Friday, December 14, 2007

Tibetan Refugees Paint a Life in Exile

Recently here in Aberdeen there have been many Tibetan-inspired events. Just two days ago I found myself treated to a performance by Tibetan monks from the Drepung Lumbum monastery in India (Especially good was the sacred yak dance, complete with sacred yak.) Today I visited Aberdeen Arts Centre to see an exhibition entitled "Journey into Exile". In the Arts Centre cafe the walls were lined with drawings and paintings by Tibetan Refugee children, recently arrived in Kathmandu and Dharamsala. I have stated before and shall say again, this blog has no political agenda, but exile has now become part of the history and culture of the Tibetan people, so I shall go ahead and post the few pictures I could carry on my phone. I shall include the original text given to each picture beneath them all, plus my own little comments in red. Sorry for the bad quality, I tried really, really hard to get the light reflections out of the way, often by waving paper in the air and standing precariously on chairs.

1. Illegal flags

"Being shot by Chinese soldiers for raising the Tibetan flag."
It's quite disturbing that most of these scenes aren't made up.

2. Imprisonment

"A young child's drawing of Tibetan people who have been imprisoned."

3. The cost of Crying Freedom
"A representation of Tibetans being tortured and killed by Chinese soldiers for taking part in peaceful demonstrations in which they called for freedom and human rights for the Tibetan people."

4. Tibetan Yak

"The Yak is bound up with Tibetan identity, and plays a major role in the social life and economical status of the region."
The poem was underneath, I'm not sure if it's the same as the text at the bottom of the picture. I like how the sun and the moon are there between the mountains, and plus I love yaks, making this one of my favourites.

5. Torture

"A depiction of torture methods that are known to be used by the Chinease on Tibetans."

6. Idyllic scene
"The artist chose to depict a peaceful countryside scene."

A rarely seen representation of mountainous, snowy Tibet.

7. My Beloved Country

"A teenage artist's rendition of a powerful image by Rapkar Kangchuk on a book cover, showing a dove lifting a Chinese flag which is covering the land of Tibet."
I Like how in the background you can see me desperately waving a leaflet around trying to keep the light from reflecting off the glass cover.

8. Homeland

"A Tibetan scene: Monks debating in the monastry courtyard, pilgrims circumambulating the monastery, prayer flags on the mountain top in the distance, and on the right a nomad camp with guard dog and yaks."

You can't see it, but this monastery was beautifully penned.

9. Tibetan Flags

"Tibetan flags surround Potala Palace, the traditional seat of the Dalai Lama."

10. The Dalai Lama

11. Choeden's Story

I couldn't find the commentary for this one, so I'm not sure what Choeden's story is about, but it seems to involve people being shot while crossing the mountains.

12. Mountains

I love this picture, it's so intricate and colourful. In the real version the purple is more pronounced, making it look like that dream you had before you woke, the one you forgot but knew was really cool.

13. Young Married Women

The children at work.

There were a few other pictures hanging up, but I didn't have enough memory on my phone to snap them all. Some of them included scenes as diverse as the Dalai Lama and assorted exiles parachuting into Potala Palace, and a picture called "The Death of my Brother", where the said brother is being executed for supporting an unoccupied Tibet.

The exhibition is running from the 1st to the 21st of December, 2007 at the the Aberdeen Arts Centre. Admission is free so if you're in the area pop in and have a look. It is run by Art Refuge, a charity giving Tibetan children the chance to paint and play and get over the traumatic experiences they've been through. You can find them here: I have all of these photos in higher definition, so if you'd like to get a closer look then feel free to contact me.


oozootree said...

Amazing pictures. An interesting and thought provoking blog. Can't wait to hear more about current Tibeten culture, keep it coming.

Caoimhin said...

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Liudmila said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Liudmila said...

Terrible. A year ago that video about chinese soldiers shooting tibetans, now these pics... Want to pass this address to my buddhist friends. I'm very impressed.

Tim said...

Good Job! :)

HannĂ¼ said...

Couldn't help noticing these children's drawings were very political. I wonder how these children have been politicized, by the Chinese government, the Tibetans or others? In any case it's sad.

Dialogues Tibetan Dialogues Han

Tenitachi said...

HannĂ¼: Yes, that thought often occurred to me too. I often wonder when I see these pictures what sort of child supervisor would encourage them to draw such images and re-live such awful moments of thier life.

Your book looks very interesting, I'm definately going to look at it further!

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