An expatriate teacher’s view of Bhutan

Tashi Phuntsho

An Indian professional artist who served as a teacher in Bhutan displayed his artwork comprising of 25 illustrations at the Nehru- Wangchuck Cultural Center last week.

Manilal Sabrimala, 56, drew Bhutan’s cultural landscape as he reminisced his 11 years of his stay in the country.

He first came to Bhutan in 1988 as a Biology teacher and began his career from Martshala primary school in Samdrupjongkhar where he stayed for nine years. He then moved to Lauri primary school.

After resigning, Manilal pursued a master’s degree in painting in India and started his professional career as a painter in 2001.

Manilal Sabrimala said that his art show his journey back in time when Bhutan was not as modernised as it is today. Looking at the pictures, one will probably not guess it was done with something as ordinary as a ballpoint pen.

The pictures depict culture, values and life of people in Bhutan, then. Each and every picture is drawn with ball pen in black and white. Every drawing tells the lives and habitats of rural people. They are traditional structural of monasteries, prayer wheels, dzongs, holy scriptures on flags, so that some one can visualise the remote village types during those days.

“Those things actually struck me and later created the kind of drawings,” said Manilal Sabrimala. Adding that some artists in India compelled him to carry on with the same pattern of drawing.

The exhibition is a tribute to Bhutan where he dedicated his service as a teacher. As easy as it may look, it took Manilal two years to complete the 25 drawings.

His main aim of the exhibition is to explore the cultural scape of Bhutan and to pay my tribute through his drawings.

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