Published: April 26, 2016

From April 4 to 10, 2016 the Tibet Himalaya Initiative (THI) host renowned Tibetan artists Gonkar Gyatso and Dorje Tsering Chenaktsang (Jangbu) for Tibetan Arts Week. Coinciding with the Conference on World Affairs, Tibetan Arts Week gathered students, faculty, and supporters of THI from CU, Naropa University, and the Boulder community throughout the week for a public lecture, film-screening, poetry reading, and art installation. The artists also interacted with THI faculty and graduate students to discuss their work during a lunch colloquium.

gonkar gyatso, installation at boulder creative collective

Art Installation, "1020 Prayers" by Gonkar Gyatso, Photo by Rupak Shrestha

The widely-acknowledged father of contemporary Tibetan art, Gonkar Gyatso, gave an informative autobiographical public lecture on Tuesday April 5, entitled “Buddha in the Bathroom: Appropriation & Pop Culture in Contemporary Tibetan Art,”  describing much of his own artistic training, production, and creative evolution. A public video of his talk, On Sunday, Gonkar completed his first-ever performance art piece entitled “1020 Prayers” at the Boulder Creative Collective Warehouse. At a public reception of more than 75 attendees, Gonkar invited anyone to participate in the project by laying out offering bowls on the grid of white paper he had laid earlier. He envisioned the project as experimenting with ideas of repetition, physical activity, and memory in relation to his mother's daily offerings on the family's Buddhist shrine.

On Thursday, April 7, poet and filmmaker Jangbu shared the world premiere of his film Voices of Stone, a work that highlights many of the contemporary issues surrounding mining in the Tibetan Plateau, followed by questions and answers. Then, on Friday April 8 at Innisfree Poetry Bookstore and Cafe, Jangbu gave a brief presentation on the history of Tibetan poetry and read a selection of his poems. Religious Studies graduate student Eben Yonnetti read English translations, which were taken from The Nine-Eyed Agate (2010), translated by Heather Stoddard.

The Tibet Himalaya Initiative would like to express our sincere thanks to all of our partners and friends who worked with us to make these wonderful events possible. We are especially grateful to the Chancellor who contributed special inaugural funds to the Initiative, the Center for Asian Studies for their ongoing partnership and collaboration, Innisfree Poetry Bookstore and Cafe for hosting the poetry reading, and the Boulder Creative Collective Warehouse for housing Gonkar Gyatso’s art installation and reception. 

We encourage you to spread the word as we prepare for our second year and look forward to seeing you at some of our events in the fall of 2016.

Summary of Events:

Tibetan Arts Week, April 4-10, 2016 at CU Boulder, coincided with the Conference on World Affairs.

Tibetan Artist: Gonkar Gyatso

Buddha in the Bathroom: Appropriation & Pop Culture in Contemporary Tibetan Art
Tuesday, April 5 | Hale 270 at CU Boulder
Reception: 6:00 pm, Lecture: 6:30 pm

Art Installation at Boulder Creative Collective
Sunday, April 10 | 2500 47th St at Pearl, Unit #10
Reception & Unveiling at 2:00 pm to 5pm (come Friday 2-5pm to view installation in progress)

Tibetan Poet and Filmmaker: Jangbu/Dorje Tsering Chenaktsang

Film Screening of "Voices of the Stone" with Jangbu at CU Boulder
Thursday, April 7 | Humanities 135
Film Screening: 6:30 pm, followed by Q&A with filmmaker

Poetry Reading with Jangbu at Innisfree Bookstore & Cafe
Friday, April 8 | 1301 Pennsylvania Ave, Boulder
Poetry Reading at 7:00pm, refreshments available