Solo art exhibit at 19

To have a solo art exhibition at the age of 19 is no less than a feat and Karma Dendup has achieved that exactly.

He describes himself as the sole art enthusiast in his family.

Karma completed class XII from Baylling Higher Secondary School in 2018. He is genuinely interested in art and uses various mediums of art like photography, editing, hiking, and writing as well but painting has been his major interest.

Currently, Karma’s Karma, his first solo art exhibition is happening at Bhutan Art Gallery.

Karma’s Karma is a series of artworks telling his tale, reflecting the environment and tradition he grew up in. His art describes the evolution of his work and seeing the world through his lens. “My art works are evidence that my works are an evolving process rather than a still process. I believe in simplification of beauty and I want to make art simpler and beautiful.”

His mentor, Kama Wangdi (Founder of VAST Bhutan and an artist) describes the solo exhibition as a collective essence of his journey as an artist, his view and his take on life.

Besides lack of moral support from his parents and lack of exposure since he is from the far east, the only reason he struggled to host the solo exhibition is to inspire youth to keep their passion alive and keep working hardand “to shape the fate and trend of contemporary art in Bhutan”.

He was not aware of his passion and the impact of art until VAST Bhutan organized an art camp in Trashiyangtse in 2013.  “As I stood holding the color bucket for Asha Kama while he gracefully dipped the brush into the bucket to paint a rock, I realized that my dream was to become an artist.”

The artists at VAST Bhutan are his inspiration. He is now a founding member of VAST Yangtse.

Tim Marlow, an art historian’s line that says that one does not need great skills to become an artist further encouraged the young boy to pursue his dream. “This realization started a chain reaction of years of extensive online research and reading on various forms of arts, experimenting with paintings, drawings, photography and digital editing,”he said.

He describes his style of art as including genuine details like constant clouded skies that are a major element in his artwork. It is supplemented by traditional decorated windows. He explains how unique his arts are since the works are in acrylic and watercolor due to their simplicity. 

Though he is awaiting his class XII result, he has already set up his mind to take his artistic works to greater heights. “My dream is to study art abroad as I wish to experiment with different forms of art,” he says, excitement writ large on his face.

Phub Dem from Thimphu