30 Jul 2004
On a recent visit to Bhutan, Julia Peyton-Jones (Director of Serpentine Gallery, London) and I broke away from our group for a couple of hours to look for contemporary art in Thimphu. We were not too successful, the only venue we managed to visit was an exhibition space on the third floor of a residential building, around from the corner of the Artshop Gallery (folk craft shop) with which it is affiliated. VAST (Voluntary Artists Studio Thimphu) is a modest sized apartment with three connected rooms; it was showing at least 60 paintings, drawings and prints, none of them very large. Artistic styles varied, most reflect some training in traditional western academy technique; and most of them took local natural scenery or Bhutanese cultural life as subject.
Before we arrived on the floor of the gallery, we wandered into an apartment with open doors, without realising it was in fact the home of the director of VAST, Kama Wangdi. He was working on a stage model in the studio, which he explained to be the pavilion design of Bhutan's official participation at the next World Expo, to take place in Japan in 2005. We were accompanied around the VAST exhibition, of which some photographs are attached. (attached are also photographs of clippings pinned on VAST's notice board.)
After this visit, we walked passed the official sports and parade stadium (with impressive traditional style buildings along its side). I also took a picture of the main cinema in Thimphu. Incidentally, the first Bhutanese film that is directed and filmed entirely locally in Bhutan, has just been completed this year by a young Rinpoche (Reincarnated Lama) director by the name of Khyentse Rinpoche, entitled "Travellers and Magicians".
Contact information: VAST Bhutan, Post Box 0203, Thimphu Tel: 975-2-327248 / 327247 / 325499
- Thu, 1 Jul 2004