An exhibit of some 30 spectacular tangka paintings by virtuoso Tibetan artist, sculptor, architect and teacher Samten Dakpa will by on display at Tibet House US starting September 14.
“Samten Dakpa’s artwork is one of the most impressive bodies of work I have ever seen of traditional Tibetan art forms such as tangka painting,” says Robert Thurman, Tibet House’s president, who later asked the artist to design the exterior of Tibet House’s Menla retreat in Phoenicia, NY.
Samten, who came to the US in March 2003, says most of the tangkas for this extensive exhibition were completed during the past two years. He had a large exhibition of 36 tangkas in Dublin six years ago.
Samten uses traditional techniques but imparts great precision and delicacy of line and color to his paintings. With touches of humor, he depicts his visions of the magical world of the Tibetan gods and seeks to convey the peacefulness and balance that are the core of the tangka tradition.
As Samten explains, tangkas are painted on canvas with tempura, a medium in which pigments are mixed with casein or egg instead of oil. The water soluble mineral and organic pigments are tempered with an herb and glue solution.
In addition to painting, Samten also creates stone sculptures and complete architectural designs of buildings. A notable example is his comprehensive design of the Nalanda International Institute in Karnataka, India, which included the building’s sculpture and paintings. Working with his team of students, they completed the two-year project in 2003.
The 31-year-old artist, who began painting Tibetan tangkas when he was eight years old, taught art in the Longshod monastery in Rabshi, Kham (eastern Tibet) at age 16. He then won admission to the master school conducted by Kun Sung, the most renowned tangka painter in Tibet, and studied under him for four years.
Upon completion of his studies, Samten took a crucial exam with other outstanding artists in Tibet and China for certification as a top artist by the Chinese authorities. Although the youngest student, he came in second among the 300 artists in the competition.
Samten was then picked to join a team of painters commissioned by the Chinese government to paint a scroll tangka two meters wide and 600 meters long. The world’s longest tangka, it took Samten and his associates more than nine months to complete.
Samten fled Tibet after he was arrested and jailed twice by Chinese authorities. He made his way to Nepal, India and eventually the US.
Official Website: http://www.tibethouse.org/exhibitions/index.html
Added by this is emily on July 20, 2006