“The Tibetans are as free as any people I’ve ever encountered”
In 1981 my friend, a filmmaker and I wandered into a full moon Losar Festival, a major gathering of Tlbetans wearing different costumes from from all parts of the country. In a special moment in time, we noticed a little group in the street in front of the stupa named “Bodhinath”. As they began to sing and play Tibetan songs, a small crowd gathered to enjoy their performance. My friend and I were both pleased and excited and immediately took pictures of them.
The moment lasts no more than five minutes, but it’s not something you see every day. When it ended everyone dispersed, but we stayed at the festival. My friend included his pictures in a documentary film for PBS.
• Title: Free Tibet
• Subject: Native Tibetians
• Location: California
• Completed: 1996
• Pieces: One
• Style: Classic Realism
• Colors: Blue, Red
• Signed: Yes
• Frame: n/a
• Purchase: Giclee, Other
I was and still am particularly fascinated with the uniqueness of the people, the history in the faces, the grandeur of the country. Over the years when I looked at the photographs and now at this painting, I remember how I felt at the time – faraway from home, a long distance from America.
Fourteen years later, when I decided to paint this scene, I changed the setting to the Himalayas (which I trekked to a few days after the Losar Festival) and include the Dalai Lama in the background. My still photos became the inspiration for this painting. The photos weren’t that fabulous but the potential for the painting was definitely there.
Tibet is a beautiful and fascinating part qf the world with an enigmatic history. I call the painting “Free Tibet” because I want to see Tibet free of repression.
At the same time, the Tibetans are as free as any people I’ve ever encountered.”