Most of us know about Bhutan because of two things: a. It’s a country where Gross National Happiness prevails over Gross National Product and b. they are one of the teams playing the finals in the great anti World Champions Soccer championships documentary ‘the Other Final’ , and certainly we know some basic stuff: Himalayas, not a tourist destination, and so on. What most of us don’t know is their Nepalese minority is discriminated against.
For more than 20 years hundred thousand of Bhutani Nepalese live in refugee camps in south eastern Nepal. Forgotten by most of the world, except for institutions as UNHCR, they face a life which is in utero: not in Bhutan, not yet in Nepal.
When doing some research on the subject sites as Bhutanese Refugees, HRW and great journalistic coverage as here pop up. It will not take a lot longer before the project of artists and social activists of the Empowerment Foundation will be included in that list. For the last few years they have been working on the project Headwind. “A project involving working on a documentary, a number of books and photo exhibitions with the aim to uncover the situation of the Bhutanese people who were exiled from their country through ethnic cleansing in the early ninetees of the past century. Now they are at the point of presenting their work,” as says their website.
And the first of their upcoming presentations will be presented in Utrecht, in the beautiful Domkerk. The exposition opens on the 15th, and will run through October 26th. If you really want to prepare yourself for seeing that exposition, make sure to get your hands on the book “Headwind, Laxmi’s Story” which is yet another part of the project.