17th Annual National Design and Art Competition Held In Thimphu To Showcase Bhutanese Art
The competition had three categories – gho, kira and embroidery before 2017. Since then, two new categories - traditional painting and contemporary arts have been added.
By Rinchen Zangmo | Kuensel
To provide a platform for artists across Bhutan to showcase their work and as a recognition of their efforts, 5 winners of the 17th annual National Design and Art Competition (NDAC) were awarded cash prizes and certificates on November 5 in Thimphu.
The competition had three categories – gho, kira and embroidery before 2017. Since then, two new categories - traditional painting and contemporary arts have been added after Mr Alan Bickell and his wife committed to fund the competition for the next five years.
Thoughts and feelings of some of the winners
One of the prize winners in the ‘kira’ category, Thinley Zangmo said that the opportunity was encouraging.
“It has been about four years since I first participated in the competition. Besides earning some money, it also motivates us to come up with different patterns.”
She added that she is keen on creating combinations of different motifs and colours to create new patterns for the kira.
Another participant in the ‘gho’ category, Ugyen Eden, said that it took her about seven months to complete the ‘shinglo jadrema’.
In the market, the weaving fee of the gho alone would cost more than Nu 100, 000.
The winners and their works
“We are grateful for such an opportunity as we can showcase our ability to work on innovative pieces that such competition encourages.”
She said that there are kiras that cost less and she felt that Bhutanese ‘needed to have interest in the cultural attires of the country’.
One of the male participants who has been doing embroidery for 20 years, Pema Wangdi said it was his third time participating in the embroidery category competition. “In all the three times, he bagged second places.”
The top winners were provided a cash prize of Nu 125,000, first runners up were provided Nu 65, 000 and the second runners up were provided Nu 32, 500.
More about the third phase of the Royal Textile Academy’s project
The event also saw the inauguration of the third phase of the Royal Textile Academy’s (RTA) project.
Her Majesty the Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck said at the inauguration that the academy was founded with a mission to educate, promote and preserve Bhutanese textiles.
“It was also to create international awareness and encourage international collaboration to promote mutually beneficial exhibitions and educational programmes.”
The income generated from the building, the Gyalyum said, is important in funding the academy’s programmes and activities, which will play a critical role in sustaining the efforts in fulfilling the academy’s goals.
Following Her Majesty’s visit to the Peabody Museum in Massachusetts in 1992, she started to explore the possibilities of setting up a museum in the country.
“Our efforts were rewarded when the nation’s first textile museum was established in 2001 in Thimphu with support from the government and DANIDA.”
Goals which RTA hopes to achieve
“As we celebrate the inauguration of the third phase, we also look forward to the fourth and the final phase, which is envisioned to include a state-of-the -art conference centre,” she said.
“This will set us firmly on the cause to reach our goals and aspirations of the academy.”
Her Majesty acknowledged the support of the RTA’s friends and donors who have helped in realising the cause of RTA’s aims.
Executive Director, Rinzin O Dorji said that the academy had expanded from a single room office in 2006 to a magnificent complex today.
“As the income would be used to sustain the activities of the RTA, it is therefore of critical importance to our sustenance.”
The office building has a space of about 36,000 square feet. Currently about 47 percent of the RTA office building is rented out.
Rinzin O Dorji said that when discussions were underway for what they should be working on, the idea of the ‘four friends’ came up as consultants were taken in by the idea of ‘four friends’ working together towards one end, which is to preserve and promote the cultural heritage. The ‘four friends’ represent the four phases of the RTA’s project.
She said that the fourth phase would be to complement their activities. The construction is expected to start within one and half years.
“It would support sustainability and help promote 12 other forms of art. It would be a cultural heritage centre and a convention centre although it is still a work in progress.”
This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for the Bhutan Times.