It is truly said that “Life imitates Art”. With a couple of weeks remaining for the 13th Black-necked Crane festival, the local community of Phobjikha eagerly awaits the day with preparations in full swing.
The day brings community together and rejoices the arrival of Black-necked Cranes in the valley besides marking the importance of crane conservation. Hundreds of international tourists also join the celebration.
A 34 year-old Rinchen Khandu from Gangtey is one among the community who is also waiting for the day with a difference. His interest of the day is to thank the heavenly birds by exhibiting his paintings of the cranes.
Since childhood, he was inspired by the bird for its elegance and loud trumpeting sounds it created every winter in the valley. Painting as his hobby, Rinchen begin and end his day by painting birds, sceneries and traditional Bhutanese paintings. In 2005 with the setting up of Aman Kora resort in the valley, his hobby got paid off. The resort bought his paintings and creations. Traditional canvas and small rocks are used for his painting. Cloth paintings fetches him around Nu.1000 and while rock painting fetches him Nu. 60 per piece.
Frequently, Rinchen visits the Black-necked Crane Information Centre set up by RSPN and spends his time reading and inquiring the staff there about the cranes and its life. He is quite unhappy to know about the threats human create to the cranes.
In the upcoming Black-necked Crane festival he would want to show his fellow community members on how one can take advantage of the blessing the valley is showered with by having alternative ideas of sustaining oneself. The preparation began since the beginning of the year. His exhibits comprise the life cycle of the cranes, the mountains surrounding the valley above which the cranes fly, threats to the cranes, both natural and man-made. All the materials needed for the painting is being borne by him.
He thinks of publishing his paintings in a book one day to publicize the importance of the co-existence of the nature and human. It will also highlight the imminent threats that modernization can have for survival of the bird.
Reported by: Jigme Tshering, RSPN