Art: Thirty-eight artists from South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Artists’ Camp are in the capital to showcase their artworks based on the theme ‘Ancient Landscape – Nature at its Best’.

Karma Tshering Wangchuk, programme officer with SAARC Cultural Centre, said that the camp allows artists to share their views and ideas.

“It’s an opportunity for artists to showcase their work and learn about the cultural diversity in the SAARC region,” Karma Tshering Wangchuk said. “They can build network and further their friendship outside the camp.”

Azha Kama, the founder of Voluntary Artist’ Studio in Thimphu (VAST) in Thimphu, said the camp is an interactive platform and a perfect opportunity for young Bhutanese artists to learn new techniques.

“Young artists can learn a lot from the veterans at the camp, starting from the way they think while working on the whole process of painting,” Azha Kama said.

Among the 38 participants, there are 10 Bhutanese artists, five from VAST and five from the Institute of Zorig Chusum.

However, there are also challenges that the artists face at the camp.

“We lack proper infrastructure to support artisans in the country,” said Azha Kama. The event is currently being held in a hotel, which is not a conducive environment for artists who need space for inspiration.

Despite the lack of infrastructure, young artists are getting an international-level exposure through interaction, Azha Kama added.

A participant, Ugyen Rinzin, from the Institute of Zorig Chusum, is painting a fierce tiger. He makes use of both traditional and contemporary techniques.

“Everyone here is an expert on contemporary art. I want to mix the two concepts and put them in my work,” said Ugyen Rinzin. “I’m learning many new things at the camp through interaction and observation.”

An artist from Maldives, Nadeem, who have been a painter for more than 15 years, said the camp has brought in talented artist from the region. “My experience of Bhutan and the camp has been beautiful. I feel like we are one big family because we try to interact with each throughout the time.”

Veteran Bangladeshi painter and illustrator, Professor Naima Haque, said although the time is too short, it’s exciting to be able to participate in the camp. “I hope young artists participating in the camp are able to learn something new about the art of expression. I sure did.”

The participants will exhibit their paintings at Namgay Heritage Hotel in Thimphu today.

The camp is being organised by the SAARC Cultural Centre, Sri Lanka and Department of Culture with Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs.

By Thinley Zangmo