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University of the Arts London

Between inner and outward vision: Developing teaching methods to adapt established Bhutanese painting techniques to new technologies and audiences


This article adopts the format of a research paper and photo essay, documenting a painting workshop in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, carried out by an art and design lecturer of mixed Indian, South East Asian and European heritage, It describes the visual methodologies that informed the design of a colour study workshop, the outcomes of which were showcased at the exhibition Taming Colour in Bhutan (23 September, 2017). The images used in this article include photographs taken and shared on social media platforms by participants and attendees. Born out of complexities arising in Bhutan over the past decade that are related to artefact production, including the availability of acrylic paint and smartphones, the article considers perspective of a ‘knowledge gap’ in traditional Bhutanese painting to create transcultural, technical encounters with a focus on colour harmonisation and 3D rendering skills.



Bhutan, Choki Traditional Art School, Bhutanese contemporary art, cross-cultural education, visual research methods, photo essay, thangka


Author Biography

Talitha Balan

Talitha Balan teaches visual research methods as a Visiting Practitioner for UAL Academic Support and the Central Saint Martin’s Museum and Study Collection. She has completed an MA in Academic Practice in Art, Design and Communication in the Teaching and Learning Exchange at UAL. Artworks created to support her pedagogic and research practices were made during a 2017 artist-in-residence at Art Matters community studio (Richmond Fellowship, UK) and her landscape photomontages have been featured in publications such as Topiaria Helvetica (2015) for the Swiss Society for Garden Culture (SGGK).


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