Trapped in a bot­tle A tra­di­tional artist de­picts ill-ef­fects of al­co­hol

Bhutan Times - - Home - Deki Lha­zom

Some­times, it takes only a trig­ger to find ex­pres­sion to your artis­tic skills. For Gyempo Wangchuk, 28, the loss of his fa­ther to al­co­hol acted as the trig­ger.

For this 28-year-old grad­u­ate of the In­sti- tute of Zorig Chusum from Trashiyangtse, art is some­thing that helps him say what he wants to with­out ut­ter­ing a word. And this is what he has done in an un­usu­ally cre­ative piece of art.

He was so grief-stricken by the death of his fa­ther that he de­cided to put his skills on can­vas. The re­sult­ing fine work of art sums up the bad ef­fects of al­co­hol. The paint­ing done in the tra­di­tional Bud­dhist icono­graphic style is in the shape of a bot­tle. Trapped in­side the bot­tle are all kinds of ill­ef­fects of al­co­hol.

At a glance, the paint­ing is an im­age of death, sick­ness, and suf­fer­ing. It’s an im­age of ail­ing, wail­ing hu­man be­ings trapped in a con­stric­tive space. At a closer look, though, there are many de­tails to take note of.

Gyempo ex­plains that the cap­sules, sy­ringes, and stetho­scopes in the paint­ing are a metaphor for tire­less ef­fort of med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als to save his fa­ther’s life. He help­lessly watched his fa­ther die in agony. He de­picted him­self in the paint­ing as a rab­bit, his birth sign, help­lessly wit­ness­ing the whole scene.

Gyempo says he has been an art en­thu­si­ast from a very young age. For him, art is a pow­er­ful means of ex­pres­sion. But no artis­tic in­spi­ra­tion for him has been more sub­lime than his fa­ther’s death. “I still dread the mem­ory of that day when I saw my fa­ther die from al­co­hol,” he said. “It was when I re­al­ized that I have to make peo­ple aware of what al­co­hol can re­ally do to peo­ple.’’

Gyempo says he was a “nor­mal guy” with a nor­mal dream un­til his fa­ther’s death in 2013.

The paint­ing took him three months. He put his heart and soul into the paint­ing to pour all his emo­tions into it. And his emo­tions have come out in the paint­ing in all its forms. Bad and hor­ri­fy­ing ef­fects of al­co­hol like anger, mem­ory loss, and vom­it­ing are de­picted in the paint­ing.

The paint­ing also de­picts a pop­u­lar Bud­dhist tale of a celi­bate monk who slept with a woman and slaugh­tered a goat after get­ting drunk. The story de­picts al­co­hol as the three root causes of evil.

The cap of the bot­tle is shown sur­rounded by hu­man heads which, ac­cord­ing to Gyempo, means that few peo­ple can come out clean from al­co­hol ad­dic­tion. The chain around the neck of the bot­tle is a metaphor for al­co­holics who are shack­led like pris­on­ers for­ever.

The paint­ing also de­picts the sun over­shad­owed by clouds which rep­re­sents his fa­ther’s un­timely death. A wine glass and a wooden cup, half filled with blood, sym­bol­ize al­co­hol. The bot­tle is painted against the back­drop of prayers with which the artist seeks to find a place for his fa­ther in a par­adise.

Gyempo says that artists like him have a lot of mes­sages to con­vey. He is cur­rently runs his own stu­dio and col­lab­o­rates with VAST.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Bhutan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.