Chhimi Dema

Let’s put it this way: Dorji Gyeltshen and canvas have a special relationship. The colours and the subtle manoeuvres produce certain magic.

At the heart of it all, as in much else, is passion and dedication. And it shows. This is Dorji Gyeltshen’s fourth art exhibition in Bhutan, excepting a few abroad.


Dorji Gyeltshen

Had it not been for art, the world would have been by much colourless and drab. He sees the voices in the shades and tints. Canvas the world and his fine strokes the life. The idea lies in self-expression.

Bhutan 108 is Dorji Gyeltshen’s fourth art exhibition at home. It opened on November 11 at Bhutan Art Gallery in Thimphu, coinciding with the 65th birth anniversary of the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, and will go on until November 15.

The exhibition showcases 108 artworks. The number has a special significance. The creation of the many exquisite 21cm X 15cm artworks began after the lockdown and they look and extend beyond small imaginations.

“Drawing inspiration from nature and Bhutanese rich traditions and cultures, I am trying to show the world the beauty that Bhutan is,” he said.

Realism, a style of art that attempts to portray subjects and situations as they appear, not avoiding unpleasant or sordid aspects of life, is what Dorji Gyeltshen’s work is all about.

The exhibits portray Bhutan’s traditional architects, masked dances and landscapes and people, among others.

“There are stories behind some artworks displayed,” Dorji Gyeltshen said.

“Rinchen Khangzang” is a glorious representation of historical Zochhen Palab’s architectural genius and conception.

“This type of architecture is no more in the country. It is sad to see that it’s becoming a ruin,” said Dorji Gyeltshen. His colour rendition of medieval Thimphu is painfully beautiful that no other Bhutanese than Dorji Gyeltshen have put it together better. An overstatement this? Perhaps it is, but he has made a mark of his own.

“This painting is about the changes that Thimphu has witnessed so far,” said Dorji Gyeltshen, who has exhibited his works in Japan, Korea, Singapore, France, China, India, and Andorra.

Dorji Gyeltshen believes that art is therapy; it can calm individuals.

“[Art] is all wet-on-wet,” said Dorji Gyeltshen. “In watercolour, once you start painting, you have to complete it. If you spoil it, then you throw that piece. After the first layer, you have to know what the second layer is.”

The exhibition ends tomorrow.