The Art of Bhutanese Happiness

Bhutanese and Singaporean artists collaborate in a visual arts exhibition for the first time

Impressions of Happiness

Exhibition Opening on 11 April 2014, 7pm at Sculpture Square
Singapore, 2 April 2014 – Bhutanese and Singaporean artists jointly collaborate for the first time in Singapore to showcase artworks that embody the concept of happiness, and to raise funds for less-privileged young talents from Bhutan and Singapore. The exhibition, titled Impressions of Happiness, will be opened on Apr. 11, 2014 at 7.00pm and runs till Apr. 18, 2014, in the Chapel Gallery at Sculpture Square.

Organised by Druk Asia Pte Ltd and initiated by the Singapore Bhutan Foundation, the exhibition is in support of the International Young Artists Exchange (IYAE) and Voluntary Artists Studio (VAST) Bhutan. The Impressions of Happiness exhibition will feature the works of internationally acclaimed Bhutanese artists such as the winner of Bhutan’s National Order of Merit Gold Medal (2010), Mr Kama Wangdi and founder of Datog Art Gallery in Bhutan, Mr Rinchen Wangdi. It will also feature young and upcoming Bhutanese artists and Singaporean artist, Lian Cherng Zhi.

The concept of happiness is central to Bhutanese belief and indicated in the country’s unique measure of success – its Gross National Happiness. This exhibition is an insight into the notion of happiness as practised by the Bhutanese.

Mr Koh Boon Long, Chairman of the Singapore Bhutan Foundation, says: “The Singapore Bhutan Foundation aims to share with the community in Singapore the culture, history and the concept of happiness, which is very close to the heart of Bhutanese people. The exhibition is both an educational and cultural initiative which the Singapore Bhutan Foundation hopes will encourage the local community to know more about Bhutan.”

This exhibition features artworks of Bhutanese artists experimenting with both Western and Bhutanese techniques and mediums, and their interpretation of traditional Bhutanese themes such as Buddhist iconography, Bhutanese subjects, landscapes and way of life. It is a successful rendition of how ancient values and ideals can be represented in a contemporary art form.

Exhibiting for the first time in Singapore, Mr Kama Wangdi, 56, shares: “For Bhutanese artists, combining the rigorous and structured traditional style with the more expressive form of contemporary art is still a new territory. The artists must respect the traditional Bhutanese and Buddhist themes and at the same time have a mature sense of creativity to portray a modern perspective of these traditional and religious subjects. This exhibition is truly a celebration of the captivating works of contemporary art being produced by various Bhutanese artists.”

Part of the sale proceeds from the artworks on display will go to two arts causes - IYAE and VAST Bhutan. IYAE funds exchange programmes for both Singapore and international young talents from financially-disadvantaged backgrounds. VAST Bhutan is a pioneer non-profit arts organisation that champions contemporary arts and provides young Bhutanese artists with the opportunity to pursue the arts. VAST Bhutan has trained more than 1,000 young people and some of who are from difficult backgrounds. The organisation has produced many fine artists and some of the young artists participating in this exhibition are beneficiaries of this social cause.

The exhibition will also feature works by local artist, Lian Cherng Zhi, 35. Cherng Zhi has travelled and presented his sketches in many countries including Germany, China and Bhutan. Druk Asia Pte Ltd, Bhutan’s local tour operator and representative of the Royal Bhutan Airlines, had commissioned Cherng Zhi to paint a series of artworks for their 2014 calendar.

Cherng Zhi says: “Art is a tool to comprehend the human condition. As a traveling artist, I record the visages of the people I meet, places I’ve visited and the cultural experiences. Bhutan opened my eyes to a new perspective of life. It was an inspiring journey of self-discovery for me and I have captured this essence in my artworks.”

There will also be a book launch on Apr. 12, as part of the exhibition. Titled, History of Bhutan and written by Bhutanese scholar, Dr. Karma Phuntsho, this is the first book to chronicle the history of Bhutan in English. The book will be available for sale.

The organisers will also be screening Forgotten Treasures directed by filmmaker Pek Siok Sian. The film tells the story of a fascinating ancient world faced with modernity. The film will be screened on Apr. 13.

Bhutan Ambassador to Singapore, Mr Dasho Kesang Wangdi, will officially open the Impressions of Happiness exhibition on Apr. 11, 7.00pm in the Chapel Gallery, Sculpture Square. Thereafter, the exhibition will be open till Apr. 17 from 10am to 7pm. Admission is free.

Members of the media are invited to the Opening of the exhibition.

Details of the event are as follows:

Date: 11 April 2014, Friday Time: 7.00pm to 8.30pm

Venue: Sculpture Square, 155 Middle Road, Singapore 188977

Programme:

7.00pm Arrival of guests

7.30pm Arrival of Guest-of-Honour, Mr Dasho Kesang Wangdi, Ambassador of Bhutan to Singapore

7.40pm Speech by GOH

7.50pm Tour of exhibition

8.10pm Reception



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Email: yasminbee@toph.com.sg
About the Impressions of Happiness exhibition

Central to their way of life, the Bhutanese people live and breathe happiness. This unique joint exhibition endeavors to spread that philosophy through the artworks of both Bhutanese and Singaporean artists.

The exhibition features artworks, which include paintings and sculpture.

Organised by Druk Asia Pte Ltd and initiated by the Singapore Bhutan Foundation, proceeds from the sale of artworks will be in aid of the International Young Artists Exchange (IYAE) fund and the Voluntary Artist’s Studios Bhutan (VAST Bhutan).
About Druk Asia

Druk Asia is a foremost Bhutan Travel Specialist and the official representative of Drukair, the Royal Bhutan Airlines. Operating since 2009, Druk Asia helps travellers from all over the world customise their trips to Bhutan, enabling them to experience the beauty and hospitality of the Land of the Thunder Dragon.

Licensed in Bhutan, Singapore and Thailand, Druk Asia works closely with a wide range of tourism stakeholders to deliver an unforgettable experience in a lifetime for discerning travellers. As a one-stop travel specialist to Bhutan, we offer packages that focus on cultural activities, festivals, luxurious getaways, trekking, bird watching and photography. Our tours are limited to small groups to give each client meaningful insights into the Bhutanese way of life.

For more information, visit www.DrukAsia.com
About the Singapore Bhutan Foundation

The Singapore Bhutan Foundation (SBF) was incorporated on 1 Sept 2011 as a non-profit organization. The vision of SBF is: "To be the leading channel for education and cultural exchanges between Singapore and Bhutan."

Since its formation, SBF has organised several Educational and Community Expeditions to Bhutan for members as well as for students in schools, polytechnics, universities and ITE as part of their Community Service Programme. The foundation and its members have also organised talks related to culture and education in Bhutan. In addition, SBF has helped to facilitate the placement of Singaporean volunteer educators to teach in Bhutanese schools.

The Patron of SBF is His Eminence Trizin Tsering Rinpoche. Its Advisors are Mr Er Kwong Wah and Dr Robin Yap. The Chairman and Deputy Chairman are Mr Koh Boon Long and Mr Frankie Chia respectively. There are currently some 121 members in SBF.

Additional information can be found at www.sbtf.asia
About VAST

Bhutan Voluntary Artists’ Studio, Thimphu, popularly known as VAST was set up in 1998 by a group of professional artists as a non profitable and non governmental organization (NGO). This informal organization was set up with the sole aim of providing an opportunity to the Bhutanese youth to participate and develop their potential talents as well as share social responsibilities through artistic explorations and other socially useful and productive work. Its primary objective is to provide potential vocational skills and alternative positive use of free time and facilitate participation in the national and international art realm.

For more information, visit www.vast-bhutan.org
About the International Young Artists Exchange fund

The International Young Artists Exchange (IYAE) is a programme that gives promising young artists from disadvantaged backgrounds a chance to go on an arts education and exchange programme outside of their home country to further their growth, develop their talent and give them hope for a brighter future.

The IYAE exchange programme will invite underprivileged yet artistically-talented children selected from their home countries to come to Singapore where they will be housed, learn our culture, meet children of similar circumstances.

Similarly, the IYAE exchange will see Singapore’s artistically-talented children from disadvantaged homes being given an opportunity to visit another country where they will showcase their talents internationally, open their eyes to new cultures, meet locals, build self-esteem and come home to share their experiences.
About Sculpture Square

Ltd Sculpture Square Ltd is a non-profit, independent arts organisation and a registered charity under the Singapore National Arts Council. It is Singapore's first and only art space dedicated to the promotion, development and regional exchange of contemporary 3-dimensional (3D) art. Since its inception in 1999, Sculpture Square has been a pioneer player in the local visual arts scene, especially in recognising and nurturing young talent. Individual and collaborative exhibitions, regional artist exchanges, artist residencies and symposiums provide opportunities for both new and established artists to grow in the field of 3D art.

For more information, visit www.sculpturesq.com.sg

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