From February 23 to 28, 2016, NGAWANG Gyeltshen (College of International Management 1st year, Bhutan) had an exhibition called “Secret of Happiness: Colors from Bhutan” at Oita Prefectural Art Museum (OPAM). On February 27, 2016, he delivered a lecture about Bhutan and his Art.
In the lecture, he began with a story about His Majesty the Fifth King of Bhutan, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. The King visited a family in a small village, and cooked a Bhutanese dish for the family. Whenever His Majesty visits schools, he always tells the students that regardless of their position, they should never forget the responsibilities to help others. The Kings are exemplary for this spirit in Kingdom of Bhutan.
A small country locked in the Himalayans, Bhutanese people have a different idea about life. In Bhutan, people think that material well-being is not always equal to happiness. Therefore, Gross National Happiness (GNH) tend to be more valued than Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Time flows slowly in Bhutan, so many British and American visitors used to comment that there was nothing to worry there. Because of this different mindset of time, the speaker was worried before coming to Japan, and came to learn more about time management since he arrived here.
NGAWANG, learnt to draw by oil and water at a young age, and taught himself to draw in ink later. His art reflects his philosophy. For instance, one of his drawings show a Bhutanese traditional war helmet and eyes of a young girl. The helmet represents civil wars within Bhutan a long time ago, hence negativity. The eyes of a young girl, in fact whose photograph was taken by the Fifth King, represents positivity. Having negativity and positivity in the same drawing reflect NGAWANG’s philosophy: life is not completed without the combination of good and bad.
He also noted that Buddhism is considered as a culture in Bhutan. Consequently, Bhutanese people practice it, instead of preserving it by means of museum and exhibition. He concluded his presentation by saying Bhutan, rather than being the happiest country in the world, is the least sad, so to speak.