28 May 2013

Ladakhi artists paint Tibetan mythical figures, auspicious symbols

LEH:  The fortnight-long International Mural Painters’ Camp came to end on Saturday evening at Kottayam with the Chief Minister of Kerala, Oommen Chandy declaring Kottayam the Mural City by the State Government, with mural paintings by 350 artists adorning every available wall in the city, in the biggest effort in India to take out its murals from the confines of temples and churches.
Two Ladakhis, Tashi Samdup and Tsewang Stanzin, both students of renowned Thanka painter, Padmashree Tsering Wangdus represented Ladakh by participating in the international camp and painted mythical figures and auspicious symbols of Tibetan art on the walls in Kottayam, Kerala.
The International Mural Painting Camp organised by Kerala Lalithakala Akademi, Kottayam was earlier inaugurated by K.C Joseph, Minister for Culture and local MLA Thiruvanoor Radhakrishnan at the Thirunakkara Temple premises to transform Kottayam into a Mural City as around 300 artists and experts from different parts of the country and also from abroad including Italy, Germany, Korea, Portugal, Canada demonstrated different styles of mural paintings. International seminar, exhibition and discussion were also held as part of the programme.
The International Seminar was inaugurated by Secretary Himalayan Cultural Heritage Foundation (HCHF) Ladakh, Dr Sonam Wangchok with a presentation on ‘mythical tales and auspicious symbols depicted in Tibetan paintings’.  Kottayam, the city often referred to as the city of ‘letters, latex and lakes’, saw participation of more than 300 artists from different states and abroad, who worked with artists from Kerala, turning the whole town into a canvas of sorts and enriching walls at various locations in the city with a rich collection of mural paintings.  Sources say that the mural paintings drawn by the artists will become permanent exhibits at public places all over the town including public libraries, town hall, educational institutions, places of worship and the railway station. The two Ladakhi artists painted mythical figures and auspicious symbols of Tibetan art on a huge entrance wall of Darsana Culture Centre and Darsana Academy in Kottayam.
Kottayam, hailed as the first complete literate city in the country, now has another title to boast as the Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has declared it as a Mural City. It becomes the second Mural City in the country after Shekhawati in Rajasthan.

14 May 2013

Dr Richard Lee

IALS colleagues will be saddened to hear of the death of Dr Richard (‘Dick’) Lee at his home in Buffalo, western New York state, on 7 May. He was 75.

Dick, who had been based at the University of Buffalo, had a particularly wide range of interests.  These extended from a close personal concern with the care of individuals to much broader questions of public health.  His enquiries led him to cross both disciplinary and international boundaries, from medicine to anthropology, and from the US to China, Thailand and India. A small part of all this is reflected in Dick’s obituary on his university website

From the 1990s onwards, Dick led a series of research projects in Ladakh and, together with his students, reported on these at the IALS conferences in Oxford (2001) and Rome (2007) as well as in the pages of Ladakh Studies. Always collaborative in his approach, he emphasised the need to include social and environmental factors in the study of medicine, and this in turn pointed to the need for close cooperation between researchers of different disciplines. Dick brought a distinctive set of insights with which to challenge our views of Ladakh and the world. He will be missed.