Currently, Bhutan is no doubt seeing an upsurge in the arts.
Many alternative filmmakers, animators and contemporary artists are creating critically-acclaimed works.
Institutes like VAST have made art and creativity in and happening. They have produced a young crowd with incredible zeal, talent and positive energy.
Most recently, theatre has also been making inroads into the country’s creative horizon. All these are good news, even great.
Nothing can combat social ills than creative involvement and the very act of producing. Where talent and industriousness breed, evils do not.
For instance, positive spaces like VAST, where youth come together and do art, bond and carry out community services are so very beautiful: the soul of it.
Indeed, a love for the arts is one powerful weapon to combat juvenile delinquency, crime and hatred. Art brings one closer to creation and one’s essential being. Art is a tool to harness tremendous energy. Art splits the nucleus of lethargy, blindness and inaptitude to produce lethal amounts of energy.
What better way, then, to engage youth in the arts? Let them discover and rediscover themselves every time they pick up a paint brush and easel, pen down a poem, even pour out their angst in paper, or shave a miniature sculpture to soothe their turbulent hearts?
Artists in Bhutan have often been accused of propaganda: using art to earn money or business. But the sad fact is Bhutan does not even have an art endowment fund. And artists cannot survive on mere air and water. They need a sustainable means of livelihood so that they can focus on their art and produce masterpieces. Before it is too late. Yes.
However, there are veteran artists who have shown the way: through sheer perseverance, sincerity and integrity of spirit to the cause of art, they have changed lives, touched people and given birth to a movement.
They were not looking for praise or adulation. They believed in their cause and followed their hearts. And that is why we have seen a birth of young talents. It is because there were some who believed in the power of art and were brave enough to disseminate this power. They were brave enough to hold on despite struggles like financial and time constraints and a lot of criticism from unwarranted quarters.
Yes, we need beauty in our broken world. Beauty can heal. And what better way to create beauty than through art? A heart-touching line, a radiant canvas, an intricate handicraft, bursts of color and sunshine, rainbows in a textile or a beautiful story in motion?
The wounded world and the dull, insensitive people we have become are begging to be healed. Let us use art to heal the brokenness, the pain, spread love and cheer, and fill up the void for beauty and buoyancy.