MUSTANG Monarchy, Monk, Monastery

Kathmandu,April 18 : With its unique topography, culture and religion, Upper Mustang has a special place in Nepal and the world. Written in numbers of book and visited by numbers of travelers, it is where, on a few occasions, one can find a great opportunity to see monarchy, monk and monastery together.

Thanks to Dr. Hide’s support, a young artist Tsering Phonjo Gurung from Mustang was able to bring all the important parts of Mustang at the Taragaun Museum in Boudha.

Over 75 paintings of artist Gurung, displayed at the exhibition, showed landscape, monastery, religious practices, people and monk together in the form of paintings.

President of the Mustang Shakya Buddhist Association 27th Chokye Trichen Rinpoche and Jigme Singhi Palbar Bista, former Raja of Mustang, jointly inaugurated Landscapes of Mustang with paintings by Tsering Phonjo Gurung at Taragaun Museum in Boudha.

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The presence of highly respected 27th Chokye Trichen Rinpoche and former Raja Jigme Singhi Palbar Bista and monks from Mustang and other art lovers demonstrated the importance of the painting exhibition in the context of preserving Mustang’s Buddhism, culture and landscape.

Jointly organized by Himal Asia Foundation and The Mustang Shakya Buddhist Association, the exhibition saw artist Tsering Phonjo Gurung displaying 70 paintings, at a range from $150 to $ 300.

Addressing the inaugural program, former King Jigme Singhi Palbar Bista said that the paintings reminded about the landscape and culture of Upper Mustang and exposed these to the outside world.

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Former King Bista said that paintings displayed at the exhibition represented the ethos of Upper Mustang, including and its surrounding in a beautiful way.

The painter depicted cave, monasteries and various aspects of Tibetan Culture in the surrounding areas of former capital of Mustang Lo-manthang in a clear way.

Having been actively involved in the restoration and preservation of monasteries and Buddhism of High-Himalayas of Nepal Dr. Susanne von der Heide from Himal Asia said that Tsering Phonjo Gurung is a very talented young artist from Upper Mustang. She said that this is the right place to encourage young artist like Gurung to continue his work. Known for her dedication to promote culture and religion of Himalayan region, Dr. Susanne said Gurung is an emerging painter who has already acquired mastery in Tibetan paintings and arts.

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Addressing the program, vice president Ven.Tsering Tashi thanked Dr. Susanne for her contribution and support to preserve and conserve the historical monasteries of Upper Mustang.

Although there are great transformations, artists like Gurung have been working to preserve and protect the culture of Upper Mustang and its surroundings.

Born in 1981 in Chosar, Upper Mustang, Nepal, artist Gurung loved to paint and his talent was discovered. At the age of 16, he began his Thangka painting training with Lhakpa Lama in Chosar. Having worked with wall painting restorer in Luigi Fieni at the Thubchen Gompa, he is not only a skilled Thangka and Landscapes painter but also has worked at different Monasteries all over Nepal to decorate these places with wall paintings. He recently painted Phuntsong Tahi Choeling Gompa in Pokhara.

“Today is really a wonderful day for me because today I got such a wonderful opportunity to present my art in front of you, distinguished individuals. To portray my homeland Mustang through my art has been my long-term dream. To be honest, I must say that my dream has come true it is not because of me myself, but obviously it is due to the kindness of Dr. Susanne and the Mustang Sakya Buddhist Association. I also like to thank respected Gen Tsering Tashi, the vice president of Mustang Sakya Buddhist Association, for his support, guidance and inspiration.”

Attended by residents from Mustang and diplomats based in Kathmandu, the inauguration program was followed by the Garsar Cham Lama Dance, which was performed by the monks of the Choede Monastery from Lo Manthang Mustang.

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