Tibet, heart of Asia


‘Thirty years have passed since, on the 10th of March, 1959, the People’s Republic of China invaded and annexed one of the world’s most peaceful, religious, and secluded countries, Tibet; surroun-ded by a silent and indifferent outside world, the tragedy took place of a people which has preserved, on the ‘Roof of the World’, one of the most fascinating and particular forms of Buddhist doctrine, that of the ‘Vajarana’, or ‘Vehicle of the Thunderbolt’. In October 1987 the insurrection of Lhasa brought Tibet suddenly to the attention of the distracted world; after three decades of per-secution and compulsory indoctrination the Tibetans had not renounced their identity. Vajarana Buddhism and the Tibetan civilization became, at this point, objects of study and of interest for the Western world, and it has become increasingly more evident that these constitute a rich heritage for the whole of humanity. His Holiness Tenzing Gyatsom, the fourteenth Dalai Lama, cur-rently in exile in India, at Dharamsala, continues to provide hope and inspiration for the six-and-a-half million Tibetans who have remained on the other side of the Himalayas. ‘Tibet, heart of Asia’ represents a unique testimony, offered by a person who has travelled extensively for more than ten years in the areas where the Tibetan civilization once prospered and is now in agony, and in the places where tens of thousands of Tibetan refugees are struggling to preserve and develop the religious and cultural traditions of Tibet as it once was. The exhibition, with more than a hundred 40×50 cm. photographs, is therefore both a tribute and at the same time a gesture of love from Europe to a people which is only one in a long series of victims of the crushing weight of ideology. Divided into four sections, the exhibition presents above all the environment in which the Tibetan civilization grew and flourished, the rural settlements along the valleys of the Tibetan Himalayas, and the urban developments, including the city of Lhasa, where the Dalai Lama resided until 1959. Another section illustrates the most important sacred symbols of the Tibetan civilization, ranging from the famous monasteries, as large as a small town, to the traditional forms of sacred art and the rich liturgical life of Vajarana Buddhism, with its typical cho-ral religious functions. The last section is dedicated to the diaspora of the Tibetans, and links the ancient reality of Tibetan culture to the serious problems of today. Dharamsala has become the seat of the Tibetan government in exile, and residence of the Dalai Lama, the world focal point for all those cultural and religious activities that conserve and propagate the heritage of Tibetan traditions. The exhibition also presents images of the recent protests of the exiles against ideological colonialism, a demonstration of courage and resolution which calls for the whole-hearted support of the Western world. CLAUDIO CARDELLI, 38, lives and works at Rimini, and has for many years collaborated with a number of publications in the field of geographical and anthropological research. He commenced his travels in Asia at the beginning of the 1960’s, making various documentaries on the culture and religion of a number of Asian countries. In the last ten years his interest has been directed towards Indo-Himalayan civilization, and in particular the historical and political affairs of Tibet. The 1987-88 Winter volume of ‘L’Umana Avventura’ featured several of his photographs in the special dossier dedicated to Himalayan culture. The exhibition presented by the Meeting has been organized in collaboration with his wife, Paola Mornati.’


20 Agosto 1988 - 27 Agosto 1988


Exhibitions Meeting Exhibitions