Fest: Bhutan will see its arts and artistic works rise to new height after Bhutan Arts Festival, an event scheduled as part of the first Annual Bhutan International Festival (BhiF) from February 14 to 23.

The event will celebrate creativity and artistic talents. Galleries in Thimphu will exhibit works of national and international painters, illustrators, sculptors and other artists.

The National Institute for Zorig Chusum will open an exhibition of traditional Bhutanese arts at Le Meridien in Thimphu, and Royal Academy of Performing Arts (RAPA) will collaborate with Bhutan Internation al Festival (BhiF) to showcase classical musical dances and hold several musical workshops throughout the festival.

Justin Wickham, artistic director of BhiF, said that the festival is a celebration of the creative arts and of the idea that collaboration gives birth to inspiration. “We have so many fun activities to see and do…There will be music, dance and many other things to enjoy at the Centenary Park, for instance.”

According to BIF arts coordinator Punam Teng the collaboration project and workshop depicting the pottery scene in Bhutan will be one of the major highlights of the festival. She said that there are just about six potters in the country, and only two of them know the traditional Bhutanese wood firing technique. This technique or art could die or disappear with them. The festival is trying to resurrect this art.  “We are planning to document their journey from Gangzur in Lhuentse and all the way in Thimphu,” she said.

The Centenary Park will host several interactive projects where the young and old can get involved and bring out their artistic talents.

Said Hauke Ziessler, International Arts Coordinator: “The festival will provide local artist to interact with international artists. We are hoping that new boundaries can be formed and new ideas can be invented to enhance cross-border relations and to boost both local and international arts.”

Two international experts – a pottery expert and a kiln building expert – will have a kiln made and installed at the VAST Gallery in Thimphu and teach new techniques of making pots.

VAST will also hold open National Arts Competition until November 11, 2015 to observe the 60th Birth Anniversary of the Fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck.

“Besides traditional and contemporary, we will also have a display of fusion arts. It’s about artists wanting to do modern arts without losing traditional touches or roots. Artists from outside will also come and add Bhutanese elements to it,” said Punam Teng. “We will also have painters, sculptors, graffiti artists, a clown, and paper puppet maker. They will be working with their counterparts before the festival and display their works at the Centenary Park.”

Happy Valley Theater will organise a live theatre and dance performance will be held at the Clock Tower Square in Thimphu.

And in collaboration with Greener Way, the festival will engage young people to make collage and sculptures from trash.

“A majority of the workshops and live arts projects related to the arts festival will be held at the Centenary Park,” said Punam Teng.

“It’s all about building a strong platform that supports the arts and to provide outlets for creativity and performance of all kinds,” Justin Wickham said.

BhiF is a new collaborative arts festival in Bhutan. The proceeds from the arts festival will go on to support arts, music, dance and theatre in Bhutan.

For more information, call Punam Teng at 77372224