Their art pieces will be exhibited today in Thimphu

Art: A weeklong art camp comprising of artists from the Maldives and Bhutan comes to an end with an exhibition at the Nehru Wangchuck Cultural Centre (NWCC) today.

The ‘Artists Camp’ Bhutan is an art exchange initiative. A total of five artists from Maldives and 10 artists from Bhutan are participating in the camp.

Voluntary Artists’ Studio in Thimphu (VAST)’s founder Asha Kama said unlike the other art camps, this is an art exchange initiative in the form of an art camp.

“The initiative is aimed at bringing artists together from the region, helping them learn more about art in a more interactive manner without any boundaries or protocols,” Asha Kama said. “This also helps young Bhutanese artists to learn different art techniques and art forms from the Maldivian artists. In this way, it promotes a stronger and a deeper understanding of art within the region.”

It’s an opportunity for young and old artists in the region to showcase their talents and understand new art trends in the region, Asha Kama added. Since the artists know each other through previous art camps held in different countries, it is easier for them to interact, which in turn creates a deeper bond of friendship among the artists.

The same camp will be held in Maldives as well where Bhutanese artists will be invited to share and create different artworks in an art camp in the coming months.

An artist from Maldives, Aishath Huda, 32, has been studying art all her life. She finds it exhilarating to paint amidst the picturesque and peaceful backdrop of mountains in Bhutan.

“Such art exchange programmes are important because one always learn more through interacting with other artists and about their culture. Although an artist doesn’t realise how much they have learnt, others can see the improvements in their artworks,” Aishath Huda said.

Aishath Huda is impressed by the close relationship among the Bhutanese art community. “Art in Bhutan is growing and spreading quickly since all the artists are working tirelessly for it. This is a lesson we can take away back home.”

Aishath Huda mostly works on abstract paintings.

While another Maldivian artist, Hussain Ali Manik, 46, already knows most of the Bhutanese artists through similar art camps held in the past.

“It’s good to meet the artists once again through such camps, it helps us to interact more and learn from each other in a better way,” he said. “The art camp helps artists know more about the various art forms found in Asia and also about different cultures. It has been an interactive camp and I would love to come back again.”

Hussain Ali Manik is a well-known painter, sculptor and graphic designer in the Maldives.

While a participant from VAST, Gyempo Wangchuk, 29, said through such art camps and interactions, it helps artists to break away from the norms of traditional painting.

“I’ve been painting in the traditional way all my life and it has been difficult to break away from it because there is little or no way to explore beyond it. Through such camps, I learn how to mix traditional and contemporary art to create artworks of my own,” Gyempo Wangchuk said. “It’s important for both art forms to flourish so that art community grows in the country.”

The participant’s work will be displayed in an exhibition, which will begin from 5:30pm at NWCC today.

VAST organised the art camp, which started from August 8.

Thinley Zangmo