Subash Thebe Limbu

In Ningwasum, Subash Thebe Limbu explores Adivasi Futurism, a concept he has developed over a number of years, inspired by the writings of Octavia Butler, Afrofuturism, Indigenous Futurism, and various Adivasi, Janajati, feminist, queer, and Dalit movements. The video features an Indigenous, astronaut time traveller from the future, whose Indigenous nation not only co-exists with other nations and allies but also contains advanced technology that would appear magical to those from the present.

Filmed mostly in the Himalayas, including the Wasanglung region in Eastern Nepal believed to be the shamanic home of the Yakthung, Ningwasum weaves oral narratives, animations, language, storytelling, soundscapes, and electronic music. It explores the notions of time, space, and memory, and how realities could differ from community to community, and person to person. The mothership featured in the film is based on a Silam Sakma, a ritual object commonly used and unanimously accepted as a symbol of identity among the Yakthung community of Nepal. As an installation, the work also includes Time Travellers, two astronaut suits that appear in the film, worn by the main character. Each suit has a wire structure inside and can be hung from the ceiling.

Subash Thebe Limbu considers his works to be science fiction through an Indigenous lens, rooted in the language, script, songs, and symbols of the Yakthung (Limbu) peoples. He works with sound, film, music, performance, painting and podcast, tackling socio-political issues and struggles of resistance by using science fiction as speculative narration towards labor migration, climate change, and Indigeneity. Borrowing from Afrofuturism, the artist often likes to speak of an Adivasi Futurism, a portal that reorients and redefines progress, deconstructs nation-state concepts, and reimagines Indigenous people as the creators of interplanetary and interstellar civilisations of the future.