Yangyel Lhaden

An art exhibition named ‘Colours beyond the wall volume II’, is up for exhibition in Work Space at Changlam Corner, Thimphu, since yesterday.

Youth, who came in conflict with the law and are serving prison term at the Youth Development Rehabilitation Centre (YDRC) drew the art objects.

The art exhibition is a product of a week-long art class conducted by Nazhoen Lamtoen, a non-profit organisation that supports and reintegrates children, who have come in conflict with the law and are in YDRC.

Nineteen youth participated in art class and produced 86 art pieces.

The fund generated from the art exhibition would be used for reintegration programmes when youth complete their sentences in YDRC.

Nazhoen Lamtoen’s executive director, Thinley Tobgyel, said that art has many healing benefits and many a time, children and youth did not have the ability to express their emotions and feeling. “Most children at YDRC belongs to dysfunctional family and are traumatised. Arts can help them express their emotion.”

Two volunteers from VAST conducted the art classes.

A VAST volunteer and freelance artist, Wang, said that in art therapy class, youth were asked to doodle or make any pattern. “This form of art allows individuals to become creative. We can know by choice of colours whether the person is jolly or in a dark mood. Through art pieces, we can make out who is a patient and when they start to lose patience.”

At the exhibition, doodles and patterns fill one portion of the wall. At a glance, the art pieces are an explosion of colours with different patterns. Some are intricate.

At a closer look, the youngest artist in the group, a 13-year-old’s pattern art is filled with warm happy colours but he is hiding his main art piece among those colours.

The artist has perfectly hidden face of a person, red strained eyes from crying.

Wang pointed at a painting and said that with the pattern, the minor has incorporated the face of a person with 69 filled on his face. “He must be a fan of rap and rapper 69.”

In another pattern canvas, Wang pointed out the child lost patience and filled the page with oval shape in blue colour   and only filled pattern at the edges. “In another pattern, the canvas is filled with dark colours with messy scribbles with black.”

He said that in most cases, art could tell how a person is or was going through with the tone of colours they chose and patterns they drew.

An official with Nazhoen Lamtoen said the art exhibition was unique in many ways because the artists were not professional. “In a week-long class, the children were able to transform their imagination into this amazing artwork.”

Loden Foundation’s executive director, Tshewang Tashi, said that she was trying to understand what the artists were trying to tell from their art pieces. “I am very disappointed the artists are not here.”

She said that she wanted to know what these children were trying to say and under what circumstances they ended up doing which lead them to YDRC.

Youth Development Fund’s marketing officer, Sonam Chuki, said that she was amazed in a week-long class, the children were able to come up with beautiful art pieces. “I enjoyed scanning through their amazing artwork.”

The art exhibition will close on April 27.