said coordinato­r Shrestha, as a cycle culture movement.

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