Artist’s Talk on Contemporary Tibetan Art

Photo by Mapem Lanigan

This talk on Contemporary Tibetan art with Tenzing Rigdol was hosted in the Frederic Lasserre Building and was well-attended. Renowned contemporary Tibetan artist, Tenzing Rigdol, discussed the practice and method behind his avant-garde artwork. In the talk, he addressed the importance of the placement of elements and medium, linking Degas’ ballerinas to the form and composition of Buddhist deities in traditional Tibetan art. Looking at his own creative processes, Rigdol identified human conflicts, politics, and tradition as the driving forces behind his thought-provoking artwork. Rigdol also explained that his work is inherently political, drawing on his Ripple Series, which is reflective of his exilic experience in New York. The artist also described the thought-process behind his Proposal Series, in which he attempted to reconstruct traditional Tibetan art by stripping away the various Chinese, Indian and Nepalese styles that over time have influenced depictions of Buddhist deities.

Rigdol’s presentation was followed by a discussion involving members of the UBC, Nepali and Tibetan communities. One of the most powerful questions raised during the discussion was about the social consequences of Rigdol’s political artwork, to which Rigdol replied, “I try to be as honest as I can, and sometimes it isn’t what people like.”

This event was sponsored by the Himalaya Program, the Contemporary Tibetan Studies Program, and the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory.

Photos by Mapem Lanigan


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