Srijanalaya began as a Neighborhood Arts Centre that was located inside Yatkha Baha, one of the largest traditional courtyard spaces, in the middle of old Kathmandu. For six months, Sharareh Bajracharya worked with children and their families on creating collaborative artworks and supporting the children in exploring different materials. The culmination of the works was the exhibition, ‘Mela: Celebrating a Neighborhood Arts Centre’. There was no fee to enter the space and no requirements to participate in any activity. Children were free to move in and out of the space as they wished.
The goal was to create a safe space where children could explore what they enjoy in different art forms—for example, collage, painting, drawing, 3D construction, dance, gymnastics, sewing, and singing. The interactions in the space were focused on each person’s creations and finding new ways of connecting with each other. Basic principles of kindness and compassion were the only rules which all children were required to follow, which included refraining from physical and verbal abuse.
Sharareh kept the space open in the morning (before the children went to school) and afternoon (after they came home). During the frequent bandas or strikes, holidays, and whenever children were loitering or became sick, they would gravitate to the centre. The space became a place where parents would come to check for their children. Adults of different class, ethnic, and gender from the community also entered the space, sometimes to chat, and at other times to create something or contribute.