Ujjwala Maharjan and Yukta Bajracharya performing.
Photo credit: Danish Center for Culture and Development
Ujjwala Maharjan and Yukta Bajracharya are both poets, educators and co-founders of Word Warriors, a spoken word poetry collective in Nepal, founded in 2010. Ujjwala and Yukta will be on residency together in Switzerland, where they will be working towards a feminist poetry production that explores the ideas of space, shifts and movements. They will also participate at Woerdz, a spoken word festival in Luzern.
Image courtesy the artist
Ujjwala (she/her) ‘s art and teaching practice have been grounded in and influenced by her lived experiences along with what she has learnt from working with diverse communities in Nepal and the United States (principally in Philadelphia). After completing her Masters from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, she has been exploring trauma-informed practice and narrative approaches with artists, educators and activists to build more empathetic and inclusive learning spaces and communities. Her poetry chapbook “The Only Thing Certain” was published in 2016, and “Juvie” her illustrated YA book was published this March with the Asia Foundation’s Let’s Read campaign. Inspired by her students from Philadelphia, she has also been working on some rap songs and is currently having fun experimenting with the art.
Photo credit: Samip Dhungel
Yukta (she/her) has performed poetry, facilitated spoken word poetry workshops and organized poetry slams and events for youth all over Nepal. She is passionate about facilitating spaces where children and youth can explore their creativity and express themselves through writing and other forms of art. She is currently working at Satori Center for the Arts as the Head of Programming. In 2016, she was an editorial member for “These Fine Lines: Poems of Restraint and Abandon” – an anthology of poems by women from Nepal. Her poetry chapbook, “Covering Up My Cold Feet,” was published the same year as well. A graduate of the Erasmus Mundus Master’s in Children’s Literature, Media and Culture, Yukta’s research interests include poetry, folklore, indigeneity and community-based arts education.
JOINT STATEMENT BY UJJWALA & YUKTA
This residency will allow us, as artists and as women, to explore ideas of uninhibited movement – both spatial and internal. We will be working towards a feminist poetry production that explores the ideas of space, shifts and movements. We hope to take the production to different poetry communities.
We will also be attending Woerdz, a spoken word festival in Luzern through which we hope to build networks with local and international spoken word poets in the Woerdz festival network. Beyond the festival, we hope to connect with and learn from other spoken word poets, writers, performers and cultural practitioners in Switzerland.
Another goal of our time in Switzerland is to re-envision and plan the next steps for our own poetry practice as well as for our collective, Word Warriors.
Follow Word Warriors on Instagram @wordwarriorsnepal