A collaborative project between the Visual Arts Collective /1Shanthiroad Studio/Gallery and Think Tibet


1 Shanthiroad studio, Bangalore

Collaborators: Suresh Jayaram / Shanthamani.

Other participants:

A group of monks from the Dzonga Choede monastery, Hunsur and Patara, a Bangalore-based group that has actively engaged in promoting books via storytelling.

The Studio/Gallery began working with the Tibetan community a little after 8 months of associating with the non-governmental organisation, Think Tibet. In order to gain focus and perspective on the struggles of the Tibetan community, the interested people travelled to Tibetan settlements, met with young Tibetans in the city to understand the reality of living in exile. The Asia Network Artists Grant provided the catalyst and inspiration to finish the project within the limited time frame, having a grant made us responsible and gave us assurance that our curated show could be funded. The intention of the show was to program it as an event that would revolve around the idea of working with the five senses - touch, smell, sound, taste, feel. The aim was to bring out the essence of a culture that believes in peace and is currently under the hegemony of a superpower. The event was intended to move away from the media images of the Tibetan struggle and instead lend our support as a platform for the voice of the Tibetan in exile.

One of the most exciting elements of the showing was the rare opportunity to be part of creating a Mandala. The relocation of the Mandala in a secular space was another attempt to make the sacred more accessible and a building block of the secular structure of urban society.

Story telling with Patara was a successful attempt to invite young children to listen to expert storytellers, who used puppetry as well as maps and images, to narrate and illustrate tales from Tibet.

Two children’s books - Dolma in the City & Dorje’s Holiday at Gyenso Khang - authored by Aravinda Anantharaman, published by Lama Mani books was another project by Think Tibet. This is an initiative to write, design and print stories of life in exile for the young. These two titles were released as part of the inauguration of the event by the Chief Representative of the Southern Tibetan Settlements, Kunga Dorje.

Art work by children from the Tibetan Children’s Village, Bylakuppe, depicting life and times in Tibet, narrations of atrocity and pastoral was displayed.

Text by Suresh Jayram.

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