Events

 

Royal Textile Academy and Smithsonian Celebration

Supported by the Friends of the Royal Textile Academy of Bhutan

 

On May 12th, 2016, The Friends of the Royal Textile Academy of Bhutan joined with the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage to host a gala celebrating the Royal Textile Academy at the Freer-Sackler Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Honored guests HM Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck, the Queen Mother of Bhutan, and Dr. Frederik Paulsen were in attendance at the event which featured various speakers and traditional Bhutanese performances. In addition, over 400 donors, trustees, and supporters of the textile arts were present to honor the RTA’s efforts in preserving the cultural heritage of Bhutan.

 

Her Majesty the Queen Mother of Bhutan

Her Majesty the Queen Mother of Bhutan, Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck with the Bhutanese singers, mask dancers, and musicians.

 

The event, titled “Cultural Sustainability in the Age of Globalization”, marked the beginning of the partnership between the Smithsonian Institution and the Royal Textile Academy. Her Majesty said, “Textiles are an integral part of Bhutan’s culture and unique identity…Unfortunately, many of our most precious pieces have left their home and now reside in private collections around the world.” This sparked Her Majesty to found the Royal Textile Academy with the goal of revitalizing the disappearing art form of Bhutanese textiles. The collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and the Royal Textile Academy was put in place with the common purpose of engaging in projects related to cultural documentation, preservation, and representation.

The event began with a VIP hour in which trustees and other esteemed donors and supporters mingled with the Queen Mother and looked at various textiles on display. The night continued upstairs on the main floor of the Freer Sackler during which Her Majesty and Dr. Paulsen were both honored for their efforts in preserving the cultural heritage of Bhutan. Dr. Paulsen in particular was awarded for his philanthropy and leadership in cultural preservation programs around the world. Remarks were given by many including Dr. Michael Mason, director of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Rinzin Dorji, executive director of the Royal Textile Academy, and Dasho Penden Wangchuck, Bhutanese Trustee and former Secretary to the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs for the Royal Government of Bhutan. Guests were then entertained with traditional Bhutanese singing and dancing, including masked dancers and dramyin players.

 

masked dancers and dramyin players.

 

The Royal Textile Academy is dedicated to preserving and promoting the Bhutanese textiles in particular and the thirteen arts in general, as well as striving to promote the unique culture and traditions of Bhutan by creating international awareness and encouraging international collaboration to promote mutually beneficial exhibits and educational programs. The RTA will consist of four main programs once construction is complete: the textile school, the textile museum, the textile conservation center, and the central administrative division. Programs one, two, and three were completed during Phases I and II of construction, with program four nearing completion under Phase III.

The Smithsonian Institution’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage promotes greater understanding and sustainability of cultural heritage across the United States and around the world through research, education, and community engagement. The center is a research and educational unit of the Smithsonian Institution that produces the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, exhibitions, documentary films and videos, symposia, publications, and educational materials.

The Friends of the Royal Textile Academy of Bhutan extends deepest thanks to everyone for their attendance and generous support of the May 12th gala. We hope to continue inspiring individuals, foundations, governments, and corporations to value and support the revitalization of Bhutanese textiles and textile traditions.

 

Czech Castle Exhibition

 

The first traveling exhibit hosted in Bhutan was on exhibit in the spring of 2014 at the Royal Textile Academy. Titled “Czech Castles” from the Republic of Czech, the exhibit displayed 31 castles and chateaux from that nation. In attendance for the grand opening were: Her Majesty Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck, the Royal Patron of RTA, H.E. Deputy Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic Mr. Tomas Dub, H.E. Ambassador to the Czech Republic, other senior delegates of Czech, H.E. Prime Minister of Bhutan Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay and Ministers of the Cabinet of Bhutan.
Czech Castle Exhibition

 

Bhutanese Textiles in High Fashion

On March 27th 2014 the Textile Museum opened the exhibition ‘Bhutanese Textiles in High Fashion.’ Local designers, Sonam Choden Dorji, Kezang Anayat, Dorothy Gurung, Kencho Wangmo, Sangay C.Tenzin and SABAH Bhutan, and two Indian designers, Ritu Kumar and Rajesh Pratap Singh, showcased their work. The exhibition showcases how tradition Bhutanese textile traditions are translated into current fashion trends. Exhibits pull collections from the fashion show ‘Window to Woven Dreams’ which was held in conjecture with the grand opening of the Royal Textile Academy in spring 2013. Her Majesty The Queen Mother Sangay Choden Wangchuck graced the show as the honorable Chief Guest.
High fashion in Bhutan

 

Live Opera in Bhutan

In fall 2013 the story of ‘Acis & Galatea’ by Handel was told at Royal Textile Academy. The theater was a collaboration of the University of Texas at El Paso and the Royal Government of Bhutan. ‘Acis & Galatea’ was chosen because of its themes of eternal love. Traditional Bhutanese expressions of dance and music were incorporated into the story, integrating the two cultures in an unforgettable experience. Her Majesty The Queen Mother Sangay Choden Wangchuck graced the show as the honorable Chief Guest.
Live opera

 

His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo and the Gyaltsuen visits the Royal Textile Academy

On August 10th, 2013 His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Her Majesty the Gyaltsuen Jetsun Pema Wangchuck visited the Royal Textile Academy. Their Majesties viewed two galleries in the museum, and the Weaving Center. His Majesty applauded the achievements of the Royal Textile Academy and expressed his full support of the cause.
HRH visits the RTA

 

HRH Ashi Kesang Wangmo Wangchuck visits RTA

On September 25th, 2013 Her Royal Highness Ashi Kesang Wangmo Wangchuck visited the Royal Textile Academy. HRH toured the galleries with Her Majesty Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck, the Patron of the Royal Textile Academy.
HRH visits the RTA

 

Educational program at RTA

A total of 1,161 students from four schools and the Royal Thimphu College participated in the educational program conducted by the Royal Textile Academy in 2013. The students toured the two galleries of the Textile Museum and Weaving Center guided by two curators of the Academy Ms. Pema Chhoden Wangchuk and Ms. Karma Deki Tshering. The curators explained the importance of the Bhutanese textile art, its evolution, changes over time and the different names and patterns of Bhutanese textiles.
Weaving eduducation program

 

Third phase of construction begins

The ground breaking ceremony, Salang Tendrel, for the third phase of the Royal Textile Academy was conducted on the morning of September 15th, 2014. Monks from Pangrizampa School of Astrology performed the rituals. This administrative building will connect the Textile Museum and Weaving School. It will house the administrative staff, security and grounds staff, as well as a coffee shop, and additional stores.
3rd phase construction begins