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Hands of Memories

Patan Museum - Kathmandu, Nepal

“Dismembered Deities” (displayed in the permanent collection at Patan Museum) provided her the inspiration to start the collection of clay pieces. 


From the Harishankar and Char Narayan Temples, One hundred and two hands had been salvaged after the 2015 earthquake. Fabienne Francotte's dive into the contemplation on what remained brought forth an extravagant body of work that emanates the survivor’s spirit of resistance and resilience.


These unvarnished renderings of “hands of memories” represent the ordinary individuals dwelling in Patan today. Lalitpur as a space contributes unflinchingly to the production of the living tradition we spectate today. These hands that have labored in the very making are given this platform to remain parallel to the divine hands for the first time in Nepali history.

The dismembered limbs from the 8th-13th AD of various deities were as complete in their incompleteness for Francotte and this very sense of uneditable finishing is considered one of the end goals in her works too.


The continuum of the past to the present is expressed in this sole interpretation of hands presenting the sacred alongside the ordinary hands of the people in almost figurative to almost biomorphic forms. Moreover, the violence and catastrophic histories endured by these hands are encapsulated in the unpredictability of her choice of medium.


The renowned Nepali ceramist Gopa Kalapremi shared his passion for clay with Francotte in 2019, which led her to pick her medium in this endeavor. Since then, she has been studying “hands” extensively through research and her practice of journaling, drawing, painting, and linocut printing.


The rawness rendered in her hands evokes a sense of enchantment among the ordinary. This approach propels a contemporary take on curating and a practice of observing the traditional mudras. What remains is what dwells between the sacred and the profane.

— Tenzin Doma Lama, Curator


100 Postcards

Patan Museum - Kathmandu, Nepal

Fabienne Francotte's nature is to interpret the people she meets through her art. But on this journey, instead of drawing faces she challenged herself to translate the inanimate surroundings onto the postcard medium.


From ever-dying foliage and intergenerational embroidery to the sound of the bronze bowls in the temples—she interpreted her experience onto the postcard medium, she depicted the holy atmosphere of the city of Kathmandu.


The architecture of many temples dazzling in the narrow streets. The mythology and rituals of the annual Dashain festival, the “bling-bling bazaar, the holy temples and busy shops.” The wide-open landscaping of the Garden of Dreams contrasted against the darkness of the poverty outside of it.


She was moved by the evil eye, the temple bells, and the dust, which seemed permanently suspended in the air with the particular aroma of the city. Curtains hiding secrets, and so many messages to the gods, so many prayers for protection—“You can’t escape it,” she said.

This installation comprises 100 postcards made immersed in the spiritual milieu of the very sacred land “Kathmandu”. 


The sense of what is hallowed and divine is rendered timeless in her expression. Her expressive brush strokes underline the divine in fragments mapped onto these 100 postcards.


She successfully encapsulates her journey in an impactful manner leaving us the audiences in a deep contemplative state on the embodiment of the sacred and what it means for us today — deriving both meaning and non-meaning at the same instance visually.

— Tenzin Doma Lama, Curator


From sketches to sculptures

Interview by Sunil Raj Dhakal & Sunil Poudel for Khojpatra

The translator of pain - The Nepali Times

"Fabienne Francotte’s works remind a viewer of this poem by Emily Dickinson, but in the opposite way.


Looking at her paintings is like staring into that abyss of pain. What does suffering look like?


What happens when memory cannot step around or across it? What happens when the veil of trance, with which we keep pain at bay, is lifted? What happens when we can no longer navigate pain safely as ‘one within a swoon’?"

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