English | Dzongkha Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Ballpoint pen artworks on display at Nehru Wangchuck Cultural Centre


Dec 12, 2019

An Indian professional artist has made the most of something as ordinary as a ballpoint pen to create a work of art. Manilal Sabrimala,56, has drawn Bhutan’s cultural landscapes as the reminiscence of the past 11 years in Bhutan.

He first came to Bhutan as a Biology teacher in 1988. After resigning as a teacher, Manilal pursued a master’s degree in painting in India and started his professional career as a painter since 2001.

Today his artworks are on display at the Nehru Wangchuck Cultural Center in Thimphu. His artworks comprise of 25 illustrations which he says are a journey back in time when Bhutan was not as modernized as it is today. And looking at the pictures, one will probably not guess it was done with something as ordinary as a ballpoint pen.

“Those days I used to walk three days to reach even one school. So during those times, the villagers used to have a tough time without electricity and other facilities. So those things actually struck my mind and later when I landed in India, those memories created the kind of drawings. And some artists in India compelled me to carry on with the same pattern of drawings. So it ended with this kind of program,” shares Manilal Sabrimala.

The exhibition is a tribute to Bhutan where he dedicated his service as a teacher. And the ballpoint pen drawings are an indication of his honour and acknowledgement to the country.  As easy as it may look, it took Manilal two years to complete the 25 drawings.

“Ballpoint pen drawing actually is not an easy thing like a painting. Painting can be done very easily whereas once you start with the pen, each and every square millimetre will have to cover with the pen tip only. There is no short cut. So we have to sacrifice. With determination, dedication and patience, we can go for this kind of painting otherwise it won’t finish,” Manilal explains the effort he put into his artworks.

Before closing his exhibition later this week, he wishes to let the younger generations see Bhutan through a different medium. Today Manilal showcases his artworks both within and outside India. He also started an Art Foundation in 2012 which he says is linked to around 26 countries.

Sonam Pem

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