Thangka is an artistic depiction of life of Buddha and Bodhisattvas alike. Thangka painting is a religious art used for prayer and is also one of the revered tools of meditation. Unlike usual trends of making thangkas for commercial purpose that are available in the market, the realization of need and importance in preserving the real essence of thangka culture whilst creating a working sphere for wheelchair users suffering from spinal injury, BIA Foundation initiated this project.
The BIA Thangka Painting Institute was inaugurated on July 26, 2014 by Ani Choying Dolma and Chogyal Rinpoche. Initially run in the residential building in Chabahil offered by Chogyal Rinpoche’s mother and renovated into a well facilitated disable friendly place by one of Rinpoche’s Chinese friend Li Hong, this project is currently running in our office premise in Jorpati. Under the supervision of the veteran thangka teacher Ngawang Chhiri Sherpa, a wheelchair user himself, and two other teachers, students in wheelchair suffering from spinal injuries are learning the tools and techniques of traditional Tibetan thangka painting. After increasing number of students, Thangka Painting Institute – II was started in Kirtipur branch where all female students are learning the Thangka art.
Thangkas have a therapeutic effect and requires much focus, time and energy. With thangka painting at BIA Foundation wheelchair users get the opportunity to sit in a single place and immerse into the art like a meditation, while at the same time earn their independent living and create future prospects.