Legal frameworks within which artists and creators may be employed
Nepal does not have a separate legal framework for artists. Artistic occupations were, and still are in many instances, considered as family professions. People of different ethnic groups were classed according to their artistic skills. Painters were known as chitrakars, masons, architects, craftsmen, sculptors and musicians had their social position and role.
Although it has been greatly changed today, the descendants of the artisans and artists have taken over the professions of their ancestors in recent years because these professions have become lucrative with people’s growing interest in them and with the visits of tourists from the metropolitan cultures. Such artists were employed by the government in earlier times. But now most artists are basically freelance workers.
Artists’ employment in their principal artistic activity does exist, but on an extremely reduced scale.
Some artists register their organizations and firms. Otherwise no labour permits or professional status is required for artists to work.
The forms of contracts – content and duration - vary according to the jobs.
Some artists are employed by various non-governmental organizations, HMG’s different departments and the University as well as by the Royal Nepal Academy.
A number of artists have found work with the agencies funded by the UN and other international organizations. However, the scale is very low.
There are no separate statutes to determine the legal framework for artists.
The artists who work freely and independently are not hired. That would be an inappropriate term to use in the context of Nepal.
However, the artists whose works have pragmatic value and whose sculptural works have been marketed are hired. When entrepreneurs have found the artisans’ work lucrative they do hire artists to do such works.
A very few artists are hired by handicraft centres, cottage industries. The volume of their work force is small but significant. The cottage industry at Lagan, Tripureswor and other places hire artists. Some work on a permanent basis there. Patan and Bhaktapur cities sell to the tourists the works of many sculptors and Pauva painting which is a Mandalic work that combines the Nepali and Tibetan style. It has become popular among the visitors to this country and many artists have done well by making Pauva, also known as Thankas.
Provisions for health care
There are no special provision for health care. Organizations where artists work have the same rules and provisions as there are in any other jobs in the country. No separate provisions are made for artists.
Artists' employment conditions are not subject to administrative inspections.
There is no strong legal provision for the protection of artists in the field of social welfare.
Social welfare benefits are not provided by the State. But some senior retired artists have received some small amount of money occasionally.
Senior theatre artists do not receive any assistance from the government.
There are no special unemployment benefits for the artists.
Artists’ remunerations vary according to their works.
Artists get paid directly in some cases. But sometimes the company for which they work pays them and makes considerable profit out of their works.
There is no system for the payment of salaries through a professional organization responsible for collection of social welfare contributions. No separate payment agencies exist. The payment is individually negotiated.
Minimum level of remuneration
There is neither minimum level of remuneration nor any special remunerative pattern in the country for artists. Artists’ payment, however, is not high. But in some fields, if they are producing a work on contract, they may be better paid. Artists sometimes render their services free of charge but it is difficult to estimate in what proportion.
Performing artists are also treated as entertainers in Nepal.
They have been traditionally paid low wages.
Source: Nepal Centre of the International Theatre Institute, December, 2004.