Youth in conflict with the law find solace in Art

Many studies suggest “Art” as a versatile form of therapy to help individuals overcome their emotional, social and psychological challenges, and improve their wellbeing. To experience therapeutic intervention through art, some 19 youth who came in conflict with the law participated in the art exhibition in January this year.

It was held at the RBP’s youth development and rehabilitation centre (YDRC) in Tsimasham, where they are serving their prison terms.

These days, their art pieces are being showcased at the Art Exhibition titled “Colours Beyond the wall Volume II”, put up at Workspace in main Thimphu town.

On display at the exhibition are about 90 different artistic creations of the 19 youth, who came in conflict with the law.

According to Nazhoen Lamtoen, a civil society organisation, which empowers vulnerable children, the artworks depict the best versions of the artists.

The price of the arts ranges from Nu 2,500 to 6,000. Nazhoen Lamtoen said all the proceeds from the exhibition will be used for the reintegration programme of the young people.

Over the past three days, the exhibition sold about 30 art pieces, worth more than Nu 60,000.

“Whatever we earn from this exhibition will be used when these youth get reintegrated into the society after serving the prison term,” said Thinley Tobgay, the Executive Director with Nazhoen Lamtoen.

Assessing the art pieces, some well-known artists in the capital say the participants had an escapist experience sketching the pictures. The art has helped them derive positive thinking.

One of the volunteer artists from VAST Bhutan, Wang Rana Gurung, commended one art piece that highlighted about Zentangle, which is one of the popular art forms.

“One of the youths has drawn a woman, showing a Zentangle pattern and this requires a lot of creativity,” added Wang Rana Gurung.

The seven-day long art exhibition will end on Tuesday. The YDRC says they welcome any initiatives that benefit the youth, who came into conflict with the law.

‘‘While youth are staying here, our objective is to send them to nearby schools to study. We coordinate with the principal and provide boarding facilities. For others who are not educated, we give them vocational training to gain knowledge, so that they can eke out a living after release from here,” shared Major Tshering Zam with the YDRC.

That aside, the centre collaborates with Nazhoen Lamtoen, SAVE The Children and the UNICEF and organises life skill programmes to keep the youth well engaged.

The centre also invites some religious personalities to heal the minds of the youth by reciting prayers.

Karma Wangdi

Edited by Pema Lhaden

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