By Tenzin Sangmo
Jamyang (Right) speaks at the forum
DHARAMSHALA, August 17: A panelist at the Central Tibetan Administration’s (CTA) Second 5-50 Youth Forum’s talk on “Inclusion of and Responsiveness to Tibetans Inside Tibet” suggested that CTA should to pay attention to the discussions taking place in Tibet around art and culture. "What do we do on most days of the year when we are not out on street protesting?" asked Jamyang Phuntsok, PhD student of particle astrophysics at Pennsylvania State University
Phuntsok remarked that there is a tendency to limit our attention to political activities. He observed the exile’s longing for Tibet seem to centre more around the physical Tibet, the mountains, valleys and meadows and not so much on the psyche of the Tibetans inside Tibet. "Our imagination of Tibet doesn’t seem to be in sync with the reality on the ground."
He cited the example of Pema Tseden’s films and how it is almost always received favourably by the international community and Tibetans in exile versus the nuanced and varied response to his films by the Tibetans inside Tibet.
Unless we pay attention and spark conversations around it, it risks being the forte of a few western universities' professors.
The doctoral student spoke on the need to make materials on Western ideology and philosophy accessible to Tibetans inside Tibet. He mentioned Khyeltam, a podcast started by him and his friend, that explored topics like Contemporary Tibetan Painting, Rashomon and Pema Tseden’s first two films, among others.
In the episode on Contemporary Tibetan Painting with Gendun Gyatso, a PhD student at JNU, Phuntsok urges listeners to realize the value of artists in our community and the role of art in political resistance.
Similarly, Machik, a U.S.-based non-governmental organisation that incubates social innovation in Tibet has in recent months started conversational programs called Khabda to spark conversations on art and literature from contemporary Tibet.
Khabda series has covered the pioneering contemporary Tibetan artist, Pekar Monsal, Anu Ranglug, Valley of the Heroes, a feature-length documentary by Khashem Gyal and Enticement: Stories of Tibet, collection of short stories by celebrated Tibetan filmmaker and writer Pema Tseden.
“As the CTA’s Tibet TV expands its reach and coverage, it could include film reviews and analysis of art and culture scene taking place in Tibet,” he added.