To promote and explore the world of contemporary art in the country and to celebrate the friendship between Bhutan and Singapore, more than 30 paintings were exhibited in Thimphu on May 5.

Themed ‘colours of love’, the exhibition showcased works of 16 Singaporean artists from Aspiration Fine Arts, and nine artists from Voluntary Artist’s Studio, Thimphu Bhutan (VAST).

Founder of VAST, Asha Karma, said he is grateful to Gyalwa Dokhampa for bringing the artists of two countries together. “We all love art. Art provides an opportunity to be ourselves, to be calm, and bring us together.”

He said that art is a universal language and that language is love. “Love needs colour. This exhibition tonight is providing this colour.”

A 23-year-old Sangeeta Rai is one of the youngest artists to have her works featured at the exhibition. “Art to me is something that goes beyond what one can see in a picture, that which is unseen. It is a language of life. Pictures contain deep meanings.”

She said it took her about a week to paint one while she completed another one in a day.

President of Aspiration Fine Arts, Lin Lu Zai, said the exhibition is a fitting sequel to last year’s exhibition ‘loving the earth’ held in Singapore that the Drukpa Singapore and Aspiration Fine Arts organised.

“When His Eminence encouraged us to hold a similar charity exhibition in Bhutan with VAST, we agreed readily as this is another meaningful opportunity for us to do good with what we love doing.”

He said that Singaporean artists have raised a fund of about USD 10,000 that will be donated to VAST, Draktsho vocational training centre for special children and youth, and Ability Bhutan Society.

Chand Bhattarai had been a member of VAST since 2005. “When I don’t paint, I work in an animation studio. I have always wanted to be in a creative field and VAST has been a huge part in defining my career.”

In his paintings, he said that he has played with the element of rainbow colours, light and prism. “Art is food for your soul. It keeps you calm and relaxed. You can think better.”  Two paintings took about a month and a half, he said.

Another participant, Pema Gyeltshen had been a full time artist for about six years now. He joined VAST in 1998. “My arts today are religion based. Art is what I love to do the most and I want to keep contributing to the contemporary art scene in the country.”

About 25 artists were awarded certificates for participation.

Asha Karma said that members of VAST have helped each other grow as contemporary artists in a non-existing contemporary art culture and developed a strong sense of style and aesthetic.

“As a torchbearer of the contemporary art, I hope all artists, young and old, will continue to dedicate soul and energy to take the frontier of contemporary art to new heights without compromising our age-old traditional art.”

HRH Princess Dechen Yangzom Wangchuck inaugurated the exhibition that VAST in collaboration with Drukpa Singapore organised.

The art works will be open to public from May 8 until the end of this month at the Bhutan art gallery at Le Meridien.

Rinchen Zangmo