Lower Mustang, Nepal
with Yungdung Tsewang and Sonam Lama
In the high desert of Nepal’s Mustang region, settlements shift as climate change makes ancestral lands increasingly uninhabitable. The Dhey and Samdzong settlements gradually move to new sites nearer perennial rivers as glacial retreat and declining snowfall lead to the disappearance of mountain streams. In Lubra, a river swollen by increasing rainfall washes away fields and homes. Will the village slowly relocate uphill, or to a different site altogether? These questions face communities across the Himalayas; many address them by doing the work of making and remaking landscapes in response to climate upheaval. Through field work with the landscape makers of Lubra—tenant farmers, landowners, migrant herders, priests—Landscape is Change examines the labor shaping a shifting village. By situating such movements within a continuum of landscape making across time, this research argues that continual remaking and the agencies that form it are central to continued life amidst the breakdowns of climate crisis.
Photo credit: Yungdung Tsewang
project funded by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts