Nepal: The Fall of a God King with Tomas van Houtryve
From 2004 through 2008, documentary photographer Tomas van Houtryve worked in Nepal to chronicle the end of its monarchy and the rise of one of the world's newest Maoist states. For more than 50 years, various attempts at democratic and socialist reforms in Nepal lead to disappointments for activists. In 1996, a band of rebels inspired by the teachings of Mao Tse-tung declared the beginning of the "People's War." Villagers who had lived for generations following the rules and rituals of the caste system were rounded up and marched to propaganda programs where the rebels preached Marxist style equality. By 2004, the underground Maoist guerrilla movement had spread across the country and unnerved the ruling elite. Their secret camps were hidden in the rural hinterlands. They usually attacked at night, capturing police outposts with swarms of peasant soldiers brandishing ancient rifles. At this event, van Houtryve will present and discuss a selection of photographs from his series on the Maoist revolution in Nepal: http://tomasvanhoutryve.com/reportage/nepal/nepal_intro01.html. The discussion will be moderated by Mira Kamdar, Senior Fellow World Policy Institute and author Planet India: The Turbulent Rise of the Largest Democracy and the Future of Our World. Tomas van Houtryve has reported from dozens of countries and received numerous international awards for his coverage of global contemporary issues. He has photographed some of the most inaccessible places on earth, from North Korea to Guantanamo Bay to Maoist guerrilla camps in the Himalayas. Initially a student in philosophy, he discovered his passion lay in photography while enrolled in an overseas study program in Nepal. After graduation, he started his photographic career in Latin America. Solo exhibitions of his work have been shown in France, Spain and Italy, and his pictures appear regularly in leading international publications including Newsweek, The New York Times Magazine, TIME, GEO, Stern, Le Figaro Magazine, Le Monde, The Independent weekend magazines, Smithsonian, Foreign Policy and National Geographic. Photos from his Nepal presentation will be part of the Moving Walls 16 exhibition. The exhibition will open on September 29, 2009 at the Open Society Institute's New York City office and move to the OSI Washington, D.C., office in the fall of 2010.