#038 - Andrea Wan
#038 - Andrea Wan
Destination: Kathmandu, Nepal
Date: 05 October - 07 November, 2017
About the print:
Dimensions: ± 50 x 70 cm
Colours: 4 colour silkscreen print
Edition: 50 prints, signed and numbered by the artist
(frame not included)
A little word by Andrea Wan
“I was really excited to go on a month long trip and really take the time to experience a place. What inspired me to go to Nepal was the autobiography of Marina Abramović in which she wrote about her experiences at a Tibetan Buddhist retreat in the Himalayas, working with the monks, and other adventures such as spending a year living in the Australian Desert with indigenous people and meeting numerous shamans. Her stories inspired me to go on an adventure again on my own. I was captured by the pictures I saw of the Himalayan mountain range and the beautiful decors in the monasteries. I had set an intention to stay open to new experiences as the trip unfolds.
On the first part of my trip, I stayed at a Monastery, where I had the opportunity to learn about the Tibetan Buddhist view on Death. It is believed that Death is a crucial phase in one life's journey and not the end. When the physical body is being let go of, the consciousness continues on to enter the Bardo state for 49 days - a transitional phase where one's mind is given the opportunity to acknowledge the visual projections of its own and fully come back into the essential being before it takes on a new life. Feeling a little foreign to the whole concept of reincarnation, we were asked to meditate on the topic while being guided on a journey through the different phases after death. This is something that the monks would practice regularly in order to familiarize themselves with the process when the time comes. In the west, the topic of Death is somewhat a taboo, something that's rarely discussed. After my stay in the monastery, I visited the Hindu Pashupatinath temple in the middle of the city, where I saw bodies being cremated in the open. It was surprising to see how accessible to the public it is, compared to the intimate setting we are accustomed to in the west. During the cremation, the smoke travels up to the sky and the ashes go into the river. The scenery was surprisingly serene and holy. This reflects an acceptance of death as a natural process.
I spent a good deal of time hanging out with locals, listening to their stories as well as sharing my own. Despite the living conditions there, people seemed to have little complaints. Those I met were constantly expressing their gratitude for what they have. The drivers were helping one another to find the most efficient way out of the traffic on damaged pavement without any traffic lights. The 70-year-old street musician told me when he can't make enough money for food he would go to the restaurants and he would be given a meal. When he made some money on the following days he would give back. The teenage porters on the Himalayas, who can hop their way up and down the mountain effortlessly, kept an eye on me and gave me a hand when I needed. The taxi driver paid the homeless person who asked me for change when I wasn't quick enough to reach my wallet. On my last day there a man told me that his house got destroyed by the earthquake a couple years ago and he is still waiting for it to get rebuilt, but he ended his story with genuine laughter. It's amazing to experience a community where everyone treats each other as equals and see giving and receiving as the norm. Regardless of religious beliefs, these virtues are deeply integrated into the culture. Being in such an environment makes me feel safe and nurtured.
For my print I was inspired by the aesthetics of the beautiful hand-painted murals inside the monasteries, as well as layers of thoughts and experiences that cannot be articulated but only felt. This trip has opened up new perspectives for me on how one can experience the world beyond its many forms of expressions.”