Siddhartha Arts Foundation (SAF) is committed to promotion of the contemporary arts in Nepal. It works towards establishing Kathmandu as a contemporary arts hub. The Foundation initiates programs that stimulate the development of contemporary expression in Nepal, while engaging the community in critical thinking about social issues and their rich artistic history.
SAF is the sister concern of two art institutions: Siddhartha Art Gallery (SAG) and the Kathmandu contemporary Art Center (KCAC), both based in Kathmandu. At 26 years, SAG, established in 1987, is one of the oldest and most active entities in Nepalese art. On the other hand, KCAC has been contributing by hosting international artists since 2009. In 2011, the Siddhartha Art Foundation was registered to further the development of the arts in Nepal.
SAF hosts the landmark event: the Kathmandu International Art Festival. The first festival was entitled focused on the status of women, women rights and was held in 2011. 111 artists from over 25 countries were brought together in Kathmandu for an eleven-day exhibition. More than 5,000 viewers visited the many galleries of the event, which had been organized and managed by the Siddhartha Art Gallery. The success of the first Festival led to a larger vision, moving outside the confines of a gallery structure, for which SAF was established.
The second edition of the Festival Titled ‘Earth│Body│Mind’, November 2012 drew over 400,000 visitors. During the month long event 100 artworks were displayed in 16 venues across Kathmandu city. The Festival brought together artworks and artists to question, reflect, recognize, and raise consciousness about human links to the environment—our power to destroy/create, climate change as a consequence, the asymmetry of who and how beings are affected. The celebrated British artist Richard Long was the Patron of the Festival and many eminent visiting artists took part in the event (www.artmandu.org).
Through the festival, SAF has consequetively raised the bar for contemporary art events in Nepal and has established Kathmandu as a contemporary arts hub. It has generated interest in the management, coverage and marketing of the arts, by providing the largest platform for exchange in Nepal. KIAF also introduced guided tours in Nepal through its second edition, to accentuate the importance of the arts in educating and raising awareness of critical social issues. Another achievement has been the introduction of newer art venues, made available for use by the artist community.
In the past the Siddhartha Arts Foudnation has worked with the Prince Claus Fund, Mondriaan Foudnation, British Council more than a dozen diplomatic missions, a host of non-profit organizations dedicated to various casuses, the Nepali Government and its various agencies, art spaces and initiatives as well as commercial entities to host KIAF and its satellite events.