An outcome exhibition of KIAR-2021, September
28th & 29th September 2021
at The Taragaon Museum, Boudha, Kathmandu
Infinite or unending time.
A state to which time has no application; timelessness.
The encounter between time and eternity.
In a time where we must protect ourselves from COVID-19 with masks, Nepal and the surrounding areas have traditions of mask wearing from its inception. What are we celebrating? What are we becoming? What do we hope to protect?
Ficus religiosa, the sacred Pipal tree, splinters human-made realities. Pipal trees take back and take on territory, smothering, strangling, threatening, burgeoning, becoming, and nurturing.
Prior to the 2010 restoration of the Taragaon Museum, Pipal trees had established and maintained residency of the walls and roofs of the buildings, rupturing bricks and dislodging walls creating chasms of unmediated, unexpected, and fecund outgrowth. “Unchecked growth of Pipal trees caused some of the most serious damage,” to the Taragaon structures, and “eradicating the Pipal trees that had established themselves in the structure for many years was a difficult endeavor,” reads the Taragaon Museum restoration and preservation webpage.
Simultaneously, the sacred Pipal tree has migrated to the West, where it splits native flora and threatens watersheds in the U.S. states of California, Florida, and Hawaii. As with all fig trees, Ficus religiosa is kin to a specific pollinator wasp, Blastophaga quadraticeps, who breed and mature within the figs, making love between and with the Pipal as they move from fig tree to fig tree. Without this pollinator, the Pipal tree’s outgrowth in these foreign lands was controlled. However, the wasp has arrived and the Pipal tree takes on new territory daily. Ficus religiosa, of the mulberry family, drops it juicy small wasp-sexed fruits, staining sidewalks, just as the red mulberry trees, Morus rubra, in the backyard of my childhood home, dyed my fingers and lips deep and delicious purple, smudging our faces as my brothers and I ate handful after handful until we were sick.
What does the desire of a Pipal tree splitting notions of containment for invasions and revasions feel like? Trace the wanting through your fingers, stick them in crevices, bring it to your lips, and pull out life.