AUSTRALIA: The Eighth annual Festival of Tibet was held from 18 – 24 April, at the Brisbane Powerhouse Performing Arts, Australia. His Eminence the 7th Kyabje Yongzin Ling Rinpoche graced the event with his presence and conducted a teaching on Karmic Imprints.
Mr Lhakpa Tshoko, Representative of Office of Tibet, Australia introduced His Eminence to the audience.
Special guest Dr Vandana Shiva, a world-renowned scholar and environmental advocate gave keynote speech. Dr Shiva’s passionate and compelling talk ‘Making Peace with the Earth’ addressed the importance of the earth itself as well as Tibet’s pivotal role as the water source for billions of people throughout Asia. The program was moderated by Paul Barclay, host of Big Ideas, and was recorded to be aired on ABC Radio National.
Enthusiastic audiences enjoy varied and engaging experiences that showcased the rich Tibetan culture through concerts, exhibitions, panel discussions and workshops.
The Australian Tibet Council hosted a panel discussion on ‘Tibet, Climate Change and Our Common Future’ as part of its campaign on Tibet’s environmental concerns. Among the panels were Mr. Tsering Dorje, a Tibetan former political prisoner who shared his direct experiences of life in Tibet; Michael Buckley, a Canadian expert on environment and development challenges in Tibet; and Community advocate Kirsten Lovejoy, the Greens candidate for Brisbane in the upcoming Federal elections. The discussion was chaired by Simon Bradshaw, ATC board member, climate change specialist and author of the ATC report ‘Tibet – An Environmental Challenge’.
The Festival’s creative offerings was led by a screening of Bringing Tibet Home directed by Tenzin Tsetan Choklay, which features the creation of an audacious work of subversive art by artist Tenzing Rigdol. The affecting documentary explores the personal pain of Tibetan exiles treading on home soil that has been smuggled out of their homeland to India. The documentary accompanied ‘Karmic Imprints: Liberation Through Seeing’, a unique exhibition of artworks from prominent contemporary Tibetan artists from throughout the wider diaspora. The exhibition opened a window into the minds of these artists, some of whom have experienced censorship during their careers, and the conflicts and synergies that exist between identity, traditions, spirituality and life in the modern world.
Profound and moving, the concert ‘Bardo Songs – Liberation through the senses’ featured real-time painting by acclaimed Tibetan artist, Karma Phuntsok. Together with extracts from the Tibetan Book of the Dead and a collaborative score coordinated by Festival Director Tenzin Choegyal and featuring some of Brisbane’s finest musicians – Marcello Milani, Shen Flindell, Peter Hunt, and Yeshe Reiner. Lucid poetry combined with sublime music and songs to create a mesmerising audio-visual art experience that provided a window into the moments just before and just after death and how we prepare for the mind’s release from the body and the experiences of ‘the between’.
The ‘Tibet on Fire’ concert featured folk dances and songs by Australia’s most renowned Tibetan musicians. The evening was presented by Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts graduate Tenzing Yeshi from Melbourne, and featured original music by Japan-based Tibetan artist Genyen Tenzin as well as traditional folk dances by Brisbane’s own young Tibetan performers Kunsang Dekey, Tenzin Methok and Tenzin Sherab. The evening was wrapped up by a vibrant performance by the Roaring Fire Choir led by local vocal legend, Yani Choirmasters. The final heart-wrenching song was Pink Floyd’s ‘Turning Away’, which explores and laments humanity’s tendency for less than compassionate treatment of people fleeing from poverty, oppression, persecution, and war – a timely remark on current issues in Australian and indeed international politics.
Tibetan Buddhist teacher Khen Rinpoche Geshe Tashi Tsering discussed techniques for developing compassionate nature and how to effectively apply it in everyday life.
Visitors to the festival practised yoga and meditation every morning during the festival. The festival also included workshops on Tibetan calligraphy, introduction of Thangka paintings and chakra healing.
Ven Karma Gyasey from New Zealand created a beautiful sand mandala, culminating in the spiritually charged dissolution ceremony on the final day. The director Tenzin Choegyal delivered a vote of thanks.
The 2016 Festival of Tibet was a celebration of resilience and optimism, a demonstration of collective efforts by the Australian Tibetan communities in preserving Tibetan culture and traditions. Furthermore, the Festival was profoundly moving and memorable with the compassion and support from the broader Australian community in support of the Tibetan people.
– Report filed by the Office of Tibet, Australia –