A cel­e­bra­tion of cre­ativ­ity and artis­tic works

Bhutan Times - - Home - Staff Re­porter/ Thim­phu

Arts and artis­tic works will be el­e­vated to a new pedestal dur­ing the Bhutan Arts Fes­ti­val, an event run­ning as a part of the first an­nual Bhutan In­ter­na­tional Fes­ti­val ( BhIF) from Fe­bru­ary 14- 23 this year.

In what can be truly de­scribed as a cel­e­bra­tion of cre­ativ­ity and artis­tic works, Thim­phu city’s gal­leries and open spa­ces will ex­hibit works of na­tional and in­ter­na­tional pain­ters, il­lus­tra­tors, sculp­tors and ur­ban artists.

From a myr­iad of ac­tiv­i­ties to mark the arts fes­ti­val, the Na­tional In­sti­tute of Zorig Chusum will have an ex­hi­bi­tion at Le Meri­dien Thim­phu, de­pict­ing best works in tra­di­tional Bhutanese arts by the in­sti­tute’s stu­dents dur­ing the fes­ti­val.

Sim­i­larly, the Royal Academy of Per­form­ing Arts ( RAPA) would be col­lab­o­rat­ing with BhIF in ex­hibit­ing acts in clas­si­cal mu­si­cal dances and sev­eral other mu­si­cal work­shops through­out the fes­ti­val.

BhIF In­ter­na­tional Artis­tic Direc­tor Justin Wick­ham said, “The fes­ti­val is a cel­e­bra­tion of the cre­ative arts, and the idea that col­lab­o­ra­tion brings in­spi­ra­tion.”

“We have so many fun things to see and do. Art in The Park, at the Cen­te­nary Park - we want ev­ery­one to come and play! To have fun, to get in­volved, to paint some­thing, or make some­thing - to en­joy the mu­sic, dance, or just sit and soak up the at­mos­phere,” he added.

A ma­jor high­light of the arts fes­ti­val, ac­cord­ing to arts co­or­di­na­tor of BhIF Pu­nam Teng, is the col­lab­o­ra­tion project and work­shop de­pict­ing the pot­tery scene in Bhutan.

“We have found, through re­search, that there are only six pot­ters in the coun­try, how­ever, only two of them know the tra­di­tional Bhutanese wood fir­ing tech­nique. This tech­nique or art would die or dis­ap­pear with them. So BhIF is try­ing to res­ur­rect this art. We can’t af­ford to lose this tra­di­tion,” she said.

“We are cur­rently plan­ning on doc­u­ment­ing their jour­ney from Gangzur in Lhuentse to all the way in Thim­phu and their par­tic­i­pa­tion through­out the fes­ti­val,” she added.

Hauke Ziessler, In­ter­na­tional Arts Co­or­di­na­tor, said the Cen­te­nary Parks es­pe­cially will host sev­eral in­ter­ac­tive projects, where the young and old can get in­volved and bring out their artis­tic spirit.

“It’s an in­ter­ac­tion be­tween lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional artists. We are hop­ing that new bound­aries can be formed or through this in­ter­ac­tion new ideas can be in­vented that will en­hance cross- bor­der re­la­tions and boost both lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional arts,” he added.

Two in­ter­na­tional ex­perts, one in pot­tery and the other in kiln build­ing, will also have a kiln made and in­stalled at the VAST Gallery in Thim­phu as a joint col­lab­o­ra­tion. “The ex­perts would teach new tech­niques as well as learn about our ideas on pot mak­ing,” Pu­nam Teng said.

Vol­un­tary Artists Stu­dio ( VAST), a non- gov­ern­ment and non- profit or­ga­ni­za­tion set up by pro­fes­sional in­de­pen­dent artists, mean­while, will also have an arts ex­hi­bi­tion at the VAST Gallery in Thim­phu, de­pict­ing the amaz­ing di­ver­sity of paint­ing and drawing of across the na­tion dur­ing the fes­ti­val.

It will also de­clare open the Na­tional Arts Com­pe­ti­tion which will go up to Novem­ber 11, 2015, an event 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,” the BhIF’s arts co­or­di­na­tor said.

“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,” Pu­nam Teng said.

Sim­i­larly, a live theatre and dance per­for­mance is sched­uled at the Clock Tower Square dur­ing the arts fes­ti­val by Happy Val­ley Theater – a group com­pris­ing dancers, singers and other cross- dis­ci­plinary vis­ual artists who con­trib­ute to Bhutanese cul­ture by keep­ing en­dan­gered the­ater­re­lated arts alive.

And in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Greener Way, Pu­nam Teng said they will en­gage some youth to make col­lages and sculp­ture from the col­lected trash. “A ma­jor­ity of the work­shops and live arts projects re­lated to the arts fes­ti­val will be held at the Cen­te­nary Park,” she added.

The pro­ceeds from the arts fes­ti­val will, mean­while, go on to fund arts, mu­sic, dance and theatre in Bhutan, be­sides also sup­port­ing th­ese ar­eas through in­fra­struc­ture and hu­man re­source devel­op­ment.

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

BhIF is a brand new col­lab­o­ra­tive arts fes­ti­val in Bhutan. It’s a non- profit an­nual event – work­ing to build a new ve­hi­cle for the on­go­ing fund­ing of cre­ative arts in Bhutan. Its mission is to pro­vide a plat­form on which artis­tic ven­tures and artis­tic in­di­vid­u­als can flour­ish.

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