Gyempo Wangchuk, a 32 years old man from Bumdeling, Trashiyangtse gave up education at a very early age. He later joined in Rigsum Goenpa and studied Buddhism. Rigsum Goenpa was the place where he found his destiny to become a painter.
He spent six years in National Institute Zhorig Chusum (Thirteen Arts and Crafts) where he practically learnt about traditional paintings. After graduating from Zhorig Chusum, he collaborated with Voluntary Artist Studio Thimphu (VAST). At VAST, he learnt contemporary knowledge and shared traditional arts to others.
Gyempo now owns an Art Gallery at Changzamtog, Thimphu which he started six months ago. His concept of art is based on amalgamation of both contemporary and traditional. He said,” Art gallery runs as per my expectation which gives more importance to the culture and traditions of our country rather than profit.” I aim at bringing happiness and peace through my paintings, he added
Instead of using chemicals for paintings in advanced world of today, Gyempo uses traditional methods; natural colors extracted from stones, sands, branches and roots of trees. His paintings are purchased by the non-Bhutanese and he earns good income. Gyempo sold his highest painting at Nu 5 hundred thousands and the least at Nu 30,000. “The prices of his paintings are less as compared to others ,” he said.
Gyempo pointed out, “Art is not given much importance in our country.” Lack of support from his families and friends demotivated him in the beginning but later with support from his uncle Karma and from VAST, he could set up the business.
Although there is no competition in Bhutan, Gyempo works hard to compete in international arena with the aim to showcase happiness and peace of the country through his paintings and said that he feels proud to represent Bhutan.
In 2012, he received 1st prize in creativity and innovation skills during the 16th Annual National Design and Art competition, organized by Royal Textile Academy. This year he was selected to represent his art in the International Art Competition (I.A.C), organized by Taiwan International Artists Association.
Unlike in the past where art was given importance, Gyempo feels that art may deteriorate if there is no support. He said that if support is rendered to traditional artists, then it can stay as well as to promote and preserve the culture and traditions of our country without any uncertainties.
By Karma Chezom