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A People War

An interactive visual archive of the Nepal Conflict (1996-2006) and its aftermath, organized in response to a public call for photographs

Values


Organizing Institutions

Madan Puraskar Trust

Contributing Institutions

Slought, Pentagram

Organizers

Kunda Dixit

Contributors

Milap Dixit, Aaron Levy

Acknowledgments

Students in the Spring 2014 Spiegel Seminar at the University of Pennsylvania, Natasha Jen, Belinda Chen

Process initiated

05/29/2013

Opens to public

05/01/2014

On the web

http://apeoplewar.net [Forthcoming]

Economy

0% Formal - 100% Informal

More than 16,000 people were killed in the Nepal conflict 1996-2006. Nearly 2,000 people were disappeared, tens of thousands were wounded and hundreds of thousands of Nepalis were displaced. As in most modern wars, it was the civilians who suffered the most.

In February 2006, when Kunda Dixit and collaborators began working on the project A People War, Nepal's future looked bleak. The war was killing an average of 40 Nepalis a week, an uncompromising autocrat-king was in power in Kathmandu, and it looked as though the country would sink into full-scale civil war. Journalists were satisfied with counting bodies, with being the chroniclers of carnage.

This project recognizes the importance of covering not a conflict, but the people caught up in it. In response to a public call for photographs, a small but representative sample of photographs were collected. They became the basis for A People War, a traveling photo exhibition and tour, which visited 32 venues across Nepal over three months in 2007-8. Some 350,000 people came to see the photographs and filled guest books with comments, testimonies, poems and their own experiences. It was as if Nepalis had been made one in their grieving memory. In every corner of Nepal, the message was the same: "Never again." This project honors the overwhelming desire of the Nepali people for peace and justice. Each photograph functions as a visual metaphor of this country and its future.

Nepal's conflict may be just taking a break, we may see a return to war. There may be untold misery ahead, there may be much more of the kind of horrific sights we see in this project. Or, perhaps we are really on our way to resolving not just this war, but future crises by addressing the social injustices that make people take up the gun. We hope that the interactive visual archive we are developing will further help the cause of non-violence. Let's close this cruel chapter in our history and open a new one that will bring peace, prosperity and justice to all Nepalis, and greater understanding of the conflict to international communities.

Frames of War (Video, 40 min)

A documentary by Prem BK and Kesang Tseten that profiles the civilian victims of Nepal's Maoist conflict and A People War.


Workshops

Learn about our series of workshops