Exhibition: Forty-eight female artists from diverse occupations, backgrounds and age showcased their talents through an art exhibition titled ‘Her Expression’ yesterday in Thimphu.

Organised by Voluntary Artists’ Studio in Thimphu (VAST), the exhibition saw an array of different art forms ranging from abstract paintings, embroidery works, and layered cakes to photography.

Exhibiting her work for the first time was the proprietor of Pal’s Art, Tshomo, 35, who baked a three-layered cake with a traditional theme.

Decorated as a kushuthara’s pattern, Tshomo said, she wanted to express how traditional and feminine Bhutanese women are.

“We are delicate from the outside yet can withstand any form of challenges,” Tshomo said. “Kushuthara, a popular pattern of kira, also represents the complex details and colours, which goes into weaving it.”

Such platform is important to encourage more female artisans to showcase their talents, Tshomo said. She also exhibited some of her embroidery works.

One of the youngest participants was Tashi Dema, 11, who studies in London and is home on holiday.

Tashi Dema exhibited two of her paintings, through which she wanted to express how she sees the world.

“I wanted to express emotion through the flower growing out of the bottle,” she said pointing at her painting. “Like a flower, emotions grow and we shouldn’t hold on to them but move on.”

Similar to Tashi Dema, the exhibition saw several budding and professional female artists. Most are self-taught while few studied art.

VAST’s founder, Azha Karma, said such platforms are extremely important to encourage female artisans to come forward.

“Female artists are under-represented and it is important that they are given such platforms, which opens many avenues,” Azha Karma said. “I am overwhelmed that many female artists are now coming forward to show their works.”

This is the second such exhibition and the first was held last year, which saw about 20 participants.

“It is an annual event and we are planning to turn it into a festival and hopefully as a national event once we have more participants,” Azha Karma said.

Art uplifts one’s life experience, Azha Karma said, adding that it not only shows an artist’s skills but also helps one deal with many emotions.

“One can express happiness or sadness through art and these participants have done an impeccable job today,” he said. “I hope many female artists come forward and be confident to showcase their works in future.”

Her Expression will go on until August 30. Seminars such as talk shows and film screening are also going to be held for free at VAST from August 21 to August 23 from 3pm to 4pm.

Thinley Zangmo