Reflections on London Tibetfest 2018
Tibetfest was all we could have hoped for last Saturday at the Candid Arts Trust. Our annual event drew audience members from far and wide, with as many familiar faces taking part in our celebration of Tibetan culture as new ones.
Building on our experiences of last year, we were keen to fit as much as we could into the day, contrasting traditional views of Tibet with newer contemporary ones. We were really pleased with how the day went – and hopefully guests were too!
Bringing the spirit of Tibet to London
Monks from the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery were literally central to our event, spending the day delicately creating a sand mandala in the middle of the venue. Audience members watched eagerly, as two monks worked from morning until night, using sand to create mesmerising patterns on the floor. The creation of the piece culminated with a ceremony of its destruction – symbolising the Buddhist notion of the impermanence of life.
Building on the success of last year’s workshops, it was great to host Hanna, Sanghasiha and Samphel again, who delivered their yoga, meditation and circle dancing workshops respectively. We also participated in a Dranyen workshop with Jamyang. A testament to their popularity last year, we welcomed the return of Tibetan Mastiff Rescue UK, who bought Yang and Zeus along for photos, cuddles and the occasional bark – but only when they were woken up from an afternoon snooze.
We also had guests from Dharamsala join us for the day’s celebrations. We were treated to powerful protest poetry from Tenzin Tsundue. There were many Tibetans who were, of course, unable to join us last weekend, so we showed music videos from inside Tibet, transporting modern Tibetan culture to London.
Music was a running theme of the day, as we were treated to the UK’s leading Mongolian Khoomii singer, Michael Ormiston, who captivated the audience with his unique throat singing style. Resident poet Patrick Cash read out numerous poems throughout the day, exploring themes of marginalisation in his work. Our creative workshops were really well received, and a true testament as to why it is so important that we celebrate Tibetan culture in a way that reflects its diversity, uniqueness and strength.
Campaigning, education and outreach
There was also an activist element to the festival, with Free Tibet’s Campaigns Team creating an exhibition on religious freedom in Tibet. The exhibition was set in an occupied Tibetan monastery and detailed the effects of the invasion of Tibet, the Cultural Revolution and modern day Chinese Communist Party rule on Tibet’s monasteries and nunneries. The Campaigns Team also gave visitors an update on some of Free Tibet’s recent successes, including the recent news that Liverpool FC had terminated its sponsorship deal with the Chinese company Tibet Water.
As we take down the prayer flags and tidy up our displays, we’ll be reflecting on how to make Tibetfest even bigger next year.
For more Tibetfest pictures CLICK HERE