Last summer, a conversation between a skater, a tattooer, and a contemporary artist led to the creation of Skate Break Create, and a vibrant and inclusive art movement was born; bringing together Skate Nepal Skate and Kaalo 101. I tattoo and make art in Nepal and one of my best friends, Samip, created Skate Nepal Skate to empower skaters here.
Skating in Nepal is hard, if the police aren’t trying to confiscate your board because they basically have no idea what it is, then random strangers are shouting at you as you skate home or you’re struggling to save up for a new deck. Despite this, the skate scene is only getting stronger and kids from all different backgrounds are coming together and having a great time. The skate scene is much like the contemporary art and tattoo scene here, which is also made up of people going against the grain to create their own lifestyle and identity. Aditya (Sadhu X), a well-known graffiti and contemporary artist, whose graphic designs can be found all over the city streets as well as in galleries, had already made some art pieces on skateboards. Naturally, we all thought, let’s take the skaters’ broken boards and turn them into some unique art.
Skaters break boards all the time trying to land tricks and they would usually just be trash, but they turn into treasure in the hands of tattooers, artists, and crafters. We distributed the boards to creatives across the city of Kathmandu, and used them to curate an art show in Calm Gallery last summer. We had 18 boards and just as many art styles represented. Aditya and I both contributed work and tattooers from Nepal; BJ (Tatt Art) and Saiyam (@Inkprovised) collaborated for the show. We also had boards from international tattooers Tahlia Underlegt (Australia) and Liam Smith (Germany) and art from Shraddha, Kiran Rai, and Manche 977 on display.
The show was great, I did some tattooing, we had a K-pop dance performance (by skaters!), and sold some art and boards. The money raised from selling the boards is divided between the artists and putting money into the scene, so we can buy more boards for the skaters that they will eventually break and give to us to paint.
Many contemporary artists and skaters in Kathmandu don’t have a lot of materials to work with and putting on Skate Break Create just shows that you can start with literal trash and put on an original and exciting art show. It’s about the grass roots’ talent and privilege plays no part. That’s the great thing about underground scenes, no one cares what caste you are or what your dad does, it’s all about what you can bring to the scene yourself, and ultimately about empowering yourself and having fun doing it. Creatives and skaters got to hang out, share experiences, and inspire each other to keep on going.
Some of the boards are currently on display and available to purchase at Craftskin Tattoo studio and art gallery in Lazimpat, Kathmandu. We’re also in the process of planning our next set of events, this time making them bigger and better. Skate Nepal Skate has further streamlined its approach and is continuing to drive the skate scene. Kaalo 101 is working to collect and archive contemporary Nepalese art with critical research on each piece and artist, giving artists the opportunity to express themselves on a public platform. The next Skate Break Create events will see these two organisations moving forward, bring more artists on board, and incorporate even more facets of the underground scenes such as music and crafting. All with a simple notion in our heads – Skate hard, break boards, have fun!