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Shreesa Shrestha


Thesis Title: Discover Nepal, the Dance of Majipa Lakhey

Growing up amidst the towering temples of Kathmandu, with the Durbar Squares trans-formed into museums in the middle of the city square, the thick smell of incense in the air, and the sound of temple bells drowning out the noise of early morning traffic, I have always been fascinated by the art and culture around me. As I embark on my journey to establish myself as a designer, I have found myself revisiting my roots and delving deeper into the traditions that I grew up enjoying.

“Discover Nepal, the Dance of Majipa Lakhey” is a tour-ism campaign that gives tribute to my culture, aimed at introducing people to the elements of my heritage that are struggling to stay relevant with the rapid pace of urbanization.
Through my exhibition, I choose to focus on Nepal’s rich tradition and experience the beauty of Majipa Lakhey, a demon from Newari folklore who is widely revered as a deity among the demons.

In July 2022, the government of Nepal declared that 2023 to 2033 will be celebrated as the Decade of Visit Nepal. Visit Nepal is a tourism campaign that began in 2020 with the hopes to revive the tourism industry that has been severely affected by series of misfortune events such as the 2015 earthquake, economic blockade of Nepal by India the same year followed by the pandemic. In this light, I put forward the tourism campaign “Discover Nepal, the Dance of Majipa Lakhey” to promote local traditions in the city of Kathmandu.

It is believed that Lakhey represents an unknown tribe of people who were different from the locals of Kathmandu and were thus dehumanized as demons. As a result, the folklore art of Lakhey rose to prominence as people tried to reason their fear through divinity. Despite being considered demons, my mother taught me to never be afraid of  Lakhey. She would often say, “They won’t hurt you, but chase away all the evil spirits.” Majipa Lakhey is one of the twelve manifestations of Lord Shiva’s Bhairava form, the destroyer God in Hinduism. They are known as peaceful Bhairava as they protect the children of the city. The dance of Majipa Lakhey takes place in the week of full moon that generally falls in the month of August or September according to the solar calendar. The Ranjitkar family of Kathmandu are responsible for conducting the dance, the dancers are usually from the same family. However, these days, anyone who is able to withstand the 110lb outfit in the heat and the rain are welcome to participate. Lakhey dances with joy and excitement showing off its vibrant outfit around the old city of Kathmandu.

This exhibition takes inspiration from Paula Scher’s art style characterized by the use of vibrant colors and her ability to blend elements of illustration and typography to create dynamic and engaging designs, and aims to capture the essence of the dance of Majipa Lakhey. Just as her art brings together various elements harmoniously, the exhibition seeks to showcase the richness of Majipa Lakhey’s cultural tradition through bold and powerful visual storytelling and composition. My campaign is an invitation to tourists to come to Nepal and experience the majesty of Majipa Lakhey for themselves, appreciating the fusion of vibrant aesthetics and traditional heritage.