Durham University

Centre for the Ethics of Cultural Heritage

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Exhibition ‘Resilience within the Rubble’ opens in Kathmandu on the third Anniversary of the 2015 Gorkha Earthquake

(30 April 2018)

Official opening of the Exhibition

On the third anniversary of the devastating 2015 Gorkha Earthquake, the exhibition Resilience within the Rubble: Reconstructing the Kasthamandap and Kathmandu’s past after the 2015 Gorkha Earthquake was launched at the new exhibition space of Dhukuti at Hanumandhokha Palace Museum in Kathmandu. 

Resilience within the Rubble is the first exhibition at the newly opened Dhukuti and was inaugurated by the Right Honourable Mr Rabindra Prasad Adhikari, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation on the 25 April 2018. Later in the day, the Right Honourable Bidhya Devi Bhandari, President of Nepal had a personal tour of the exhibition with Mr Bhesh Narayan Dahal, Director General of Archaeology (Government of Nepal) and the curatorial team.

Developed from a photographic exhibition held at Durham University’s Oriental Museum between 29 September 2017 – 28 January 2018, Resilience within the Rubble incorporates photographs and artefacts from Durham UNESCO Chair and the Department of Archaeology (Government of Nepal) led-fieldwork in post-earthquake Kathmandu. The exhibition explores the hidden histories of monuments destroyed and damaged by the 2015 Gorkha Earthquake, such as the iconic Kasthamandap, as well as providing insights into why individual monuments collapsed during this humanitarian and cultural catastrophe. Resilience within the Rubble also focusses on how the team’s recent fieldwork is co-developing methods to protect heritage in the face of future disasters and to ensure that monuments are rehabilitated with greater resilience, without causing a second cultural catastrophe through the loss of subsurface and unrecorded heritage during reconstruction. 

The exhibition is curated by Prof Robin Coningham and Dr Christopher Davis of Durham’s UNESCO Chair; Mr Kosh Prasad Acharya, former Director-General of Archaeology, Government of Nepal; Mr Ram Bahadur Kunwar and Mrs Aruna Nakarmi, Department of Archaeology (Government of Nepal); Dr Craig Barclay and Mrs Rachel Barclay of Durham’s Oriental Museum; Ms Anie Joshi and Mr Kai Weise of ICOMOS (Nepal); and Prof Ian Simpson of Stirling University.

 Resilience within the Rubble is part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK) Global Challenges Research Fund (AH/P006256/1)’ and the British Academy Global Challenges Research Fund’s Project ‘Reducing Disaster Risk to Life and Livelihoods by Evaluating the Seismic Safety of Kathmandu's Historic Urban Infrastructure’ (CI170241). The project and exhibition also received additional financial support from Durham University’s Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS) as well as the Department of Archaeology (Government of Nepal) and Hanumandhokha Palace Museum.