Gyempo Wangchuk, “Harmony of Four Friends” (2014), natural pigments mixed with soil and stone on canvas, 3’10” x 4’8″ inches

Voice of the Thunder Dragon is one of the first group exhibitions of Bhutanese contemporary art in the United States.

Comprised of 25 paintings by artists Asha Kama, Pema “Tintin” Tshering, Phurba Namgay, and Gyempo Wangchuk, the show offers unique insight into the Himalayan kingdom’s burgeoning contemporary art scene. This pop-up exhibit opens at 263 Bowery on February 11, 2017 and remains on view until February 28, 2017.

Nestled in the Western portion of the Himalayan mountain range, Bhutan is one of the last surviving Himalayan kingdoms. Although small in size, particularly in comparison to its land neighbors India and China, Bhutan is becoming an increasingly powerful voice in the call for conservation of traditional identities, the protection of natural resources, and the importance of happiness in political models. Bhutan has long resisted the forces of modernity, globalization, and industrialization, maintaining isolationist policies and a close connection to its traditional culture. Within the aesthetic system of Bhutanese traditional art, the art object functions as a tool to provide the viewer greater access to spiritual Enlightenment. The works on view offer an alternative, oscillating between contemporary and traditional Bhutanese modes of aesthetic representation.

The exhibition is curated by filmmaker, art collector, and entrepreneur Maxwell S. Joseph. Having studied at the Yale film school, NYU Tisch, and the New York Film Academy, Joseph concurrently directed and produced a feature documentary film, Where the Wind Blows, exploring the Westernization of Bhutan through the lens of contemporary art, which will premiere in June 2017.

Voice of the Thunder Dragon opens on February 11 at 263 Bowery and continues through February 28.

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