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Nepalese Art Project Reclaims Everest Base Camp Waste

By Rosanna Terberg in Everest Base Camp, The Himalaya - 15th November 2012

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"Mt. Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam" © 2006 Mahatma4711, used under a Creative Commons Attribution License

Everest has inspired many a creative venture in its time, and seems to be continually doing so, as the subject of books and movies and more. To look at the film world alone, upcoming projects include a George Mallory biopic and an animated feature about Sir Edmund Hillary’s successful summit attempt. But of all recent Everest-related creative endeavours, we were particularly struck by the Mount Everest 8848 Art Project, in which a group of Nepali artists have taken discarded materials cleared from the route to Everest Base Camp and beyond, and turned them into striking sculptures.

The materials used include oxygen cylinders, tent parts, ropes and plastic bottles, all reclaimed from the mountain during a clean-up expedition lead by the Everest Summiteers Association. Sixty-five porters and seventy-five yaks helped to carry the materials down from Everest Base Camp to Namche Bazaar, where a press conference was held, and from there to Kathmandu where it was all handed over to the artists.

The artistic side of the project then got underway with a symposium and series of workshops, which over the last month have turned tonnes of waste into art – now being exhibited at the Hotel de’l Annapurna – and engaged local community members and visitors alike in important questions of responsibility and sustainability. The artists, led by Sudarshan Bikram Rana and Prajwal Shahi, are a group of diverse talents. They hope to raise awareness about climate change and promote the preservation of Everest’s natural beauty as well as supporting local innovation. After its month-long run in Kathmandu, the exhibition will move on to Pokhara.

At Mountain Kingdoms, we are proud of our Responsible Tourism policies and actions, and can only applaud this unique endeavour. We hope it inspires more people to want to make a positive change – and maybe even to come up with their own creative responses to the journey towards Everest Base Camp and beyond.

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