Linking the past and the present through art

Article Greenstory

Manilal Sabrimala, 56, from India, gave up a career in teaching at an early age. He later pursued his passion in sketching or art and started his professional career as an artist since 2001.

Today, he is an Indian professional artist and has produced many beautiful works of art with something as ordinary as a ball-pen. He has drawn Bhutan’s cultural landscapes as the reminiscence of his past 11 years in Bhutan.

His artworks comprising 25 illustrations are on display at the Nehru Wangchuck Cultural Center in Thimphu. He said these arts are a journey back in time when Bhutan was not as modernized as it is today. “I hope looking at the pictures one will probably link the past and the present through the art,” he said.

He added that his art is different from other artists’ because doing art in black and white carries a deeper concept of art based on amalgamation of both contemporary and traditional art. 

“In 1988, I was a Biology teacher in Bhutan. After resigning as a teacher, I pursued a master’s degree in painting in India and started a professional career as a painter,” he said.

Meanwhile, the exhibition is a tribute to Bhutan where he dedicated his service as a teacher. It took two years to complete the drawings on display. “As easy as my art may look but the ball-pen drawings are an indication of my honor and acknowledgement to the country,” he said.

He further shared that those days to reach school one had to walk three days. During those times, the villagers used to have a tough time without electricity and other facilities. “Those things actually struck my mind and later when I landed in India, the memories created the kind of drawings,” he said.

“I aim to bring happiness and peace through my paintings,” he said, adding that some artists in India compelled him to carry on with the same pattern of drawings. So I came here with this exhibition,” shared Manilal Sabrimala.

Likewise, Manilal Sabrimala said that ball-pen drawing is not an easy thing like a painting. “Painting can be done very easily whereas once you start with the pen, each and everything will have to drawn with the pen tip only.”

At the exhibition, he explained to the people why he prefers a pen and not colors. He said that there is no short cut. So we have to sacrifice. It should be done with determination, dedication and patience. “I wish the younger generations see Bhutan through a different medium.” Today, Manilal showcases his artworks both within and outside India. He also started the Art Foundation in 2012 which is linked to 26 countries.

Kinley Yonten from Thimphu

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