News and Views on Tibet

Children Painting Their Escapes And New Lives

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Children love to paint. In India, at the Tibetan Homes Foundation School in Mussoorie Tibetan children are using painting to express their lives in refuge. For many there were often daring and emotional escapes from their homeland.

Their parents in Tibet have sent them to India so they can receive a traditional education. At home in Tibet this is not possible as the schools only teach Chinese Mandarin and the curriculum is developed in Beijing, not in Lhasa.

In 1992 two American women visiting India gave a colouring book and crayons to a young Tibetan boy, Tsering Choephel, just arrived after the arduous journey across the Himalayas from Tibet. Tsering became immediately absorbed in drawing a picture. It was the first time he had been able to play as a child in months.

From there, the Painting Club grew.

Now the Friends of Tibetan Women’s Association “Art Refuge” project helps thousands of Tibetan children in India and Nepal to express themselves through art.

Sometimes they paint about their memories of home, life in India, leaving Tibet and their families.

A collection of these paintings – Art Refuge – is currently touring New Zealand.

View these 45 paintings by 12 to 18 year olds, with a photographic essay about Tsering Choephel.

A number of schools including Onehunga High School, Michael Park School in Ellerslie and Albany Primary School have visited the exhibition or been visited by the founders and organisers of Art Refuge.

“Art Refuge” – An Exhibition of paintings by Tibetan refugee children living in India. On From March 8 to March 30. (Open Thursday to Sunday 10am to 4pm) At Wallace Arts Trust Gallery, 305 Queen Street, Auckland City (Next to the Town Hall) Admission Free, Donations at the door.

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