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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

Young Zoom on Garbage – The Closing

The Young Zoom on Garbage Art Festival is yet another success story for VAST. The festival concluded with a street performance by the Happy Valley youth group and prizes were awarded by our very own home grown environmentalist hero Dasho Peljor J Dorji. The highlight of the closing day was the surprise visit by our Prime Minister which was big moral support to many of our young partners and students. Apart from creating bigger impact on awareness and behavioral changes, other news worthwhile to mention is that festival really gave a big chance to rebuild the community spirit. Therefore we would like to thank once again all our partners, sponsors and volunteers for putting their hearts and soul into this festival.

Following are the recipients of the awards sponsored by Nima Seldon of Namsay Adventure:

  • Aum Dhan Maya for her recycle wrapper mat innovation
  • Ap Phub Dorji for his recycle cement bag ropes
  • Ap Changala for sending 2 truck load of scap every month out of the country
  • Ap Bhajay M Bhadur for cleaning the “Doma tsima” bettle nut juice spatted by people every morning at the clock tower square
  • 25 children who collected more than 15,000 pieces of garbage on the day

Today VAST is on another very different project. They are on their way to Bumthang with 12 volunteers from VAST and 54 elderly ladies form Punakha village for Make a Wish Part 2.

Young Zoom On Garbage – The Opening

Garbage Art by VAST Bhutan

Welcome to VAST’s Garbage Festival at the Thimphu Clock Tower Square.

Garbage Art by VAST Bhutan

The Garbage Robot has the attention of the guests.

Garbage Art by VAST Bhutan

The Honorable Works and Human Settlement Minister, the Guest of Honor, is showered by Giant Drops of Rain.

Garbage Art by VAST Bhutan

The Honorable Opposition Leader has the attention of the Early Learning Center (ELC).

Garbage Art by VAST Bhutan

Ever wondered what’s inside a rubbish bin?

Garbage Art by VAST Bhutan

The Tiny Toes present their idea about recycling.

Garbage Art by VAST Bhutan

In another 20 years, Giants of Rubbish are going to attack our mankind.

Garbage Art by VAST Bhutan

Rubbish Robots will help the Giants of Rubbish in wiping out mankind.

Garbage Art by VAST Bhutan

The lens to the biggest camera in Bhutan – the Rubbish Pinhole Camera.

Garbage Art by VAST Bhutan

Hotel Druk projected onto the sensor of the pinhole camera. Note – we are inside a camera, how cool is that?

Garbage Art by VAST Bhutan

Recycle Me pleaded the young ones from the Thimphu Primary School.

Garbage Art by VAST Bhutan


Garbage Art by VAST Bhutan

Same Old Dragon, just new rubbish.

Garbage Art by VAST Bhutan

All hands in the air for No Packaged Food at the ELC.

Garbage Art by VAST Bhutan

All religion in the world will be overtaken by the Plastic Worshippers.

Garbage Art by VAST Bhutan

Inside the Temple of Doom.

Garbage Art by VAST Bhutan

Dorji Wangchuk’s for Air.

Garbage Art by VAST Bhutan

Asha Kama being interviewed by the media.

YOUNG ZOOM on Garbage – The Festival


YOUNG ZOOM on GARBAGE – The Festival was officially opened on 26th August 2010 by the Minister of Works and Human Settlement, Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba along with the Opposition leader Lyonpo Tshering Tobgay. A 4 day festival co-sponsored by Bhutan Foundation, City Corporation and VAST Bhutan.

Welcome to YOUNG ZOOM on GARBAGE – An Art Festival
by Depkia

Not the ideal conversation starter in our minds, in fact, the last thing in most of our minds. But as we go on living life everyday, not speaking of garbage very much, it is a problem creeping out of gutters into lanes, bursting out of landfill sites, clogging drains, dispersing in the wind with pollen and apple blossoms.



We at VAST Bhutan spoke about garbage for a while, because it is not something you can ignore. We have been thinking about it, collecting it, taking pictures of it, and making works of art with it, for the past few weeks. And all that has resulted in this Art Festival,where we hope to show you that garbage is something that you should be thinking about too.


Waste in Bhutan is a significant and growing environmental problem. The household wastes- plastics, pet bottles, clothes and shoes, paper, cardboard, construction debris, and many many things we don’t use anymore, are dumped in streets, streams, rivers and forests. And with more than 30% of the Bhutanese now living in urban areas, the problem can only grow worse.


Reports indicate that the municipal authorities in Thimphu and Phuentsholing collect 37 and 25 tons of solid waste on an average, three times more than what was collected in 1998. Find out what you can do to help reduce this unsightly problem.


The exhibition is hosted by VAST in collaboration with the following Partners:

  • Thimphu City Corporation
  • RBG Aums
  • Police Aums
  • Jungshi Paper Factory
  • Early Learning Centre
  • Tiny Toes
  • Happy Valley
  • HeHe
  • Yudruk Biking Club
  • Thimphu Primary School
  • Greener Ways
  • BBSC
  • Pelkhil Higher Secondary School
  • Green Prints
  • Business Bhutan
  • Happy Green Corporative
  • Ghayul Garden
  • Ugentsu Communication
  • And Bhutan Foundation


  • Dasho Peljor J Dorji
  • Lyonpo Pema Jamtsho
  • Lyonpo Tshering Tobgay
  • Mam CJ
  • Mam Deki Choden
  • Mam Shoko San
  • Aum Tsiyangzo
  • Aum Sonam Om of Yudruk
  • Aum Choki of Dechencholing
  • Ms.Regina Deluise
  • Chogyal Wangdi of Wangdi LPG
  • Uncle U Wangdi
  • Papa Kama
  • Ms. Dechen Roder
  • Dhendup Dorji
  • Nono
  • Xochitl
  • Rabecca
  • Ap Phub Dorji of Kabisa
  • Aum Dhan Maya from Dagana
  • Aum Kunzang Dema
  • Mam Kueron
  • Mam Cara Foster
  • Ap Peter
  • Atta Sonam Phuntsho
  • Clock Tower Local Children
  • Ms. Deki, MUSK
  • Aum  Sonam om of Yudruk
  • Wangchuk Wangdi of Thunder Dragon Tours
  • Dasho Tobgay Dorji of Gangtey palace
  • Mr. Rinzin Ongdra of Yudruk
  • And VAST Students and Volunteers

A very big THANK YOU to all the Volunteers, the wind beneath the VAST wings as always!!!

Stories elsewhere:

Ms. Deki, MUSK
Mr. Dominic, Mandala
Aum  Sonam om of Yudruk and Wangchuk Wangdi of Thunder Dragon Tours
Dasho Tobgay Dorji and Aum Genzing of Gangtey palace
Mr. Rinzin Ondra of Yudruk


>> Click here for a picture story from the opening day of the exhibition.

Exhibition Map

We are organizing “Youngzoom on Garbage” an art Festival at the Clock Tower Square from 26 to 29 August 2010. The festival is the final stage, where all the efforts and results of our yearlong Art project on garbage will be shared. Many facts, visuals, information and findings will be displayed in world class standards through various medium of art. The festival will also show case collective efforts put in by various organizations and individuals. It is designed for maximum interaction with the general public and recognizes the ABC (Advocacy Behavioral change) approach to garbage problem.

VAST Bhutan wishes to invite all as a partner for the festival and show case your commitment and efforts made towards the garbage problem. Therefore the festival becomes a collective effort to fight this serious problem and together engage our young people to create a wider awareness, featuring creative, interactive and mass participation. The City Corporation will be providing the space for free during the festival. We are also hoping to generate more funds to take this festival to other urban areas in Bhutan.

We would be very grateful if you could attend the post production discussion on the 14 August 2010 at 2.30pm at VAST studio.


  1. “Walk the River” Photo Exhibition, digital photographs taken by members and partners
  2. “Walk the River” Photo and Garbage Installation Art
  3. Installation Art from garbage with video art (documentary on garbage)
  4. Giant Pinhole Camera reflecting garbage and people (Photographic display)
  5. Garbage Art “self creation”
  6. Installation Art on Climate Change
  7. Painting displays on “dragon and its web”
  8. Creation of Recycle Art “ the Garbage Scroll”
  9. Creation of Recycle Art “wrapper Dragon
  10. Display of individual artworks created from rubbish
  11. Display of Pictorial Graphic on the 3Rs (Reuse, Reduce and Recycle)
  12. Exhibition by the Green Ways
  13. Exhibition and sale of shopping bags
  14. Demonstration on segregation of garbage
  15. Demonstration on rope making from old cement bags
  16. Demonstration on paper making from old newspapers
  17. Demonstration on paper products from recycled papers
  18. Demonstration on compost making from garbage
  19. Demonstration on recycling of computer cartage
  20. Demonstration through bicycle how energy is consumed
  21. Demonstration on carbon footprint reduction by biking
  22. Children Art making from garbage
  23. Production of banner and mural “pledge and promises by the citizen”
  24. Talking corner “design for Change”
  25. Competitions
  26. Awarding for individuals who has contributed directly or indirectly towards waste deduction

Click here for more details about the project

Art of Giving Night

vast-art.of giving.front

vast-art.of giving.inside

We’d be delighted if you could join us for a delightful evening of food, drinks, film premieres, and artwork at our inaugural Art of Giving Night on Thursday, July 1, 2010.

A delicious dinner prepared with love from our favorite restaurant, Musk, will be served to arouse your senses.Funds raised on this occasion will directly support those Bhutanese-in-need thanks to VASTís network of projects.

Despite its uniqueness, Bhutan is no stranger to the contrast between affluence and poverty. Witnessing individuals who lack basic needs, such as food and clothing, is a call to action for our small-scale projects, which including the Rice Bank, Build a House, and Make a Wish. While we appreciate and laud individual efforts to alleviate poverty, we realize these projects will not, and cannot, end this problem alone. Instead, our aim is to instill social responsibility within Bhutanese youth to provide a long lasting impact in the fight against poverty.

Please read on to learn more about The Art of Giving Night and how your contribution can make a big difference.

At a glance:

  • When: Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 6:30 PM
  • Where: The new VAST Studio by the clock tower
  • Donation: Minimum Nu. 500

Your attendance will support our projects

Rice Bank
VAST Rice Bank aims to break the vicious cycle of debt that farmers in villages experience through the most basic commodity in life: rice. We started this project in three villages in Punakha, and we hope to expand.

Build A House
During one of our trips to a village in Kabesa, Punakha, we came across a family living in a dilapidated hut. Ap. Khen and his wife have four children between the ages of four and 13. The father is currently recovering from Hansenís disease and his hands are partially deformed. The mother is living with a terminal burn injury. The family lives on a very small land holding and is solely dependent on forest products and crop sharing for subsistence. With their limited means, they have not been able to send any of their children to school. The family is now one of the beneficiaries of our Rice Project. Inspired by this meeting, we launched a Build- A-House community programme so that impoverished families may live comfortably. Ap Khen and his family are the first recipients of this programme. In 2008, we raised enough funds to build a one floor mud house for Ap. Khen. With the left over funds, we constructed an accra one floor house for Aum Zam in Tamidamchu, Punakha. We are currently raising funds for another home for Lham and her family of five in Thamji, Punakha.

Make A Wish
There are many issues between young and old people emerging as Bhutan goes through rapid changes. Some of these issues are directly related to the generation gap and not having activities that usefully engage the youth in understanding their elders.

ìMake a Wishî project is designed to link young and old from rural and urban areas.Through an age old Bhutanese tradition, the young serve their elders and regenerate a lost connection. This pilot project took place on 1 September to 8 September 2009 in Bumthang, Punakha and Trongsa for 28 senior citizens (60 plus) from Kabji villages. During our visit to the region, locals expressed the wish to visit important religious sites in central Bhutan. Ten young VAST volunteers from urban Thimphu accompanied them to temples and other cultural heritage sites in the region. Most of the rural participants had never crossed the boundary of their district.

Young Monks of Phadjoding

The World Monument Fund placed Phajoding in the top five most endangered cultural monuments in the world, but a recent trip to Phadjoding shows us that it is not only the building that needs support. While over 26 monks currently live within the monastery, government funds only cover 14 bodies. Many of these young monks come from economically disadvantaged families, and their basic needs, such as food and clothing, are just barely met. VAST ës newest project will connect its young volunteers to the monks of Phadjoding by having them offer warm clothing.

We will also be serving:

Short Film Premiere

In June 2010, renowned film-maker and film school director, Michael Brown, ran one of his Adventure Film Schools in Bhutan (adventurefilmschool). This film school is a 12 day program for international film students. Two Bhutanese student film makers, Tenzin La and Thinley, were invited to join this 12 day film school free of cost.

To take advantage of resources rarely available in Bhutan, The Institute of Language and Culture Studies (ILCS) hosted the post-production workshop conducted by editor Sharyn Smith. Three additional Bhutanese were also invited to participate. Smith provided mentorship and feedback on their projects and developed technical editing and story telling/narrative skills.

We are delighted to premiere the five short films produced and edited by the Bhutanese who completed the workshop. The film makers will be present at the event for Q&A sessions and any informal feedback.

Film Makers

  • Tenzin La – ILCS Audio Visual Unit
  • Tandin Chophel – VAST member
  • Tin Tin Pema Tshering – VAST member and artist
  • Tashi Gyelsten – Script writer and film maker

Silent Art Sale

Throughout the night youíll have the opportunity to bid on pieces of art created by VAST members and local artists. Because the artists believe in artful giving, many of their works are donated. By purchasing their pieces you will again directly fund our projects. Attending the Art of Giving Night is an opportunity to show your support while enjoying beautiful art, food, and company.Along with all of the art that we hope you will purchase, a minimum donation of Nu 500 is requested. We look forward to seeing you there!

Live Entertainment by various Bhutanese musicians

P.S The night is about giving so please feel free to bring anything you do not need or want

Make A Wish in Norway

While in Oslo, Norway, my host took me to a small Buddhist center where people can come and browse through the library well stocked with Buddhist books, including “Buddhism for Dummies”. Its a nice quiet place in the middle of downtown Oslo, and also has a resident Lama – a Tibetan monk from Darjeeling, Lama Jangchub. Lama Jangchub gives teachings and meditation classes.

Anyway, the center is called Tashi Ling, and found something interesting on their notice board.

>> Visit Tashi Ling website

>> Find direction to Tashi Ling Oslo

Make A Wish in Norway

Signboard leading to the Tashi Ling Buddhist Center.

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