The graffiti artworks, a French artist installed incognito, on numerous places in Thimphu, Punakha, and Paro have been removed, Kuensel has learnt.

The artist also posted pictures of his work on a culvert in Thinleygang, and other areas in Paro and Thimphu on his Instagram handle, #invaderwashere towards the end of last month including Cheri Goenpa monastery and a choeten on the way to Paro Taktshang.

Sources in home ministry confirmed that officials from the division of cultural properties visited the monastery and removed the installations.

Home ministry officials said they are studying the issue.

“It’s premature to say anything about the issue at this point,” home minister Dawa Gyaltshen said,  adding that the ministry would share details once the ministry comes to a conclusion on the matter.

The artist’s installation at the Clock Tower Square has also been removed, however, it is not known who removed it.

The graffiti artist came under strong criticism for posting a video clip after installing an art piece that resembled a Tibetan mandala made of tiles on a wall inside Cheri Goenpa monastery.

However, some locals on social media expressed regret on the destruction of the artwork in the public places.

Some said that the guide and the tour operator should have properly informed the artist not to put up his installations on such cultural heritage sites.

Cheri Goenpa monastery carries special significance in the country’s history. Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel built it in 1620. It is believed that the central monastic body was first established at Cheri.

The monastery is under restoration to consolidate and rehabilitate the Goenpa to its original glory. It is one of the most significant monasteries in the country the government prioritised to restore with internal funding.

The works on site commenced from last February. Funded by the government, the Nu 100-million-project is carried out by the Department of Culture.

Tshering Palden