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Contemporary Painting from Tibet



If, thinking about Tibetan painting, images of monks uttering mantras while painting compassionate-looking Buddhas spontaneously arise, this event will dissipate not a few misconceptions about Tibetan people and Tibet in general. 

Tibetan contemporary painting has been featured, for the first time in Italy, within the exhibition Tibetan Visions – Contemporary Painting from Tibet, organized by the Italian NGO ASIA Onlus within the wider project “The Commitment of Italian NGOs in Tibet for the safeguard of Tibetan tradition and cultures”, co-funded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

On 13th February 2009 the conference "The Disappearing Myth - Tibetan Painting as a Witness of Transition" has been held at the Museum of Classical Art of the Università “La Sapienza” (Piazzale Aldo Moro, 5 - Rome) at 15.30. This special event have seen the participation, for the first time in Italy, of worldwide known Tibetan painters like Gonkar Gyatso (London), Tserang Dhondup (Lhasa), Benpa Chungda (Lhasa) and Dru-gu Choegyal Rinpoche (Delhi).

The main focus of the whole event has been an exhibition featuring the works by the Tibetan artists Gade, Tserang Dhondup, Benpa Chungda, Dedron, Gonkar Gyatso, Tsewang Tashi, Dru-gu Choegyal Rinpoche and Drimey Lodru. Not only jatakas and images of gods of the Buddhist pantheon, but also a Buddha made of ice melting in the river, images of sunflower-headed men, pictures portraying the contrasts which characterize nowadays Tibet.

The exhibition has been held in Rome at Palazzo Pamphilj, in the private apartment of Pope Innocent X, from February 14th to 28th.

In this prestigious apartment, on 21st February 2009, an auction of the works donated by the painters to ASIA Onlus has been held. The proceeds have been allocated to a restoration project of the murals of an ancient temple in Derge County, Eastern Tibet. An on-line auction of the works is on-going on the web site

During the same period, a solo exhibition of Drugu Choegyal Rinpoche was held at Alessandra Bonomo Gallery.

On 16th and 17th February 2009, Italian and Tibetan painters had the opportunity to attend a two-day workshop to exchange ideas and best practices, and to create synergies to compare two traditions, Western and Eastern, characterised by peculiar processes of transformation and, yet, linked by a common sense of belonging to their own tradition, civilisation and cultural identity. 

The event concluded on 3rd March 2009, with the conference “From Thangkas to Pokemon Buddha. A Journey through Tibetan Painting”, which has been held in the Library of the department of Asian Studies of the Università degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale” (Piazza San Domenico Maggiore, 12 – Naples). The conference, among the others, has seen the participation of Tsewang Tashi, Tibetan painter from Lhasa currently studying in Norway. 

About the organizer:

ASIA Onlus, Association for International Solidarity in Asia, is a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) founded in December 1988. The main goal of ASIA is to promote a sustainable economic, social and cultural development of minority populations living in Asia, with particular regard to the Himalayan area. The main fields of intervention are: education, health service, culture, reconstruction, water and sanitation, aid distribution. 

Through the organization of intercultural information events such as exhibitions, workshops, seminars and meetings, ASIA Onlus promotes knowledge and awareness of other cultures, in particular those of the Himalayan region, and contributes to public awareness of subjects related to development co-operation and the management of humanitarian emergency relief with seminars in schools.

For further information, please visit the website: or write to

ASIA Onlus (Association for International Solidarity in Asia)
Via S. Martino della Battaglia 31 – 00185 Rome
Tel. +39.06.44340034; Fax. +39.06.44702620


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