When an artist from Goa leaves an impression in Bhutan
An artist based in Mapusa played a role in cultural exchanges between the countries of India and Bhutan via an art exhibition that evoked great response from the other side of the border. Smruti Sirsat, founder of ArtRevolution, conducted an art exhibition in Bhutan to celebrate 50 years of India-Bhutan friendship
To celebrate the 50 years of diplomatic relations between Bhutan and India,an exhibition called ‘An art expedition to the land of the Thunder dragon’ was held earlier this monthin Bhutan, at the Nehru-Wangchuck Cultural Centre, Thimphu.
There were a total of 35 artworks (paintings) on display at the exhibition that was organised under ArtRevolution, a platform for artists to showcase their art at a national and international level. Director and Founder of ArtRevolution, Smruti Sirsat, said that the purpose of the exhibition was to interactwith Bhutanese artists and learn about their style of working and process of producing art. “Only by travelling to another country and mingling with their artists do we get to know their culture and understand the people better,” she said. Smruti who participated in the exhibition as well, added that “art is the best thing to bring people together.” The artworks are from 16 Indian and four Bhutanese artists from Vast Bhutan, namely, Pema Tintin Tshering, founder member of Vast Bhutan, and Pema Gyeltshen, to be a part of this Indo-Bhutan cultural exchange along with Dr Anchal Roshni Agarwal,Deepak Gupta,Nisha Iyer, Santosh Kumar Sharma,Aarti Lalchandani,Divya Uppal,Dr Rekha Kakkar,Neetu Goli,Brijendra Shakya,Rashmi Saxena,Pankaj Agarwal,Aarti Verma,Ruchi Sharma,Priyanka Yadav and Dr Bhawana Acharya from India. As part of the exhibition, a live painting workshop titled ‘Bliss of Buddha’ was also held during the duration of the ten-day-long exhibition. “This workshop aimed at a cultural exchange between the Indian and Bhutanese artists. We welcomed artists from Vast Bhutan to participate as guest artists in our show and I’m grateful to Tse Ring-Wangchuck and Karzin Choden for their support, “ stated Smruti. Eleven fifth-year students from National Institute of Zorig Chusum and members from Vast Bhutan participated in the workshop. Smruti Sirsat said that for better cultural exchange, the live paintings made by the participants will be brought to India and be exhibited here. She added that as most participants are from National Institute of Zorig Chusum, they would get to learn how the local artists work.“Looking at a painting when it is ready is different from looking at it when they are working on it,” she said, adding, “Seeing how it is made and their techniques is something very enriching.” She added that when an artist is working, people get to know what the artist’s thought process is and their techniques such as their brush strokes help provide insight into the art and the culture of the place their from. “It is very important to involve local artists whenever I exhibit in a new country as there is so much we can learn from them.I have chosen Bhutan due to its natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, which very few people have had the privileged to explore so far. Art has no borders and it is imperative that one’sart has toreachall corners of the world and not get stifled or restricted to one’s home country,” expressed Smruti. One of the participants, Kezang Dawa, said that as they study traditional art, the workshop is a good opportunity to compare and gain more experience. “It is important for artists to mingle and share their works as we can exchange ideas and gain experiences from our differences.” “I would like to thank the Vast Bhutan team,Deepti Rani Subba and Dr Anchal Roshni Agarwal who have contributed immensely to make this show a great success and send out a message of friendship and harmony ,” added Smruti. Talking about the larger picture and the aim behind such an international exhibition, the Mapusa based artist said that it was in line with her many quests to connect with people from different ethnicities and diversities. While pointing out that ArtRevolution is a platform for upcoming artists as well as artists with unique art styles,using unconventional mediums and styles. She further described her work as ‘art assemblage’. “An assemblage artist, in my initial days, I had an unconventional style of work faced a lot of resistance from art connoisseurs. One needs to believe in their own style, and be a pioneer,” she advised.
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