The exhibition Preserving a Legacy tells two stories: first, the story of the legacy of four generations of the Chitrakar
family as artists and documentarians and second, the story of preserving the cultural legacy in Nepal through a decade long
conservation work and scientific research carried out by the Institute of Conservation, University of Applied Arts Vienna.
‘Chitrakars’ - meaning ‘painters’ - have a long history of working in this traditional medium. They learned their painting
skills under the tutelage of their fathers but with the advent of photography in Nepal, many Chitrakars began to incorporate
this means of expression into their repertoire. The paintings and photographs showcased in this exhibition capture Nepal’s
political history, culture and heritage, daily life and court lifestyle and the transformation of sites. The images give us
a glimpse of the past and present in Nepal and how generations have lived.
The Institute of Conservation under the leadership of Gabriela Krist has contributed to the preservation of the cultural heritage
at the Patan Durbar Square and Royal Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage site, since 2010. With financial support of the ADA,
the BMEIA, the BKA, the EPU and the University, a wide range of cultural heritage have been treated in close collaboration
with the Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust and local craftsmen. The safeguarding and conservation of damaged monuments after
the earthquake in 2015 is still ongoing and constitute a major undertaking by the Institute.
Historical photographs such as those of the Chitrakar family build an important basis for these efforts and leave us a rich
visual legacy as a source of information for preservation, conservation and research.
The exhibition was supported by the Embassy of Nepal to Vienna and the Nepal Tourism Board.