Colours Beyond the Wall Volume II: Reformation through Art


‘Do you see the eyes?’ ‘Look closely and you would see the eyes with tears streaming down. And this is the nose,’ Kinga (name changed) said to the exhibition curator who was peering curiously over the painting he was then working on for the exhibition (shown below).

Colours Beyond the Wall Volume II

Figure 1: Zentangle Painting by Kinga

At 13 years of age, he is the youngest who came into conflict with the law and serving his sentence at the Youth Development and Rehabilitation Center (YDRC) in Tsimasham. Like the rest at the facility, he comes from a family of difficult circumstances, which led to the conflict with the law. Also recently placed, he struggled to share and kept to himself. Being behind the walls doesn’t mean the issues don’t come to bite him and his zentangle piece is his attempt at expressing his suppressed emotions as depicted by the tearing eyes hidden amidst the patterns. 

Puran and Bimal (name changed) are two others in their third year at the facility, and with previous training in traditional art forms, they have managed to build a name for themselves by selling their paintings to the locals with the help of marketing from the police. Their pieces at the exhibition reflect their signature traditional style and a few contemporary paintings (shown below).  

Figure 2: Painting by Puran & Bimal

These are some of the stories behind the painting pieces showcased at the Colors Beyond the Wall Volume II exhibition organized by Nazhoen Lamtoen at Workspace, Thimphu. The exhibition started on 20th April 2022 and ends on 2nd May 2022 (extended). It features art pieces of about 19 juveniles serving their prison terms at RBP’s YDC. 

Support program for juvenile delinquents

Talking about the exhibition title, Mr Thinley Tobgay, the Executive Director with Nazhoen Lamtoen said, “In its different hues, colours create art and beauty. Wall is symbolic of the bar behind which our current creators are. And it’s to show that even if they are behind walls, such beautiful things can come out from behind the walls.”

The exhibition has about 87 art pieces on display worked in a month’s time by the youths below 18 years of age at YDRC. They are given a week-long introductory art course with a resource person from VAST Bhutan as part of Nazhoen Lamtoen’s support program at the center. During the week-long course, the juveniles are taught to use pencil, watercolour and acrylic as tools to create abstract, landscape, portraits and still life categories of art. After the course, they are provided with painting materials and given about a month’s time to submit their entries. The art entries submitted are then screened to ensure everyone has at least one painting each at the exhibition. Thus, the final collection has paintings from three categories – zentangle, abstract and landscape that art enthusiasts can choose to buy. 

‘Art and its therapeutic power are undeniable and far-reaching. One of the juveniles says that art enables them to express their emotional state. When they are engaged in art and colors they can forget about their problems at home and relieve grief and guilt. The rest of them also support this idea. Since introducing the art in 2019, they have kept insisting on repeating the program, and we have been doing so. The exhibition's main purpose is to raise funds to continue the program at YDRC. Also, once they are released, aftercare is very important. If you cannot provide it, most of them go back to committing crimes. They are handed over to Dzongkhag or gup, and they are back to square one. Instead, we receive them right from the facility gate, and as per their capacity, skill, interest and hobby, we screen them and support them to reintegrate them back into society. Funds for reintegration programs remain another purpose. Thus, all the proceeds from the exhibition will be used for these purposes,” added Mr Thinley Tobgay

There are more to the art than meets the eye

Browsing the exhibition, if you are not an art expert, one can tell that the pieces can’t compare to the work of professional artists. But what shines through is their sheer effort, and if you take the time to learn the stories of the artist behind each piece, you will be able to understand it better. A story each of the attendees can connect to in some aspect. The organizers hope that the public sees the pieces for the stories and consider investing in them so that they can help change the lives of the juveniles – especially the four of them who have expressed their interest in taking painting professionally once they have served their term. 

The price of the arts ranges from Nu 2,500 to 6,000 and can be bought from the exhibition at Workspace. If you are unable to make it to the exhibition until 2nd May, the organizers are in talks with people with personal collection to put it on sale at their gallery and you can contact the organizers at [email protected] or 77842091.

Related Posts

Even the Bhutanese are riding the NFT wave

2021 is known to be the year of the NFT craze.

Feb 16, 2022 13:59

Bhutanese artist invited to decorate life-sized tiger sculpture...

Renowned artists showcase artworks to promote tiger conservation issues.

Jan 24, 2022 12:52

Travel to Bhutan: go off the beaten path in eastern Bhutan

You will find settlements on high grounds and isolated valleys. You will see rolling hills, deep gorges, and green...

Mar 28, 2022 15:44

Bhutan is on a mission to plant one million fruit trees

Inspired by His Majesty’s vision, one million fruit trees are expected to be planted in two and half months in Bhutan...

Mar 16, 2022 14:48

Electric vehicles are Bhutan’s answer to air pollution

Air pollution by vehicles is a threat to Bhutan’s carbon-neutral status. But the Bhutanese have found a solution.

Feb 28, 2022 12:13

What do Bhutanese mean when they say to serve the Tsa-Wa-Sum?

The central message in the concept of Tsa-Wa-Sum is to serve the larger interest of the nation and the people by the...

Feb 24, 2022 10:45



Colours Beyond the Wall Volume II: Reformation through Art

‘Do you see the eyes?’ ‘Look closely and you would see the eyes with tears streaming down. And this is the nose,’ Kinga (name changed) said...

Apr 26, 2022 22:01

Travel to Bhutan: go off the beaten path in eastern Bhutan

You will find settlements on high grounds and isolated valleys. You will see rolling hills, deep gorges, and green pastures.

Mar 28, 2022 15:44


What went on at Miss Bhutan 2022 preliminary competition

The 3rd edition of Miss Bhutan is underway and the Preliminary Round was held and broadcast live on BBS Channel 2 on 15th May 2022 from...

May 19, 2022 21:11

Check out Drunken Yeti Bar for the best cocktails in Thimphu

Named after a mythical Himalayan creature and perched on top of a distinct and unique 3-storied building in Thimphu, lies a unique bar that...

May 17, 2022 21:11


The enormous role of hydropower in Bhutan

Bhutan uses hydropower to conserve the environment, produce electricity, and achieve economic self-reliance.

Jan 25, 2022 11:43

Online businesses are becoming more and more popular in Bhutan

Even though the Internet was developed in the 1960s, the tiny Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan was only introduced to it in June 1999.

Jan 20, 2022 12:41


Outstanding individuals, schools and clubs awarded for their contributions to grassroots football

On December 22, 2021, the Bhutan Football Federation (BFF), a bronze member of the AFC Grassroots Charter,presented awards to unsung heroes...

Jan 11, 2022 14:15

Bhutan's national women cricket team won ICC Women's T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier 2021 opening match

The United Arab Emirates is currently hosting the ICC Women's T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier. The two ICC Academy grounds in Dubai Sports City...

Nov 23, 2021 11:13


Trace the footsteps of the Divine Madman on this hiking trail

There is no better way to connect spiritually with Drukpa Kuenley, the “Divine Madman”. The trail will take you downhill for about four...

Apr 28, 2022 22:30

Been to Bhutan before? Stand a chance to win FREE flight tickets to back to Bhutan!

If you’ve been to Bhutan before, we want to hear your story.

Apr 15, 2022 19:49


The hot springs of Bhutan are believed to have miraculous healing properties

The Bhutanese believe that hot springs are a blessing from the Buddha.

Apr 08, 2022 21:52

What are the five main fruits in a Bhutanese fruit bowl 'thokay'?

There are usually five fruits that make it to the 'thokay' (fruit bowl) placed on the altars or in front of the King, Chief Abbot and Lamas.

Mar 08, 2022 15:54


A detailed summary of Bhutan's COVID-19 management and plans moving forward

With offices and all businesses open, movement of vehicles allowed and critical services resumed from 21st March 2022, Bhutan braces for a...

Mar 22, 2022 11:23

Vaccinated tourists to undergo 5-day quarantine in Bhutan from April 25

What you need to know about entering Bhutan from April 25.

Mar 14, 2022 14:21

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!