Discovering new styles of art is a wonderful way to expand your horizons, learn about cultures and encounter a new aesthetic. Himalayan art, which originates in the geographic area commonly known as Tibet, is finding its way into museums, homes and indoor/outdoor spaces worldwide. It can be exhilarating to explore and a challenge to know how to begin the process. Here are a few ideas to make your discovery pleasurable and meaningful.
Choose Your Setting
Museums, holy sites of pilgrimage and local meditation centers are all settings where you’re likely to find magnificent examples of Himalayan art. Special exhibits, such as the collection of Louise Gund, provide carefully curated pieces, knowledgeable staff and helpful written materials to enrich your visit. If you’re traveling to a large city or Asia, search online to find museums, temples and pilgrimage destinations that may host traveling exhibitions or have art that is part of the everyday life of the venue. Buddhist meditation centers often contain at least one striking work; in that case, it’s a good idea to search or call in advance to confirm hours that are open to the public.
Taking the time to learn about the art before you visit can make a big difference in the quality of your experience. Getting a broad view of Himalayan art through specialized broadcasts (check your cable, Hulu or Netflix listings), user-friendly websites and the art section of your local bookstore are all enjoyable ways to get familiar. If you’re going to a museum, specialized exhibitions usually offer a wealth of online imagery and informational context for your pre-visit preparation. Even if the art is part of a permanent collection, a quick search of the name of the piece can yield fascinating knowledge.
Modern culture is often hurried and distracted — the opposite frame of mind that’s optimal for experiencing Himalayan art. Taking the time to mindfully “look into” the qualities of this type of art is usually a careful, unrushed practice. Carving out plenty of time to get ready, travel to the destination, view at a leisurely pace and reflect afterward can greatly enhance your encounter. Preferences vary as to whether it’s best to go when crowds are present or when you’re likely to be one of just a few people. Let your needs and temperament be your guide. If you enjoy writing or drawing, it’s a great idea to bring a journal to sketch, reflect or write down your impressions.
There’s a good chance you might find some Himalayan cuisine (or something similar) not too far from the art you’ve visited. Check out nearby restaurants to extend your Himalayan art experience. Whether by yourself or with friends or family, involving as many senses as possible can heighten the pleasure and sense of connection associated with discovering something new. You might even find a related music concert nearby!
Enjoying and appreciating Himalayan art can be exciting yet daunting. Keeping a few of the above suggestions in mind will help enliven your experience.