Dabbling in contemporary art

Around 28 students from Zorig Chusum, Kabesa Painting School and the youth volunteers Volunteer Artists’ Studio (VAST) attended an 11-day workshop in contemporary art in Thimphu, with an American resource person, Benigna Chilla.

The workshop was organized by the Public Communication Division, Department of Information and Media (DoIM), Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC), in collaboration with VAST which ended yesterday. It was intended to promote and stimulate creative skills and to connect the ideas and expression of contemporary artwork to the audience. “The contemporary art has also great potential to connect with audience referring as art of present time,” a press release states.

The organizers felt the need for such a workshop since exposure to art is limited due to the existence just a few art galleries, schools, museums and institutions in the country. The workshop was held to encourage and assist artists in creating relevant contents. It saw the use of the locally available materials and reuse waste to make beautiful paintings and objects.

“Contemporary art is art produced at the present period in time. The term “Contemporary Art” refers to art made and produced by artists living today, it involves the use of imagination fuelled by passion in expressing one’s feelings and ideas through creation of such objects or art work,” read the press release.

“Contemporary art is something to be nurtured, something to be preserved and something to be valued,” Lyonpo DN Dhungyel, MoIC Minister, said during the event closing.

In addition, Lyonpo pointed out that such art practices need to be preserved for posterity. “Contemporary art benefits to preserve our identity,” he added, highlighting the age-old identity and culture in Bhutan.

“In our traditional painting, it is rigid, and sinful if one commits mistake, but in contemporary art painting, we can do freely without taking any consideration,” 42-year-old, ex-lecturer, Taktse College, Tshulthrim Dorji, said. He is happy to have acquired the extra knowledge about contemporary art painting.

“The role of the artist and the craftsman, in any society, in any nations, it is very significant because not only does it actually enhance one’s employability, but also, it added in the firming and defining, keeping up of our tradition and the culture,” Director General, DoIM, Kinley T. Wangchuk, said.

VAST was founded by a group of professional artists founded it in 1998. It is a non-profit organization that nurtures and promotes a young generation of art enthusiasts through art.

“BUILD A HOUSE” project under VAST provides impoverished families with decent living conditions. “RICE BANK” project intends to break the vicious cycle of debt that Bhutanese farmers in villages fall into. VAST also has an ongoing project focusing on the rising issues of garbage management and recycling practices in Bhutan’s capital city called “Young Zoom and Garbage”. It aims to place the future of Bhutan’s pristine environment in the hands of the youth.

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