Former student Tenzin Tseten Chokley wins French Award:
We are very happy and proud to learn about Tenzin Tseten Chokley’s prestigious Young European Jury Award (Prix du Jury de Jeunes Europeens) at International Festival of Audiovisual Program. The award winning documentary film “Our Land, Our People” is based on the most outstanding portrayal of art form by Tenzin Rigdol – another ex-student of TCV who brought 20,000 KG of soil from Tibet and creating a platform for the exile Tibetans to get the feel of our sacred land. His conception of modern art form with direct emotional tie-up with the audience was a unique.
A young artist sets out on a mission to bring Tibet home to its people through an art project that involves smuggling 20,000 kilos of native Tibetan soil across the Himalayas from Tibet into India, crossing the borders of three countries.
By virtue of his small mission, he forever touches the hearts of many Tibetans living in exile who are unable to return home.
This is a documentary film that tells the story of artist Tenzing Rigdol, as he sets out on this great mission to bring Tibet closer to Tibetan exiles through an unprecedented project – a site-specific art installation titled “Our Land, Our People.”
Through this groundbreaking site-specific installation, Tenzing Rigdol offers displaced Tibetans a chance to ‘return’ home. Although the artwork examines the plight of the Tibetan people in exile, it also has a wider resonance, exploring the notion of nostalgia, the idea of homeland and how art is intertwined with the political and the social. It also demonstrates the transgressive power of art as an act of defiance.
Lost in remorseful contemplation about his late father’s dying wish, Tenzing was struck by the sudden idea that this wish must be common among all Tibetans living – and dying – in exile. He wished that there might be something he could do as an artist to make this common dream a collective reality. Thus, an art project was born that could potentially be shared and experienced by all 150,000 exiled Tibetans.
In June 2011, after months of deliberation and preparation, Tenzing flew halfway across the globe from New York to Nepal, to set up base for the next two months to work on the new and secret (because of its highly political implications) project. As soon as Tenzing set foot in Nepal, new dangers became apparent, for it was common knowledge among Tibetans that Chinese spies and agents keep close watch on Tibetan political activities in the region. The project therefore, suddenly carried the very real possibility of arrest and criminal charges for everyone involved.
Five months later, in October 2011, the art installation titled, “Our Land, Our People,”opened to the public in Dharamsala, North India. Over the course of three days, nearly about 50,000 people visited the site. Tibetans, young and old, got a chance to walk on the smuggled Tibetan soil. People were also given the opportunity to speak, sing, perform and celebrate their land. It was a day that the Tibetan exiles will remember for an eternity. Tenzing says that for many Tibetans, being in the presence of the soil recalled the story of their own escapes from Tibet as refugees – many of whom similarly risked their lives to cross the HimalayanMountains to seek freedom in exile.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama blessing the Soil from Tibet