"Golden Child/Black Clouds, is a continuation of my previous paintings using both the Tibetan Spirit iconography from my solo show last year as well as silhouettes. The spirits initially acted as pioneers exploring the new and foreign environments in which the Tibetan Diaspora found themselves living after 1959. Now, the spirits are wiser, looking over a new generation of Tibetan children. The use of children in this series brings immediacy and a more personal connection to today’s events. The spirits still lurk in the surrounding black smoke clouds, bearing witness to all that is unfolding and transforming.
These children are scattered across the world, some growing up in modern Western cities such as New York, London, San Francisco while others are born in more traditional Eastern countries such as Nepal, India, or Tibet. The fascinating thing is that both types of children are increasingly exposed to the other side of the world because of travel and the internet. Western Tibetan parents often want their children to learn about their traditional culture so they send them off to study in the east, whereas kids growing up in Tibetan schools learn English while dreaming of escaping to America. The distinction between East and West is still quite apparent but with increasing contact this has begun to blur. Right now, individual Tibetans might seem foreign to each other because of their initial upbringing but I’m curious if this will transform in the coming years especially in common meeting places such as Dharamsala.
This secondary dispersal from place of birth is creating children who are growing up without a single place to call home. They are forced to adapt in different ways, often without the guidance of parents. The global environment is filled with chaos and frightening events which I show through the silhouettes surrounding the children. They are seeing their Tibetan elders self-immolating at an increasing rate in the more oppressed countries. However, at the same time, these acts of desperation are giving a sense of cohesion and focus amongst the diversity of older Tibetans who might never speak with one another. So, amongst the chaos and bleakness of the modern world, there is still a ray of hope for this next generation; they are golden and the promise of the future amongst the black clouds". - Tsherin Sherpa
Born in 1968 in Kathmandu, Tsherin Sherpa lives and works in California. Sherpa studied traditional Tibetan thangka painting from the age of twelve under the guidance of his father, Master Urgen Dorje, a renowned thangka artist from Ngyalam, Tibet. After six years of intense formal training, he left to study Mandarin and computer science in Taiwan. Three years later, he returned to Nepal working with his father in numerous projects that included painting thangkas and monastery murals.
In 1998 he moved to the USA working as a thangka artist and as an instructor at several Buddhist centers in California. In recent years his emphasis has shifted from traditional subjects to more contemporary concerns, including imagining what traditional Tibetan spirits would now look like if they too had left Tibet and journeyed with him to California.
His technique is precise and as immaculate as ever, but the new Tibeto/Californian spirits are possessed of a revitalised energy: some depicted as children, others shown as quaintly demonic or possessed of a cocksure sexiness. Often he appropriates globalised icons and logos of mass culture and luxury branding, taken from the internet, in a style he calls CyberPop.
In 2010 he was featured in the groundbreaking museum show in Beijing The Scorching Sun of Tibet, as well as the landmark Rubin Museum show Tradition Transformed - Tibetan Artist’s Respond, in New York. In 2012 he had his first solo show at Rossi & Rossi, London.
In collaboration with Rossi & Rossi Gallery.