Azha Karma and his talented artists from Vast orchestrate and paint an incredible mural to celebrate the 6th Royal Bhutan Flower Exhibition:
One of the many exciting features for this year’s 6th Royal Bhutan Flower Exhibition was the Mural garden painted by volunteer artists from Vast Bhutan. A 200-meter wall painting is the longest and the first of its kind in Bhutan.
Haa is looking a little more colorful lately —and that’s not because of the changing seasons. VAST, an NGO founded by Asha Karma in 1998 which aims to promote local talent and engagements in the community, has been turning empty walls into huge public canvases and the results of their labor could have a lasting effect on the community.
Azha Karma and his compatriots of around 23 volunteers from VAST Bhutan completed the first-ever gigantic mural in 35 days. Azha Karma said, “So these young people were very committed, learned a lot, experienced a lot, and gave me a lot of physical energy and without my young friends, it would have not been possible.”
In 2020, the annual 6th RBFE was held in the historical grounds of Sinchupang in Haa with an overarching theme of BUS- Beautiful, Unique, and Sustainable.
The exhibition was hosted virtually on 14th August 2020 and live-streamed on social media and broadcast on national television due to the COVID-19 circumstances in the country. And now, as we enter the fall, where the flowers have already dried up and the exhibition has long been concluded, yet, some flowers continue to bloom at the Mural garden.
Under the Royal Patronage of the Her Majesty the Gyalyum, Tshering Yangdoen Wangchuck, the mural highlights the natural treasures of Haa which includes various flower species, medicinal plants, and a wide range of flora, fauna, landscapes, people, and culture of the upper and lower regions of Haa valley.
People in the upper valley lead a nomadic lifestyle and the painting depicts just that, such as dance, dress, makeshift tents, and distinctive food like cheese, chugo(dried hard cheese), and phelu(yak milk calcified). Towards the lower region, the paintings illustrate – a fierce tiger, lion, mystical garuda, and a legendary dragon which are all symbolic of good fortune and auspiciousness. A celebratory logo illustrating the birth anniversary of His Majesty on the center of the wall and a stretch of yellow scarf symbolizing the care and protection of the king.
The Mural is now completed and it has efficaciously captured the beautiful, authentic, and rich history and biodiversity of the Haa Dzongkhag.
“We painted it colorful, brought in lots of flowers, put it there, that’s done – Painted and then we came back but the memory, the process, getting these guys excited to help and to appreciate. These are crucial. They will stay as a memory. It will go down in history!” Azha exclaimed.
The exhibition was organized by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forests and Haa Dzongkhag Administration with support from various participants to help Haa in promoting tourism and contribute to the Dzongkhag’s economic development.
Amidst the COVID19 Pandemic, people can still enjoy all the gardens on all the RBFE social media platforms. Following the sixth Royal Bhutan Flower Exhibition, the dzongkhag will host the annual Haa flower show starting July next year which will be followed by the Haa summer festival.
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