Chhimi Dema

The Eight Medicine Buddhas sit on the medicinal plant myrobalan or aruna fruit.

The Buddhas, according to the winner of the National Design and Arts Competition (NDAC) in the sculpture category Dawa Penjor, were sculpted with prayers for peoples’ wellbeing during the pandemic.He is an instructor at the National Institute for Zorig Chusum.

“We pray to the Medicine Buddha for its blessing in this unprecedented time. So the sculpture I made was an offering with prayers for wellbeing of all,” he said.

The unique element of the sculpture, Dawa Penjor said is the statue of Chana Dorji (Vajrapani) which represents His Majesty’s efforts and sacrifices made during the pandemic.

“The competition was a good experience to showcase our skills and let people understand the significance of the Eight Medicine Buddha,” he added.

The Textile Museum under the Department of Culture, Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs and the Royal Textile Academy of Bhutan (RTA) organises the NDAC annually in seven categories namely weaving (gho and kira), embroidery, traditional painting and contemporary art, sculpture, and wood craving.

According to a press release RTA issued, the objective of the national-level competition is to promote the unique arts and crafts of Bhutan by encouraging and providing a befitting platform and recognition to artisans under the Royal Patronage of Her Majesty the Queen Mother Sangay Choden Wangchuck.

The competition was supported by the government, and Mr and Mrs Bickell from the USA.

The results of the competition were declared on April 27.

A total of 21 participants won various positions in the seven categories. Tashi Zangmo and Jamyang Dolma bagged the first position in weaving gho, and Tshering Yangki from Lhuntse stood first in the weaving kira.

Mani Dorji, Yangchen, and Mani secured first in embroidery, and Gyembo Wangchuk from Tashiyangtse in the traditional painting.

Tshering Dendup from Zhemgang won the wood carving.

The top three winners of each category were awarded cash prizes of Nu 1,20,000, Nu 65,000 and Nu 32,500.

Another winner, Tandin Wangdi, who won in the contemporary art category, painted the artwork called ‘Transformation’ with acrylic paints.

The artwork shows Chana Dorji sinking into Akshobhya which represents the eternal mind.

This immersion, Tandin Wangdi said represents anger dissolving with help of meditation. “With the current events of war and pandemic, this artwork is to show to find peace within.”

He said that the competition helps to keep them inspired to enhance their skills. “I am grateful to VAST Bhutan and RTA for this opportunity.”

The competition received 157 entries; 58 kiras, 23 ghos, 7 embroidery pieces, 11 traditional paintings, six sculpture works and wood carving pieces for each category, and 46 contemporary artworks.