Bhutanese and singaporean artists collaborate in a visual arts exhibition

Bhutanese and Singaporean artists jointly collaborated for the first time in Singapore to showcase artworks that embody the concept of happiness, and to raise funds for less-privileged young talents from Bhutan and Singapore. The exhibition, titled Impressions of Happiness, will be opened on Apr. 11, 2014 at 7.00pm and runs till Apr. 18, 2014, in the Chapel Gallery at Sculpture Square.

Organised by Druk Asia Pte Ltd and initiated by the Singapore Bhutan Foundation, the exhibition is in support of the International Young Artists Exchange (IYAE) and Voluntary Artists Studio (VAST) Bhutan. The Impressions of Happiness exhibition will feature the works of internationally acclaimed Bhutanese artists such as the winner of Bhutan’s National Order of Merit Gold Medal (2010), Mr Kama Wangdi and founder of Datog Art Gallery in Bhutan,Mr Rinchen Wangdi. It will also feature young and upcoming Bhutanese artists and Singaporean artist, Lian Cherng Zhi.

The concept of happiness is central to Bhutanese belief and indicated in the country’s unique measure of success – its Gross National Happiness. This exhibition is an insight into the notion of happiness as practised by the Bhutanese.

Mr Koh Boon Long, Chairman of the Singapore Bhutan Foundation, said “The Singapore Bhutan Foundation aims to share with the community in Singapore the culture, history and the concept of happiness, which is very close to the heart of Bhutanese people. The exhibition is both an educational and cultural initiative which the Singapore Bhutan Foundation hopes will encourage the local community to know more about Bhutan.”

This exhibition features artworks of Bhutanese artists experimenting with both Western and Bhutanese techniques and mediums, and their interpretation of traditional Bhutanese themes such as Buddhist iconography, Bhutanese subjects, landscapes and way of life. It is a successful rendition of how ancient values and ideals can be represented in a contemporary art form.

Exhibiting for the first time in Singapore, Mr Kama Wangdi, 56, shared “For Bhutanese artists, combining the rigorous and structured traditional style with the more expressive form of contemporary art is still a new territory. The artists must respect the traditional Bhutanese and Buddhist themes and at the same time have a mature sense of creativity to portray a modern perspective of these traditional and religious subjects. This exhibition is truly a celebration of the captivating works of contemporary art being produced by various Bhutanese artists.”

Part of the sale proceeds from the artworks on display will go to two arts causes -IYAE and VAST Bhutan. IYAE funds exchange programmes for both Singapore and international young talents from financially-disadvantaged backgrounds. VAST Bhutan is a pioneer non-profit arts organisation that champions contemporary arts and provides young Bhutanese artists with the opportunity to pursue the arts. VAST Bhutan has trained more than 1,000 young people and some of who are from difficult backgrounds. The organisation has produced many fine artists and some of the young artists participating in this exhibition are beneficiaries of this social cause.

The exhibition will also feature works by local artist, Lian Cherng Zhi, 35. Cherng Zhi has travelled and presented his sketches in many countries including Germany, China and Bhutan. Druk Asia Pte Ltd, Bhutan’s local travel agency and representative of the Royal Bhutan Airlines, had commissioned Cherng Zhi to paint a series of artworks for their 2014 calendar.

There will also be a book launchon Apr. 12, as part of the exhibition. Titled, History of Bhutan and written by Bhutanese scholar, Dr. Karma Phuntsho, this is the first book to chronicle the history of Bhutan in English. The book will be available for sale.

The organisers will also be screening Forgotten Treasures directed by filmmaker Pek Siok Sian. The film tells the story of a fascinating ancient world faced with modernity. The film will be screened on Apr. 13.

Bhutan Ambassador to Singapore, Mr Dasho Kesang Wangdi, officially opened the Impressions of Happiness exhibition on Apr. 11, 7.00pm in the Chapel Gallery, Sculpture Square. Thereafter, the exhibition will be open till Apr. 17 from 10am to 7pm.

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