Works by two contemporary Tibetan artists on offer at Asia House Auction

Tsherin Sherpa's 'All Things Considered' (2015) is one of the lots to be auctioned at the Asia House Benefit Auction

Tsherin Sherpa's 'All Things Considered' (2015), a digital giclee print with gold leaf on Somerset paper, is one of the lots to be auctioned at the Asia House Benefit Auction. Courtesy of Rossi & Rossi. Photo by George Torode

Works by two contemporary Tibetan artists on offer at Asia House Auction

19 May 2016

By Lucy Tomlinson

Tibetan artists have played a key role in the cultural life of the country for more than 1,000 years. Until very recently, Tibetan art was created almost exclusively for religious purposes in the form of thangkas or murals for Buddhist temples with a formal system of art production being used to support the transmission of Buddhist culture. However, recently a new movement has emerged that has transformed the art of Tibet.

Two such artists at the helm of this transformation are Kathmandu-born California-based Tsherin Sherpa and Lhasa-born Tsewang Tashi, who is still based in Tibet. Pieces by both artists have gone under the hammer at the Asia House Benefit Auction, which commenced online on on 7 June.

Born in Kathmandu in 1968 and currently based in California, Sherpa mastered the tradition of Tibetan thangka painting at a young age, having been trained in the art by his father Master Urgen Dorje, a renowned thangka artist from Ngyalam, Tibet.

He bases his art on traditional thangka techniques, using standard colours and iconography to convey contemporary issues associated with the Tibetan diasporic experience. This includes displacement and loss of cultural heritage with his fresh approaching yielding fresh insights into the shifting values of Tibetan society. Having trained as a classical painter, he incorporates vibrant colours, gold leaf and precisely proportioned figures into his work. However, he breaks away from the formal, grid-like structure of traditional thangka painting to examine life without structure reflecting how Tibetans are having to adapt to new surroundings.

The piece that is on offer at the Benefit Auction is All Things Considered (2015), a digital giclée print with gold leaf on Somerset paper. It’s a limited edition (45 of 50) and has been kindly donated by Rossi & Rossi Gallery. A print of Sherpa’s monumental work All Things Considered (2014), it has been produced in partnership with Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts).

His work has recently entered the permanent collections of the V&A Museum in London and The Queensland Art Museum in Brisbane.

Sherpa’s recent exhibitions include Beyond the Mandala – Contemporary Art from Tibet, Volte Gallery, Mumbai, in collaboration with Rossi & Rossi, London (2011); Scorching Sun of Tibet, Songzhuang Art Center, Beijing (2010); Tradition Transformed: Tibetan Artists Respond, Rubin Museum of Arts, New York (2010); Buddha in the Hood, Red Mill Gallery, Johnson, Vermont (2010); Sacred Images, Alta Galleria, Berkeley, California (2007); Contemporary Thangka, Smith Andersen Editions, Palo Alto, California (2007). His work is in many private collections both in Europe and the US as well as Asia.

Tsewang Tashi, born and still working in Lhasa, Tibet, is part of an increasingly vibrant, innovative and experimental art scene currently growing in the city. Currently working as Associate Professor of the Arts Department at Tibet University, Tashi’s practice principally focuses on photography, digital manipulation and painting to create portraits of Tibetan people.

Tashi is a founding member of the Gedun Choephel Artists’ Guild in Lhasa, a group of artists born in the turbulent 1960s and 70s, who came together in the early 2000s through shared experiences.

Tashi uses his physical environment, real people and contemporary life as sources of inspiration. Tashi’s photo-realistic work is contemporary and non-religious. However, techniques drawn from traditional art are used to register Tibetan cultural and spiritual identity. The hybridity of old and new reflects the experience of a modern Tibetan subject.

The work by Tashi that has kindly been donated by Rossi & Rossi Gallery for the Benefit Auction is Untitled No.3 (2009), a silk-screen print, varnished, limited edition 15 of 30.

Tashi 500x500

Tsewang Tashi, Untitled No.3, 2009, silk Screen print varnished, limited edition 15 of 30, courtesy of Rossi & Rossi

Tashi’s recent exhibitions include Untitled Identities, Rossi & Rossi, London (2009); Lhasa – New Art from Tibet, Red Gate Gallery, Beijing (2007); Inside out – Tibetan Contemporary Art, Gedun Choephel Gallery, Lhasa (2007) and Tibetan Encounters – Contemporary meets Tradition, Rossi & Rossi, Neuhoff Gallery, New York (2007).

Both pieces have been generously donated by Rossi & Rossi Gallery. Since 2005, Rossi & Rossi has regularly held exhibitions of Asian contemporary artists, with a particular focus on Tibet.

The Benefit Auction is being held to celebrate 20 years since Asia House was founded in 1996 and to raise funds for its ongoing programme of arts and cultural events.

A preview of the auction works will take place in the Asia House Gallery from 14 to 21 June between 10.00 and 18.00.

The 25 + artworks on offer have been generously donated by artists and galleries from across Asia, as well as those who have a strong links to the region, and includes artworks by artists who have exhibited at Asia House in the recent past.

A champagne reception and dinner with the theme ‘white gold’ will take place on June 21 at Asia House during which there will be a live auction. Please email if you’d be interested in attending.

To place bids for items in the auction click here. Bidding started at 15.00 BST on Tuesday, 7 June.

For more information about the Asia House Benefit Auction and the other artworks that can be bid for click here.

For more information about any aspect of the auction email

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