Art: ‘Her Expression III’ – an exhibition by Bhutanese female artists saw many breaking away from the convention and showcasing artworks that were not only simply beautiful to look at but also conveying significant messages.

There were photographs and artwork that touched on issues that are usually not discussed openly such as the LGBT community, and the different faces people wear in their daily lives.

The exhibition showcases the creative and expressive mind of an artist – ranging from the tender strokes and techniques in each painting to the creative ways they have used it to show their artistic sensibilities.

Yoko Ishigami, a teacher at Pelkhil school, has been participating in the exhibition since it started two years ago. This time she is exhibiting an artwork that she has painted on a silk cloth instead of a normal canvas.

“I want to show the other participants the different techniques one can use to create an artwork. I’m learning so much from the other participants as well,” Yoko Ishigami said. “The turn out of people visiting the exhibition is overwhelming, this shows that people are now appreciating our hard work.”

It was difficult to encourage female artists to participate in the exhibition at first but the turnout of participants is impressive this time, Yoko Ishigami added. “I can see an improvement in techniques used by different artists as well. Despite contemporary art being new in the country, I can see that it’s a good start and a bright future lies ahead for the art community.”

Another participant, Tashi Choden, a corporate employee, said it’s a positive start for every Bhutanese female artist.

“Even the mood here is surrounded by positive energy with colourful artworks everywhere,” Tashi Choden, who is presenting her painting titled ‘Metamorphosis’ where she portrays the indestructible bond between human and nature, said.

Tashi Choden is participating in the exhibition for the first time and she hopes to continue participating for the coming years.

Organised by the Voluntary Artists’ Studio in Thimphu (VAST), the exhibition is aimed at providing a platform for budding, as well as professional female artists, where most are self-taught while few have studied art.

Deepti Rani Subba from VAST said the number of participants for the exhibition has been increasing every year.

“It’s a positive sign for the growth of art in the country especially for women who are not given an equal platform like male artists. The artworks are impressive and we hope to encourage more females to participate,” she said.

VAST’s founder, Azha Kama, said such platforms are extremely important to encourage female artisans to come forward.

“Female artists are under represented and it is important that they are given such platforms, which opens many avenues,” Azha Kama said. “I am overwhelmed that many female artists are participating every year.”

One can express happiness or sadness through art and these participants have done an impeccable job today. I hope many female artists come forward and be confident to showcase their works in future, Azha Kama added.

The weeklong exhibition started in the capital yesterday.

Thinley Zangmo