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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
Dinner on 26th June @ 6 PM
Venue: VAST Bhutan, Clock Tower Square


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.

VAST in the 5th exhibition of New Expression of Asian Art

14 artist from Vast participated in the 5th exhibition of new expression of art hosted by dhonburi Rajabhat University in the National Gallery in Bangkok, Thailand.

The New Expression of Asian Art exhibition is a platform for artist to not only exhibit there work but to share, exchange ideas, to learn and to promote Asian art to the rest of the world.In this years exhibition 14 countries and over 100 artist participating in the exhibition.

Artist from Vast got the opportunity to meet and exhibit with masters from all over Asia.







1st Class of 2011

The first class of the year started today on 2nd April 2011.

VAST is joined by 26 enthusiastic young artists all eager to learn. It started off with Asha welcoming all and introducing the senior member artist who will be guiding them over the course of their stay at VAST. Asha gave a brief on what we will be doing over the year, the different classes that will be taught, the different project that we will be doing, the exhibition that we will be organizing and many more fun activity.



After the introduction and briefing by Asha the first class on Drawing and Sketching took place lead by Pema Tshering (tintin)




2011 Membership Registration


VAST Bhutan invites aspiring artists to participate in 2011 VAST activities.
Classes and activities starts from April 2011 to March 2012.

  • Classes on drawing and sketching
  • Watercolor theory
  • Summer and winter art camp
  • Art festivals and exhibitions
  • Special projects and workshops
  • National and international art competitions

Enrollment Date (Student members)
19th to 26th March,2011
(should submit artwork with name and address to VAST Studio)
30 New young artists will be enrolled from class VI and above
There will be sunday special classes for children below class VI

Annual Fee

  • Patron Nu.20,000(minimum), 15% discount on art work purchases, free access to talks & VAST exhibitions and 10% discount on VAST courses.
  • Friends Nu.5000(minimum), 10% discount on art work purchases, free access to talks & VAST exhibitions and 10% discount on VAST courses.
  • Members Nu. 3000(minimum), 10% discount on art work purchases, free access to talks & VAST exhibitions and 10% discount on VAST courses.
  • Student Nu. 1500 (5 Special scholarship will be awarded)
    Old members are welcome to join without going through the selection process.

>>Click here to download 2011 schedule
>>Click here to download 2011 membership form

New Expression of Asian Arts

Bhutanese contemporary artists are counting down the days to take part in the 5th New Expression of Asian Arts exhibition that begins on January 12, 2011 in Bangkok.

To represent the country, 14 senior artists from Voluntary Artists’ Studio Thimphu (VAST) will display a single piece of art of their choice among those from 14 Asian nations. Bhutanese artists will have an opportunity to exhibit their work during the first two days of the two-week exhibition.

The main objective of the exhibition, artist Dorji Wangchuk said, was to provide a platform for Asian artists to demonstrate their creativity, engage in cultural exchange and explore new avenues of expression through interaction.

“Such an exhibition will allow us to meet various masters from other countries and gain new ideas,” Karma Wangchuk said. “That way my art is just an excuse to meet my counterparts from elsewhere.”

Since all artists were allowed only one piece of artwork each for the exhibition, another participating artist Phurba Thinley said he chose his portrait of His Majesty the King. “He’s really a popular figure in Thailand,” he said. “That way I’ll be able to represent the country better.”

Dorji Wangchuk said most of their artworks were contemporary types. The exhibition will be held at the National Art Gallery in Phranakorn, Bangkok.

(Original story by KUENSEL)

His Majesty The King Awards Asha Kama, The National Order Of Merit Gold Medal

His Majesty the King with Asha Kama

On this most auspicious day – the National Day, His Majesty the King awarded Asha Kama The National Order Of Merit Gold Medal.

On this national event held at the Changlimithang Stadium, attended by thousands of people, and telecast live throughout the country, His Majesty called Asha Kama to the dais and outlined Asha’s tireless voluntary efforts in working with the youth of Bhutan.

In the evening, in true VAST spirit, everybody gathered in the studio to celebrate this very prestigious honour.

We are very proud of you Asha, and we are happy beyond words. And as Asha mentioned at the dinner, if we conduct ourselves as His Majesty had mentioned in his address to the nation – committed and with compassion, in harmony with our society – VAST members would be winning medals every year.

Congratulations Asha. You have our full support in whatever you do, and we pray for many more honors for you.

Congrats to Asha Kama

Congrats to Asha Kama

Congrats to Asha Kama

Congrats to Asha Kama

Beskop Tsechu


Beskop Tsechu is a film festival featuring short, non-commercial films from Bhutanese filmmakers, highlighting the medium of film and storytelling as an art. The films are varied: some are narrative fiction, some are documentary, or animation. Some deal with social issues, others are more experimental, artistic or cultural. All the filmmakers produced their films as a form of artistic expression or social responsibility, and have personally borne their own costs.

This independent film festival was organized to provide a platform for filmmakers to express and experiment with the medium of film-making, without the burden of profit or commercialization. Filmmakers and artists also hope that by sharing non-commercial alternative films with people, we may cultivate a new viewing culture, and promote a new appreciation for different films. VAST continually strives to provide a conducive space to grow, artistically and creatively, through art and expression. Today, it is through the medium of film and storytelling.

There are no sponsors for this event, it is a result of the combined efforts, energy and vision of VAST Bhutan and independent filmmakers.


Make a Wish 2

–By Asha Kama


We were there once again and back!!! The second round of the pilot project, despite the sheer enormity of the group, not to mention the complicated logistics involved, completed with a big success. Make a Wish Project 2 focused on old ladies this year. There were 54 ladies, aged ranging from 30 to 85 from Punakha along with 17 volunteers with two children age 2 and 3. The 9 day trip was a wonderful experience for both old and young.


The project was sponsored by the money we raised from the “Art of giving Night” in July 2010.
VAST on behalf of the ladies who benefited from the trip would like to thank all VAST artists who have contributed their art works for the silent auction and all the buyers, guests, volunteers and donors.


List of Buyers:

  1. Mam Deki, ELC, purchase of Asha kama’s painting
  2. Peter Schmidt, purchase of asha kama’s prints
  3. Mam annick, purchase of asha kama’s prints
  4. Lyonpo Tshering Tobgay, purchase of asha kama’s prints
  5. Aum sonam Wangmo, purchase of Pasang Tobgay’s Painting
  6. Mam Deki, ELC, purchase of Sukbir Biswas painting
  7. Ashi Kunzang Roder, purchase of Mailing’s painitng
  8. Mr. Alain Duhaut, purchase of dueg’s painting
  9. Dr. Kristan Jones, purchase of prints, unknown artist
  10. Aum Tshering Yangzom,purchase of chand’s painting
  11. Greg, purchase of Dipika’s digital artwork
  12. Greg, purchase of Gelay’s photo
  13. Aum Chimi Zom, purchase of unknown artist’s painting
  14. Karma T, purchase of Yannick’s photographs
  15. Dr.Lina, purchase of Chands’s painting
  16. Dr. Lina, purchase of Pasang Doma’s painting
  17. Aum Kayzang Phuntsho, purchase of Maiyes’s painting
  18. Gelay Jamtsho, purchase of Kunga wangchuk’s painting
  19. Aum Pema Norbu, purchase of Dueg’s painting

List of Donors

  1. Elizabeth Warren, USA
  2. Mr. Vijay
  3. Mr. Singye (KASH)
  4. Phub Lham
  5. Karma Choden
  6. Mamta Katwal
  7. Pem Deki
  8. Tshering Yangki
  9. Karma Chogyal
  10. Kinley Penjor
  11. Chencho Gyelmo
  12. Ugen P Norbu
  13. Tirtha Rana
  14. Karma tenzin
  15. Dungkhar
  16. Sonam Rabgye
  17. Anne Larsen
  18. Fumie Arizuma
  19. Shairi Mathen
  20. Aum Om Bokhu
  21. Ama Om
  22. Kuenga Zam & Tashi Tobgay
  23. Dago Peldon
  24. Ugen Choden
  25. Dichen Roder
  26. Mam Kara
  27. Mam Kueron
  28. Aum Yannick
  29. Phub Gyeltshen

List of Volunteers for the make a wish 2:

  1. Ama Om from Jawana
  2. Ama Kama from Jawana
  3. Aum Doma from Chukulungchu
  4. Aum Zam from Phakhakha
  5. Ap Bow, cook
  6. Ap Pem Tshering, cook
  7. Rajesh Gurung, VAST
  8. Asha Kama, VAST
  9. Sangay Dorji, VAST
  10. Dorji Wangchuk, VAST
  11. Kinley Bokto, VAST
  12. Zuki Nima, VAST
  13. Nono, VAST
  14. Aum Kunzang, VAST
  15. Pala, Driver
  16. Ugen, Driver
  17. Lotey, Driver

Youth connect to senior citizens
-By Tandin Pem (Bhutan Observer)

Fifty-four villagers from Punakha are on a two-week pilgrimage to temples and cultural sites in Bumthang as part of Voluntary Artists’ Studio’s (Vast) project called “Make a Wish”. Escorted by young volunteers from Vast, many of them are travelling out of Punakha for the first time in their lives.

Make a Wish project is aimed at bridging the gen­eration gap, according to the founder of Vast, Kama Wangdi, popularly known as Asha Kama.

He said the group visits temples and cultural sites during the day and sings and dances traditional songs in the evening. Most villagers in the group are elderly, the eldest one being 86 years old.

Last year, the project took 28 villagers on a pilgrimage. They camped outdoors, and in the evenings, the elderly peo­ple told stories to the younger ones. But this year, camping is not possible because the group is bigger.

Make a Wish project is designed to link the young and the old from rural and urban areas through the age-old Bhutanese tradition. The young serve their elders and regenerate the lost connec­tion. During the pilgrimage, the young volunteers are fully engaged in guiding and assist­ing the senior citizens.

The project provides an opportunity for the youth to develop a better understand­ing of the wealth of wisdom of the older generation. It also provides the poor senior citizens, who have not been outside their villages, an opportunity to visit religious and cultural sites and to de­velop a wider prospective on the development and changes taking place in the country.

The aim is to link the understanding of the old and the new to rural environment, cultural heritage and values.

“This is a pilot project. Next year, we are planning to take people from other areas,” said Kama Wangdi, adding, how­ever, that funding has been a problem.

This year’s Make a Wish project has been funded by proceeds from an event organised by Vast. Vast artists auctioned their artworks dur­ing the Art of Giving Night and donated the whole amount to Vast.

Orginal Article in Bhutan Observer