In 2007 the UN Refugee Agency began relocating 83,000 Bhutanese refugees from Nepali camps to eight countries including the US. In Charlotte, North Carolina, the growing Bhutanese population has taken root. Their neighborhood in the urban sprawl off Charlotte's Independence Boulevard is regularly transformed into temples and shrines, sites where they fulfill their Nitya Karma, obligatory religious duties. Kamal Dhimal is a community leader who facilitates these cultural events as he, and his people, adjust to life in the US.
Sonja Van Meer: Sound Recordist
Video #1, "Ceremony"
Video #2, "Religion at Home"
Video #3, "Parking Lot Program"
"Nitya Karma" is meant to be read with text, photos, motion .gifs, & video as equal parts of the story. My eventual goal is to use mixed media in conjunction with animation and web development to create more involved experiences of true stories. That idea coexists with another goal to produce more voyeuristic, transparent storytelling that embraces the camera's focus and movement as a first-person perspective. I want to give my audience a range of media that are less edited and more like primary source documents.
Additionally, this project is the longest I've stuck with a single subject. It's important and interesting to me because Kamal really was the one who initiated it. We first met when I was shooting an ESL class for refugees in Charlotte. He proactively invited me into his home and asked me to shoot some events. Then he continued to call me for almost two years before I left the city. For me to be able to tell a story about him as a proactive community leader feels really nice and appropriate since that's what facilitated the footage in the first place.
The viewer should note that motion .gifs are usually uploaded smaller than 1000 pixels to optimize file size, which affects load time. I output these images with the goal of keeping them under 1.5 MB, which means I had to compromise quality for load time. This .gif set is the result of numerous tests to render an image balanced between image quality, file size, and quality of motion.
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Shree Harisang Kirtan Mandali Charlotte, NC - Kamal's organizing body behind religious and holiday programming. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Shree-Harisang-Kirtan-Mandali-Charlotte-NC/151758641678575