Saturday November 23, 2019

Heritage lost: UNESCO battles looters at Swayambhunath temple in Nepal

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Image: The Associated Press

By NewsGram Staff Writer

At the heart of Swayambhunath temple in Nepal, the iconic central stupa still stands firm at the hill top, but the ancient structures inside this famous Buddhist shrine have turned into debris. The United Nations has sent a team on a rescue mission to prevent the looting of artifacts from this World Heritage Site.

The seven-member UNESCO team is assessing the damage, with priority being given to keep a check on looting of artifacts from the destroyed site. “We are doing an inventory of stones and terracotta objects that have crumbled due to the earthquake. The first concern for us is to prevent the objects from looting and for this we are trying to get keys of one of the stores at the temple so that we can store these objects,” David Andolfatto, UNESCO consultant, told a news agency.

Image: The Associated Press
Image: The Associated Press

“Right now we are not thinking of restoration because for that we need money and restoration can be done only when we have rescued the objects. At the moment, we are doing the rescue work,” he added.

Swayambhunath Temple is also called as Monkey Temple and it is one of the ancient sites where both the Hindus and Buddhists worship together.

According to UNESCO, there are seven monument zones in Kathmandu, which include three Durbar squares in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan, and four religious sites: Swayambhunath and Bauddhanath and Hindu temple complexes at Pashupatinath and Changu.

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Gallery Dedicated for Disabled Indian Artists gets Inaugurated at UNESCO House

Enabling the participation of persons with disabilities in artistic and cultural life is a key priority for UNESCO

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To honour the talent of artists with disability, the first edition of 'Discovering Ability' art awards was also organised by Youth4Jobs Foundation, with UNESCO and HSBC. Wikimedia Commons

As part of an inclusive initiative, a temporary art gallery titled ‘Not Just Art’, dedicated to Indian artists with disabilities, was inaugurated by union minister G. Kishan Reddy at UNESCO Cluster House here on Monday.

The unique gallery has over 125 paintings done by disabled artists across 15 Indian states, and showcases their amazing talent with colour and form.

It will be open for public viewing on November 5-7 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., UNESCO said.

To honour the talent of artists with disability, the first edition of ‘Discovering Ability’ art awards was also organised by Youth4Jobs Foundation, with UNESCO and HSBC.

The award celebrates the artistic abilities of persons with disability, who have hitherto remained a largely unrecognised talent pool.

The artists were awarded with a cash prize of Rs 50,000. They are Amrit Khurana and Rohit Anand, both autistic artists; Mallika Khaneja, an artist affected by cerebral palsy; Y. Raghavendran, an artist with speech and hearing impairment; Niral Hareshbhai Swati, an artist with intellectual disability; Mohammed Yasar who participated in the Paralympic Art World Cup in 2019; and Durgesh Kumar Rathore, an artist with dyslexia and bibliophobia.

“Enabling the participation of persons with disabilities in artistic and cultural life is a key priority for UNESCO. (The initiative adds to) disability-focused interventions in India. It signals our commitment to empower persons with disabilities to become both mainstream consumers and producers of art forms.,” Eric Falt, UNESCO Director, New Delhi said.

UNESCO
As part of an inclusive initiative, a temporary art gallery titled ‘Not Just Art’, dedicated to Indian artists with disabilities, was inaugurated by union minister G. Kishan Reddy at UNESCO Cluster House. Pixabay

“If it’s the tag of just an artist, it would hardly get noticed. If we say disabled artist, people will still sit up and take notice. The awards feels like a great recognition,” Aarti Khurana, the mother of an autistic artist Amrit Khurana told IANS.

The jury was a panel of three eminent judges from the Department of Fine Arts, Sarojini Naidu College of Arts and Communication, Hyderabad, UNESCO said.

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As per Youth4Jobs head Meera Shenoy, said the initiative will also help artists develop market linkages, and they will continue to sell art online and through museums under the ‘Not Just Art’ platform. (IANS)