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Land Rights through the Lens of an Artist
Womenís land right, in law and in practice, is an essential step towards the empowerment of women. It is also critical in determining economic wellbeing and social status of women. In an effort to exchange ideas and raise awareness on this issue in a creative way, Lasanaa, in collaboration with NIDS, organized an art exhibition Kalalar ko aankhana bhumi (Land through the eyes of artist) in the NAFA Hall, Naxal, Kathmandu. A total of 26 artists and 2 poets were involved.

This project began with a 5-day introductory workshop in April-May 2009. It was followed by more workshops focused on discussion with experts on different aspects of the land issue, for example: political, social, cultural and philosophical. The exhibition was inaugurated on October 26, 2009 by His Excellency Thor Gislesen, the ambassador of Norway. Hon. Ghanendra Basnet, Chairperson of the High Level Land Commission and Hon. Radha Bhattarai, member of the High Level Land Commission, were also present at the exhibition. The first day of the exhibition was ended by speeches from His Excellency Thor Gislesen, Hon. Ghanendra Basnet and Mr. Ganesh Gurung of NIDS on the importance of womenís land rights as a step towards empowerment.

The exhibition will go on for 10 days and is open to the public. It showcased the work of artists and poets through the medium of paintings, performance, digital print, sculpture and installation. Some of the themes that were portrayed in the exhibition were the artistís association with land, dreams and thoughts on empty space (i.e. the land), the lack of physical space of a mother who creates a space for her child to makes sure itís safe, social, and cultural and gender inequalities and women as a metaphor of sacrifice.

It is hoped that this project will foster a different awareness of what land is all about and that it will prove instrumental in fostering a different kind of sensibility among opinion-makers and the public at large.

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