Breaking through the bounds of tradition

Asa-Kama-479x640Courtesy :Kuenselonline K2  

Bhutanese contemporary art is growing to be a creative force to reckon with

COVER STORY As a student of traditional art, while painting a thankga, Karma Wangdi would often find himself experimenting with colours and the background.  But then he would realise he was dabbling with an object of worship, and there were rules that he couldn’t and shouldn’t bend.

That’s when Karma Wangdi, long before he was endearingly called Asha Kama, one of the leading contemporary artist, gave up painting, a passion he had pursued since childhood.

Since academics was not his strength he sought for scholarship to study fine arts in India. “But I was asked to study traditional arts first.”

After about four years, he was employed by the civil service in the information department, where he started block and screen printing, and was later sent to study graphic design in India.  Ten years later, he was doing the same.  When he went for his degree in communications in London, that’s when his passion for painting revived.

“I was learning graphic designs, but was also exposed to European art, western art, Japanese and Oriental art and there were museums that I could visit,” he said. “I stopped painting because of my own weakness in understanding the spiritual part of traditional painting, and also because of the nature of my job.”

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The Youth Interaction through Art Camp, this winter was organised on 5th-14th January 2014 at Chuzagang in Gelephu, Sarpang. It successfully engaged more than 80 Bhutanese youth, 20 volunteers as instructors and helpers.

This camp was themed, “Art against Alcohol”. It created a platform for young people to interact and share their experiences and propose solutions to social issues in relation to alcohol abuse and alcoholism.

The Youth Interaction Art also aimed on bringing together youth from different parts of the country to exchange their ideas,experiences and views on important social issues. The event promotes a more cohesive and harmonious society. It calls for greater youth participation in proposing solutions to important community issues.

The Youth Interaction through Art Camp at Chuzagang, Gelephu organised by VAST Bhutan in collaboration with READ Bhutan shaped the weeklong Art Camp/workshop with Art against Alcohol as the theme with an emphasis on responsible drinking and the dangers of excessive drinking to one’s health, life, family and society. The Art Camp used art as the medium of expression and involved the community members. The Art camp was sponsored by READ Bhutan and Bhutan Foundation.


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First Bhutanese ceramic artist starts off his journey

Maiyesh Kr. Tamang, first Bhutanese ceramic artist starts off his journey at VAST Bhutan, producing his first work of 120 bowls which was  commissioned by Tarayana to be send to Japan. This will be the beginning of ceramic art in VAST. VAST-Bhutan is looking forward to classes, workshops and training in ceramic art led by the only ceramic artist and a founding member of VAST Maiyesh Kr. Tamang.


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VAST-Bhutan would like to wish all the VAST members, students, friends and well-wishers a very happy new year.


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Shades of togetherness Indo-Bhutan Young art camp

23-29th December, 2013

9 young indian students artist lead by Sunika madam from Empowerment Delhi joined young artists from VAST-Bhutan at Thimphu from 23th- 29th December 2013.This was the first student art exchange program between the two countries. The paintings of this camp were exhibited in the Nehru-Wangchuck Center in Thimphu Bhutan.

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VAST members volunteered at CAMP RAVEN by taking art classes,there were about 80 students,Group 1 at Decholing and Group 2 at Lhuntenphu .

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Buddhas, dragons and horses, oh my! Contemporary art in Bhutan – Terton Gallery interview


Bhutan’s contemporary artists are exploring spiritual expression as development creeps towards Shangri-La.

Art Radar spoke with Kelly Dorji (b. Thimphu), star of Indian films and founder of Bhutan’s Terton Gallery, to find out about contemporary art in the remote kingdom and whether the gallery’s artists measure success in terms of Gross National Happiness (GNH).

Wedged between India and China, the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan is one of Asia’s most remote countries. In 1972, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck coined the phrase “Gross National Happiness”, an initiative whereby Buddhist values would take precedence over many of the ‘vices’ found in modern western countries. By 2006, Bhutan gained worldwide attention  when it was crowned the ‘happiest country in Asia’ and the ‘eighth happiest country in the world’ based on a global survey in Business Week magazine.


“Gross National Happiness” measures the country’s well-being based on economic, environmental, physical, mental, workplace, social and political wellness, instead of the standard yardstick of GDP, or Gross Domestic Product. This alternative, more avowedly spiritual worldview is apparent throughout Bhutan’s culture, including its contemporary art. Read More »

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VAST would like to congratulate Artist Pema Tshering for his successful Solo Art Exhibition.His solo exhibit has inspired many creative people around the country to believe in themselves doing what you love the most. VAST wishes Artist Pema Tshering the very best for all his endeavors.catalog Read More »

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Wedding Celebration 13th October at Art Park and VAST.

VAST and Tarayna jointly hosted the first wedding celebration anniversary this year. Various activities were held throughout the day including an art competition for Children. A flea market for donated clothes was also part of the activities to raise funds.

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Beskop Tshechu 2013

VAST Bhutan collaborated with Beskop Tshechu to organize the 2nd successful Film Festival.VAST Bhutan is one of the partner organizer of the BESKOP TSHECHU film festival.

VAST Bhutan help organize stop motion animation workshop, film screenings Q & A sessions for the BESKOP TSHECHU event.



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