Exiled Tibetans standing on Tibetan soil
Many young Tibetan exiles have never set foot in their native homeland and, for the most part, the older generations have only their memories or dreams as reminders. While it cannot replace returning to the place of their roots, one Tibetan artist made it possible for them to “walk on Tibetan soil” in an art installation — “Our Land, Our People” — that he had constructed in Dharamsala, India.
The Nepalese-born artist Tenzing Rigdol, a Tibetan refugee now in New York, transported some twenty tons of Tibetan soil to a raised platform area in the city that is home to the exiled Tibetan government. A microphone was also on standby at the site, for those who felt moved to express themselves. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama blessed some of the soil on the opening day.
Today marked the installation’s last day, with exiled Tibetans showing up to help dismantle “Our Land, Our People” before taking bits of the soil back home with them. In a statement by Face of Tibet about this work of art, “Rigdol’s installation provides a form of resistance against authoritarian power, by giving voice to those who have been uprooted from their land. In many ways, it enables the displaced to return home.”