The East-West Center Arts Program is hosting an exhibit featuring photographs of Bhutan’s people in everyday life taken between 1991 and 2006 by Kaua‘i-based photographer and filmmaker John Wehrheim. The exhibition also includes textiles, Buddhist ritual items, and utilitarian objects, as well as a traditional sand mandala – a visual representation of the Himalayan Buddhist cosmos - created on site by visiting Bhutanese monks during the first week of the exhibit. A live “Mandala Cam” showing the monks progress will be hosted by Honolulu Civil Beat.
Unlike many historic Himalayan kingdoms, Bhutan was never conquered or colonized. The country is blessed with peace, prosperity, and an ancient culture that is still alive and vibrant. Bhutan’s fourth monarch, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, led his people from absolute monarchy to a democracy guided by the principle that Gross National Happiness better measures success than Gross National Product.
The king aimed to balance the country’s economic needs with environmental preservation and traditional values, founded on the Buddhist principles that all life is sacred and all living beings are interdependent. The Four Pillars of Gross National Happiness are: Environmental Preservation, Preserving and Promoting Culture, Good Governance, and Balanced Economic Development.
Feb. 25, 2018 – May 27, 2018
East-West Center Gallery, Honolulu
Guided gallery tours will be offered Sundays at 3:00 p.m. (no tours April 8 and May 27)
Exhibition gala opening
Sunday, Feb. 25, 2 - 3:30 p.m.
Including reception and walkthrough by exhibition photographer John Wehrheim. A ritual for the initiation of the sand mandala will begin at 1:00 p.m.
Sand mandala creation by Bhutanese monks
Daily starting Monday, Feb. 26 – Friday March 2
Sandwiched between the powerful nations of India and China, Bhutan is one of the world’s least known and most sparsely populated countries. Only 38,400 square kilometers (about the size of Switzerland), with a population of 800,000 scattered across fertile valleys beneath the towering peaks of the eastern Himalayan mountains, Bhutan is a stabilizing force supporting Himalayan Tantric Buddhist culture that measures its success Gross National Happiness, rather than purely economic indicators.
Sunday, March 4, 2 – 3 p.m.
Illustrated Talk: “Women in Bhutan: Past, Present and Future” by EWC alumna Thinley Choden, social entrepreneur and development consultant/specialist.
Sunday, March 18, 2 – 3 p.m.
Illustrated Talk: “Measuring What Matters – GNH & Other Innovative Economic Indicators in Bhutan and Beyond” by EWC alumnus Carl Polley, PhD, Instructor, Kapi‘olani Community College.
Sunday, April 8, 2 – 3:30 p.m.
Film: “Happy” Everything you know about happiness is wrong. Just ask the world’s scientists, surfers, and rickshaw drivers. Directed by Roko Belic, 2011, 75 minutes.
Sunday, April 15, 2 – 3 p.m.
Illustrated Talk: “Music in Bhutan: Himalayan Connections” by Anna Stirr, PhD, Associate Professor of Asian Studies, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa.
Sunday, April 29, 2 – 3 p.m.
Illustrated Talk: “Bhutan: Economy, Culture, and Gross National Happiness” by two current EWC degree fellows from Bhutan, Mindu Lham and Dechen Wangmo.
Sunday, May 6, 2 – 3 p.m.
Illustrated Talk: “Bhutan and the Buddhist Concept of Happiness” by John Wehrheim, Writer, Photographer, Film Producer.
Sunday, May 27, 2 –4 p.m.
Film: “Travellers and Magicians” Bored with life in his tiny village, a Bhutanese official infatuated with American culture dreams of visiting the US. Directed by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, 2003, 108 minutes.
At East-West Center Gallery
John A. Burns Hall, 1601 East-West Road (corner Dole St. & East-West Rd.)
Hours: Weekdays: 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.; Sundays Noon-4 p.m.
Closed Saturdays and April 1.
Visitor parking is available on the UH-Manoa campus for a fee during the week, and is normally free and ample on Sundays.
Free school and group tours available.
For further information: (808) 944-7177 or visit Arts.EastWestCenter.org.