VAST gets CSO status

courtesy: Kuensel

Voluntary Artists’ Studio of Thimphu (VAST) – Bhutan is now a registered civil society organisation (CSO), and this provides the otherwise club-of-sorts legal backing and recognition to raise funds for the growth of art in the country.

While the application to register as a CSO was put in last year, VAST received its accreditation on September 2, this week, from the Civil Society Organisation Authority as a mutual benefit organisation (MBO).

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Her Expression: First ever art exhibition by women opens


‘Her Expression,’ the first ever art exhibition by Bhutanese women that opened at the art gallery yesterday saw about 20 female artists showcasing various artwork.

With tender feminine strokes visible in their works, each artist managed to show a part of their world through their paintings.  Some showed their artistic sensibilities with their photography skills and through abstract paintings.

Organised by Voluntary Artists’ Studio in Thimphu (VAST), the exhibition provides a platform for budding, as well as professional, female artists, where most were self-taught and a few studied art. Continue reading

Ceramic Project

The VAST Pottery Project is all set to start:)
Come join us tomorrow for the opening
Time: 10 am onwards
Date: August : 9th ,2014
Venue: VAST
Come and join us . stay for lunch :0. Lunch will be served by a group of young chefs from the HOT ART Cafe:)
see you all tomorrow:)

Rice bank for indebted Punakha sharecroppers

Article in kuensel by Dawa Gyelmo

Rice bank for indebted Punakha sharecroppers

Farmer Tshering, 50, of Zarbisa village in Kabisa, Punakha, need not worry about buying rice until the next paddy harvest season.
The father of three is among 13 beneficiaries, who received seven bags of 25kg white rice each from the Voluntary Artists’ Studio Thimphu (VAST), yesterday.

Initiated by the VAST as the first step towards their fourth rice bank project, volunteers were there to distribute rice crucially required to relieve shortages that occur at this time of the year before the harvest.As Tshering’s family owns only 70 decimals of land, they are sharecroppers, who pay the landowner about 136kg of rice for every langdo (area ploughed by an oxen in a day) of paddy field they cultivate on. “It’s a blessing, we don’t have to worry about buying rice until harvest time” Tshering said, expressing his gratitude to the sponsors and volunteers. Continue reading

Relief rice for families in Punakha

On July 2nd and 3rd, VAST distributed relief rice to Zarbisa, Rangrikha, and Rangrichungku villages Kabjisa under Punakha dzongkhag. Each of the 14 recipient households received 175 kg of rice and 6 families from other villages received smaller amounts 25 kgs to 50 kgs. Households were selected on the basis of a baseline survey conducted by VAST volunteers and advice from community leaders. The rice will help families feed themselves until the harvest without having to borrow rice from other landowners, a process that keeps borrowers stuck in a cycle of debt.


The rice was dispersed in preparation for the fourth rice bank project, which will begin next year.

VAST Bhutan would like to thank Country Walkers, USA; Akiko Ueda of Japan; and Dorji Gyeltshen of Smile Bhutan, for their generous financial support that made this initial step possible. Continue reading

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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