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Pavilion of Tibetan Culture Auroville
Patron: His Holiness the Dalai Lama
 

Newsletter
April, 2002

Construction Report

The construction of the Pavilion progressed at a good pace since our last Newsletter till mid-February when we had to stop the construction due to the lack of funds. The Pavilion structure is now completed and as you can see on the attached photo, has its final look though the slanted walls will have to be added later.

All the overhangs have been completed and we were able to give a first coat of paint before the beginning of the International Conference (see Museum Exhibition item).

Hundreds of visitors who came during the Auroville Week (21-28 February) said that "it feels good" to see the building really taking shape.

The main achievement has been the completion of the two guest rooms on the first floor which were 'inaugurated' by the staff of the Tibet Museum and later used by the artists of the TIPA.
However, a lot still needs to be completed and we are now in a financial impasse. All the workers except the carpenters have had to be sent away and right now we do not see how and when the work will be able to start again.

Our priority would be to complete the kitchen which is very useful when we have visitors and then the two remaining guest rooms. The main Conference Hall on the first floor would then be our next target.

We appeal once more to all those who have helped us to collaborate to make this Pavilion the first to be completed after the Indian Pavilion in the International Zone of Auroville.

Kalsang Dolma and Namgyal

As we had informed you in our last Newsletter, a young Tibetan Aurovilian couple have shifted in the Caretaker room of the Pavilion and are now taking a very active part in the maintenance of the building as well as the organisation of the different activities. It has been a major change for the Pavilion which has now a Tibetan life of it own.
Visit of the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts

The main event of the last months has been the visit and performance of the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA), the Dance and Opera troop of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, which was founded in India in August 1959, following the flight into exile of one hundred thousand Tibetan refugees escaping the Chinese occupation of their country. The TIPA was the first of the various institutions established by His Holiness the Dalai Lama's government-in-exile for the purpose of preserving Tibetan culture.

For the past fifteen years the TIPA has been performing regularly in India and abroad. These shows provide an opportunity for the Tibetan exile community to display the richness and variety of its folk culture and share it with the Indian and western public.

Though we, in Auroville, had the privilege to have the TIPA with us for two performances in February 1990, it was with great pleasure that we received them again after twelve years (a full circle of the Tibetan calendar). Four of our old friends of 1990 had come again, along with the younger generation of artists, who have kept the same of joy and spontaneity, but have also brought with them a new professionalism which makes them in great demand in the West.

They performed on March 12 at the Sri Aurobindo Auditorium in the Bharat Nivas (Indian Pavilion) in front a fully packed audience of more than 800 spectators. We were later told by many that it was undoubtedly the best performance of the year in Auroville.
Like usual, the most popular amongst the pieces performed by the TIPA were the stag dance, the gypsy (Repa) )dance, the lute(Dranyid) dance as well as the nomad (including the yaks) dance.

We are extremely grateful to Mr Ngawang Choedrak, the Director of the TIPA and an old friend of the Pavilion, for having made this performance possible. We hope to see him and his troupe soon again on the stage of the Sri Aurobindo Auditorium.

Visit of the Swedish and French Ambassador

In November, the Pavilion saw the visit of Mr. Johan Nordenfelt, the Swedish Ambassador to India and his Trade Commisioner Mr Olof Milveden who were shown around and explained the concept and progress of the International Zone.

A few weeks later, we were privileged to receive M. and Mme de Montferrand, the Ambassador of France in India. It was the first visit of M. de Montferrand who has been recently appointed as a member of our International Advisory Council. The Ambassador was accompanied by M. Christian Bader, the Consul General of France in Pondicherry and Chennai. They were shown an exhibition of panels of the concept of Auroville and its ideal of Human Unity. This set of panels had already traveled to Russia (for the Auroville International Meeting in St. Petersburg) and to the US. It returned to Auroville after a rather long stay at the Bombay customs who were wondering about this traveling concept of Human Unity. Our guest were also explained our objectives to have a window on the culture of Tibet in Auroville (and South India) and our wish that France would soon follow suit and start a cultural center in Auroville.

Visit of the International Advisory Council

In December the Pavilion had the visit of the International Advisory Council of Auroville. Composed by eminent international figures, the Council meets once in a year to advise the Government of India on policies to be followed for the International Township project. It is chaired by Prof Kireet Joshi the Chairman of the Auroville Foundation.
Dr. Mary King, a well-known civic rights activist and former advisor of President Jimmy Carter, now teaching at the UN University of Peace in Costa Rica was accompanied by two of her colleagues. Dr Aryarathne, the Sarvodaya leader of Sri Lanka who has been campaigning for peace and dialogue for many years in the war-torn island and who has recently been instrumental in starting the talks for a settled solution between the Government and the Tamil population in the North of Sri Lanka and M. Bernard de Montferrand, Ambassador of France in India, visited the Pavilion for a session on the international aspect of Auroville. With our colleagues of the International Zone and the Unity Pavilion we gave a presentation of the progress of the different projects under way, namely (and apart from the Indian and Tibetan Pavilions) the American, the Russian and the Unity Pavilions. They showed a very keen interest in the concept of this zone dedicated to unity in diversity and human unity, we hope that concrete proposals will be able to come out of their meeting.

The next day, Dr Mary King accepted to give a talk at the Pavilion on the theme "After Afghanistan". After her thought provoking introduction, we had a lively discussion particularly on terrorism and the American foreign policy. Dr King is a great believer in peace and negotiated settlements for world problems.

The Tibetan Medical & Astro. Institute

The most regular activity during the past two years has been the medical camp organized in collaboration with the Tibetan Medical & Astro. Institute (TMAI). Our Doctor, Dr Dorjee Rabten, the Chief Medical Officer of the TMAI branch in Bangalore is now a very popular figure in Auroville as many of us have been soothed and cured by his precious pills.

Exhibition "Tibet Museum"

We have been privileged to host an exceptional Photo Exhibition organized in collaboration with the Tibet Museum, Dharamsala.
The Tibet Museum, a commemoration and documentation Center based in Dharamsala, aims at collecting, preserving and presenting material related to modern Tibetan history and documenting the 50 years of Chinese occupation.

An itinerant exhibition, entitled "A Long Look Homeward" depicts the memories of old Tibet and projects the hopes and aspirations of the Tibetan people.

The Exhibition was held between February 25th and March 12th. It was inaugurated by Mr. Michel Caillouet, the European Community Ambassador to India and a host of diplomats, VIPs, Chief Architects, etc who had come to attend the Indo-European Cities Conference "City Networking for a Sustainable Future and Human Unity" organized by the European Community, Auroville Foundation and the cities of Paris and Venice.

It was a good occasion for the delegates of 14 Europeans nations and from all over India to visit the Tibetan Pavilion and see the rare photos of the Museum.

Two sessions of the Conference were held in the Pavilion itself.
Three young staff members of the Museum, Dickyi Yangzom, Yeshi Gyalwang, and Tsering Choedon accompanied the exhibits and were always available for guiding the visitors through the different sections of the exhibition.

They later wrote in their report:

We are proud to report that the exhibition area spanned across three different rooms. The first room (entrance) was used for opening and introduction panels, was well as the exhibits; Tibet before Chinese, Invasion, Resistance and Destruction. In the second room, the remainder exhibits were displayed along with that of the Curators. The third room was used to showcase the audio/visual component of our exhibition, which detailed the Human Rights violations in Tibet.
We can say that almost all visitors had a very positive reaction to the exhibition and this was reflected in our visitor book.

In conclusion, this exhibition was a success because it met our main objective to educate our people in India, as well as visitors from the international community.

Exhibition 'Dreamscapes'

In January, we had an exhibition of silk paintings entitled "Dreamscapes" by an Aurovilian artist, Firooza Aubry who has already exhibited her work in several places in India as well as in the West.
Her very colourful and inspired paintings were admired by many Aurovilians and visitors.

It is our policy that, to open our Hall to Aurovilian artists, when we do not have an exhibition of Tibetan thankas, photos or artifacts on display.

Training

One young Tibetan, Karma Sherap from Ladakh has been trained for 9 months in offset and screen printing technology. The training had been arranged through the PADME project of the Planning Council Dharamsala. Karma, a very serious and dedicated student, has now gone back to his native Ladakh and we hope that he will able to find a suitable job which will be useful to his community as well provide him with a living.

Films

We are planning to start a weekly screening of a movie on Tibet. During the past few months, we have been able to collect a good collection of films, thanks to different friends and well-wishers. We should particularly mention Meridian Trust who has donated two beautiful films featuring the visit of His Holiness in Ireland. The last one "What is Justice" was shot during a Conference organized by Amnesty International in Dublin. We are thankful to all those who helped us to start this small video library and to hold these Tuesday evening movie shows.

Once more, we would like to thank all those who help us in this project and its activities and request you to continue to help and support us in order complete the construction of the Pavilion at the earliest. We hope that it can soon be a vibrant center of the culture of Tibet in the universal township of Auroville and South India.

For further information or contribution, contact

Claude Arpi, The Coordinator
Pavilion of Tibetan Culture
Auroville, 605101, TN India
Tel: 91-413-622172/622136 Fax: 622062
Email: tibpav@satyam.net.in
http://www.auroville.org/thecity/tibet_pavilion/index.htm


 


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