Yangdang Phongma: Blessings of the Future
20 August – 10 September 2023
Subash Thebe Limbu is an Indigenous Yakthung (Limbu) artist from what is currently known as eastern Nepal. He works with sound, film, music, performance, painting, and podcasts. His works are inspired by socio-political issues, resistance, and science/speculative fiction, featuring recurring themes of migration, climate change, and indigeneity, which he calls Adivasi Futurism.
As part of his residency, Subash Thebe Limbu developed a workshop titled “Yangdang Phongma: Blessings of the Future,” designed for 16 participants of the ARIA summer school. The workshop extended ideas explored in his film “Ningwasum,” which is set in the Indigenous Yakthung nation in Nepal and follows two time-travelers, Miksam and Mingsoma, who return to the present from a future where interplanetary civilizations are thriving and living sustainably by adopting Indigenous knowledge and technology. “Ningwasum” – which loosely translates as “memory” in Yakthungpan – explores notions of time, memory, and space and the way in which these shape reality. Limbu has theorized his approach to science fiction as “Adivasi Futurism”: a space where Nepalese Indigenous people and artists can imagine themselves in a future of their own making, driven by their culture and traditions.
The workshop “Yangdang Phongma” used time-based media and Indigenous worldview to explore possible futures that would transcend generations and spacetime. In the Yakthung Nation, Yangdang Phongma is a ceremony by which a newborn child is given a name, the blessings, and shown the moon, the sun, and the stars for the first time. The ceremony is usually carried out by the matriarchs. Taking cues from the blessing ritual of Indigenous Yakthung (Limbu) people, the workshop focused on imagining futures that participants would like to realize for future generations. It entailed imaginations that acknowledge the land, time, and space while delinking the Western idea of ‘progress’ and ‘exploration.’
Production: Projekt Atol Institute
Supported by: The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, the Municipalities of Ljubljana – Department of Culture.
ISkRA residency is organized within the More-Than-Planet project and is co-funded by the European Union as part of the Creative Europe framework.
Subash Thebe Limbu is an Indigenous Yakthung (Limbu) artist from what is currently known as eastern Nepal. He works with sound, film, music, performance, painting, and podcasts. Subash has an MA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins (2016), a BA in Fine Art from Middlesex University (2011), and an Intermediate in Fine Art from Lalit Kala Campus, Kathmandu. His works are inspired by socio-political issues, resistance, and science/speculative fiction, and feature the recurring themes of migration, climate change, and indigeneity or, as he calls, Adivasi Futurism. Subash is based in Newa Nation (Kathmandu) and London.Subash Thebe Limbu