Category Archives: News

Training on Contemporary Art

VAST is currently housing a training on Contemporary Art. The training is organised by Department of Information and Media under Ministry of Information and Communications in collaborations with VAST Bhutan.The training which started on 7th November will end on 25th November.

The famous Benigna Chilla who is inspired by geometric patterns found in architecture, textiles, and nature is heading the training.

VAST Celebrates the Royal Wedding

On the auspicious occasion of the Royal Wedding of our beloved King His Majesty Druk Gyalpo Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Her Majesty Ashi Jetsun Pema Wangchuck, the family of VAST joins the nation in celebration of the Royal Wedding and wishes the Royal Couple a happy married life.

Come and join us in the celebrations of the joyous occasion at 5: 30 PM at VAST Contemporary Art Centre located at Alaya Gallery, Tarayana Complex today.

 

 

Shifts of Hope

VAST would be opening in a new studio located at Tarayna Center( Alaya Gallery) . The theme for the Opening Exhibition is “Shifts of Hope”. We have paintings on display from various Artists both from within and outside the country.
Everyone’s invited for the opening.

Date: 20th September 2011
Time: 17:30 – 20:30

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Youth Interaction Through Art (Summer Camp)

Click here to read the final project report

The Youth Interaction through Art was organized by VAST Bhutan in cooperation with READ Bhutan. The Youth Interaction through Art was designed and conducted by VAST Bhutan from 29th June to the 3rd July 2011 in Ura, Bumthang. The Camp coincided with the school summer break to provide students constructive activity while they are out of class. There were a total of 120 participants creating an environment of a combination of young and old artists alike from both Thimphu and Ura.

Our Art Camp is in line with the goal of positive adolescent and youth development and also with one of our mandates, to interact with youth and provide time, space, and vocational skills through exposure to, interaction with, and participation in learning through Art.

There are many youth issue emerging as Bhutan goes through rapid changes. Some of these issues are directly related to boredom and not having activities that can usefully engage the youth.

VAST Bhutan is an informal Art Club based in Thimphu, managed by a group of young and old artists. Its explicit mission is to guide and assist youth to explore their full potential through exposure and participation in art and at the same time provide an alternative positive use of free time in productive way.

As part of its regular activities, VAST organizes art camp and workshops during summer and winter break for its members and other youth from the area where the camp/workshop is held. The overall aims of these endeavours are to provide opportunities to the young school children to participate and develop their talents through artistic and socially productive activities during their free time.

VAST summer camp

Reflections by the Group Leaders from Ura

Day One (30 June)

During the morning of the 30th, first we arranged the wood that was scattered behind the house. Then we started our session in which we learned the definition of art. Next we divided ourselves into eight groups by naming our group names and then explaining why we chose the particular name. Then we went outside and made a conceptual sculpture show. Suddenly the famous artists from Thimphu, America, and Thailand came and we welcomed them and they introduced themselves to us.

After lunch we went to our session and the artist from Thailand started teaching us how to draw using basic shapes like trapezoids, circles, and rectangles. Then they gave us each an art book, a pencil, and an art bag. In the art book we started to draw whatever the artist drew. The artist drew a picture of a temple, a mountain, and our village, but the most interesting thing we did was to draw a picture of our teacher Kama. After that the session ended.

Next we prepared for the night programme in which we made a campfire and then we all gathered in a room and started singing. All the friends sang a song and some of the friends also danced and we really enjoyed it. After this we went to sleep and the programme for the 30th June 2011 ends here.

-Ugen Penjan & Dorji Rinchen

Day Two (1 July)

First we did the cleaning and we organized all the papers. After that we had breakfast and a break. Then we went to class where we started to paint while the artist taught us how to paint buildings. We learned a lot and then we had lunch.

After lunch we cleaned up and had free time, then we went to start concentrating on whatever the Thai artist had taught. Then they gave us watercolours, brushes, and other art supplies so we could go outside and paint the valley after learning how to paint mountains and buildings.

-Karma Yeshey Dorji & Thinley Tenzin Norbu

Day Three (2 July)

This morning I woke up and saw the village and the mountains. Some people were washing, some were playing, and some were drawing. Then I went inside to have tea and breakfast. Next, class began and we learned how to draw and paint. We learned how to paint landscapes and houses and how to draw faces with charcoal.

After lunch we went to class to take our sketch bags and went outside to paint. Doing painting we sat in our respective groups and discussed with each other. After sketching we went back to our rooms to leave our sketch bags and we went outside to practice dance for the ending programmes. After that we went to play games.

- Sonam Zangmo Thingh & Tinley Tenzin Norbu

Favorite Parts of the Camp

I enjoyed painting with friends.
-Ngawang Pelzom (11 yrs)

I love to paint.
-Tenzin Namgay (11yrs)

I liked singing with the other boys.
-Thinley Tenzin Norbu (14 yrs)

My favorite lesson was the watercolour lesson.
-Pema Yangzom (13 yrs)

We really liked the lesson about nature with watercolour.
-Tshering Lhaden and Tashi Lhamo (Library Managers/Teachers)

Colour Of Prayers

A solo exhibition by Asha Kama in honour of the NATIONAL ORDER OF MERIT (GOLD)

Please come to the opening of “Colour of Prayers” a solo exhibition in honour of National Order of Merit (Gold).

Join us for:
Lunch on 25th June @ 11 AM
OR
Dinner on 26th June @ 6 PM
Venue: VAST Bhutan, Clock Tower Square

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Artist Statement

I first encountered western art when I was a young boy studying in one of the first exclusive public schools in Thimphu. Leaving my conventional English school I spent several years as an apprentice studying the religious and mythological art of Bhutan at the National Fine Art Centre. After the apprenticeship, I joined the service of the Royal Government as an illustrator/designer for the Development Support Communications Division. I produced a development communication artwork to enhance development programmes of the Royal Government.

In 1991 I won a scholarship from the British Government to study western art at the Kent Institute of Art and Design, Maidstone, University of Kent in England. I graduated with a first class Honours Degree in Communications Media (Design Pathway) in 1994. I continued working for the government and took an early retirement in 1997 to paint and founded VAST Bhutan with two other artists. Till date VAST has tutored and counseled more than 2000 young people ranging from delinquents, high school students to out of school youth.

I have acquired a wide range of experiences in both styles and methods which can be instrumental in combining the rigorous and structured traditional style with more easily flowing/expressive form of contemporary art. This helps me to mature in a direction that I am comfortable with and uniquely my own.

Bhutanese subjects and Buddhist iconography are my main themes with combination of modern and traditional techniques as I have an enduring fascination for textures, movements and many symbols in the Bhutanese culture. I have been exploring this aspect ranging from temple walls to spiritual horses that we see on prayer flags.

As the torch-bearer of Contemporary Art in Bhutan, I am fully engaged in dedicating myself to the issue of Bhutanese contemporary art and helping the youth of Bhutan. With full support and dedication from my students and fellow artists we would like to take Bhutanese art to new heights without compromising our age old traditional art.

Through Layers of Paints

What he shares with the young children today might have been what he wanted for himself way back in the late 1960s. Not so naughty, but naughty all the same, a bit on the impish side! Like all other young boys,he was just another little “Lungtenzampa Lobda” boy, circa mid-1970s, when he found academics too heavy and decided to leave school. In those days, the Manpower Expert’s Office, the precursor to the present RCSC, was literally inundating school drop-outs with offers to join its ranks. But he chose a different path preferring to be an artist. Art, then, was not even listed as an honourable profession.

Art, in Bhutanese tradition, was always anonymous. Creating a work of art then was an act of worship. So it is for Kama too, but it also gave his creative bent of mind the freedom to experiment, which at times verged on irreverence.

The journey from Lhazo ( traditional art ) to contemporary Bhutanese art is not a long one; it is younger than Kama himself. Perhaps, Carolyn Jill Tshering, who introduced him to colours, and Sen Gupta, the art teacher in the erstwhile Thimphu Public School, must have greatly influenced the path Kama took . But the style, strokes and texture are entirely his own, inspired by a muse he alone can identify with.

What does he want to convey? Well, his art is grounded in Buddhism and he wants to share his impressions of Buddhist philosophy through stylized representations as in the Wind Horse, or oblique emphasis on the importance of Speech (gSung) as the Dharma or the Words of Buddha, by prominently displaying the texts ( Lentza Script ).

His art says a lot. One only needs to be slightly discerning. He likes to play with the perspective – juxtapose the far and the near, and the ancient and the modern, and thereby create a fusion that is contemporary Bhutanese art. His art connects him to many people from many different backgrounds. Most of all, it connects him closely with the children, for whom he established VAST, where they explore their artistic vision. This comes from his attachment to his numerous nephews and nieces.

Besides his art and children, he cares for the environment and worries about plastic and other non-biodegradable wastes polluting not only our immediate living space, but also the forests and water systems. All these are visible on his canvas, wherein the man and his life are reflected….. If we can only see through the layers of paints.

K.B.Lama is a Bhutanese media pundit, writer and art critic.