An old woman sits serenely upon the steps of a local temple, her countenance almost regal, a young boy peeks out the window of an elaborate brick building at something unseen and only imagined, vendors display colorful collages of food and wares, and in the distance horizontal stripes of muted blue form a magnificent abstract canvas of the majestic Himalayas overlooking the city. It is another day in Bhaktapur, an ancient city in the east corner of the Kathmandu Valley, just eight miles from Nepal's capital city of Kathmandu and a designated World Heritage Site. Bhaktapur, in sanskrit “city of devotees,” has long been a destination for both tourists and religious pilgrims who flock to its many religious landmarks and palace courtyards.
Provincetown photographer Jeff Lovinger spent a week there in early April of 2015. He wandered the narrow lanes of delicate brick buildings interwoven with wooden shutters and balconies photographing elaborate temples, terra cotta monuments and the colorful carnival of everyday life. He witnessed “Bisket Jatra,” the Nepalese New Year celebration in which chariots are pulled through the streets and ultimately a tug of war over them determines, ironically, who will be blessed with good fortune in the coming year. And then he returned to Provincetown.
Exactly ten days later a massive 7.9 magnitude earthquake, whose epicenter was just 30 miles from Bhaktapur, would take the lives of roughly 2,000 people and injure some 5,000 more in this Eastern region of Nepal. Jeff, now back home, developed his photos- their beauty suddenly all the more powerful and poignant as they presaged an unspeakable disaster . He promised himself he would share them and the proceeds from their sale to help those he had just left behind.
A benefit for the Nepal earthquake survivors will be held on August 7 from 7-9 pm at the Lovinger Gallery, 427 Commercial Street. Photos from the trip will be on display with 50% of all proceeds from their sale going to several organizations assisting the survivors of the earthquake. For further information, contact Lovinger Gallery at 508-487-3733/www.lovingerimages.com. --Patricia Zur