The state of the art academy is now open to educate Bhutanese youth on conservation, preservation, training, study and exhibition of the country’s textiles
Ferring Group, a research-driven, specialty biopharmaceutical group headquartered in Switzerland which donated USD 3mn to the Royal Textile Academy of Bhutan (RTA) in 2009 to fund the creation of a new cultural centre in Thimphu, has announced a second grant of USD 3mn donation to the academy to support its mission to preserve and promote Bhutanese textiles, and improve the livelihoods of the textile weavers.
Founded in May 2005 under the patronage of Her Majesty the Queen Mother Sangay Choden Wangchuck as a non-government, non-profit civil society organization, the RTA has come a long way.
The new grant will be used to support the continued development of the academy, which includes a state-of-the-art museum, a textile weaving school, and conservation centre.
On behalf of RTA, the executive director Rinzin O. Dorji thanked Mr Pettigrew and the Ferring Group, and added, “This grant will not only benefit the weavers of Bhutan, through the academy it will contribute to economic development in the region.”
RTA is a four-phased project. Built on 4.75 acres of leased government land at Chubachu in the capital, the first two phases was inaugurated earlier this week on 5 June. The museum was fully funded by Dr Frederik Paulsen of Ferring Group. The weaving and conservation centre was funded by Government of India through the Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC).
In her inaugural speech, Her Majesty said, “My fascination and passion for the art of weaving began at an early age. My first official involvement with the textile arts was in 1992 when I attended a Bhutanese textile exhibition organized at the Peabody Museum in Massachusetts. This rich experience further fuelled my interest and led me to explore the possibilities of setting up our very own textile museum in Bhutan. In 2001, the nation’s first textile museum was established in Thimphu with support from the Royal Government of Bhutan and financial assistance from DANIDA.”
Her Majesty also acknowledged the support of ‘Friends of the RTA’ all over the world and the various donors and supporters who helped to inspire and encourage such an endeavor.
The museum offers a never-before seen experience to its visitors with royal collections comprising of the Raven Crown, the royal wedding crowns, royal wedding dresses, other textiles and artifacts.
To celebrate the inauguration of the RTA, a fashion presentation “Window to Woven Dreams” was held at the academy’s plaza on June 6. Six local designers and popular Indian designers like Rajesh Pratap Singh and Ritu Kumar came together to showcase their collections, which were all based on Bhutanese design materials and fabrics. A total of 10 models from India and 23 Bhutanese models walked the ramp. In their effort to promote and preserve the textile arts, the RTA encourages fashion designers to create clothing using Bhutanese textiles, motiffs or inspiration from local weaves. Such fashion presentations also provide the designers a platform to showcase their talent and an opportunity to young aspiring models.
With the donation of USD 3mn from Ferring Group, the third phase of constructing the administrative block will begin. This building will offer 32,000 sq. ft of professionally-built and maintained office space for rent. Plans for the fourth phase include the construction of a banquet hall that would seat over a thousand people.