A young artist sets out on a mission to bring Tibet home to its people through an art project that involves smuggling 20,000 kilos of native Tibetan soil across the Himalayas from Tibet into India, crossing the borders of three countries.
By virtue of his small mission, he forever touches the hearts of many Tibetans living in exile who are unable to return home.
This is a documentary film that tells the story of artist Tenzing Rigdol, as he sets out on this great mission to bring Tibet closer to Tibetan exiles through an unprecedented project – a site-specific art installation titled “Our Land, Our People."
Through this groundbreaking site-specific installation, Tenzing Rigdol offers displaced Tibetans a chance to ‘return’ home. Although the artwork examines the plight of the Tibetan people in exile, it also has a wider resonance, exploring the notion of nostalgia, the idea of homeland and how art is intertwined with the political and the social. It also demonstrates the transgressive power of art as an act of defiance.
News Coverage about the Art Installation
Huffington Post: A Rehearsal Return: How Art & Cinema Help Tibetans 'Return Home'
WSJ: How to Smuggle Tibetan Soil to India
CNN: Far from home, Tibetans exiles set foot on native soil
BBC: Tibetan exiles walk on "home soil" in Dharamsala
WSJ: Tibetans set foot on smuggled piece of home
Art Daily: Tibetan artist transports 20,000 kg of soil
Art Asia Pacific: Tenzing Rigdol Brings Tibet to India
In the late 1950s, after Chinese troops invaded Tibet, Tenzing’s father was among the first group of refugees who escaped Tibet by crossing the treacherous Himalayas to seek freedom. Once in exile, Tenzing’s father lived in Nepal and India for most of his life before emigrating to the United States.
Throughout his childhood, Tenzing spent most of his time in various boarding schools and had little time with his parents. In March 2009, Tenzing’s father was diagnosed with cancer. In the months that followed, Tenzing stayed by his father’s side, as he struggled to fight his life-threatening illness.
These daily visits to the hospital and the subsequent talks with his father brought the two of them closer. A new friendship was born that added an unexpected dimension to their father-son relationship, as they shared their dreams and ambitions, and their deep and unfulfilled longing for their lost homeland. Tenzing's father eventually lost the battle with cancer. He died in New York, thousands of miles away from his homeland.
Following the experience of his father's last days, Tenzing began to question many things in his own life, especially those he had typically taken for granted. Among the most pivotal things that he clearly remembers from conversations with his father, was his strong desire to visit Tibet at least once before he died. Tenzing’s father’s greatest wish was to take his last breath in Tibet, on the soil of the place where he was born -- the place that he always called home.
Lost in remorseful contemplation about his late father's dying wish, Tenzing was struck by the sudden idea that this wish must be common among all Tibetans living – and dying – in exile. He wished that there might be something he could do as an artist to make this common dream a collective reality. Thus, an art project was born that could potentially be shared and experienced by all 150,000 exiled Tibetans.
In June 2011, after months of deliberation and preparation, Tenzing flew halfway across the globe from New York to Nepal, to set up base for the next two months to work on the new and secret (because of its highly political implications) project. As soon as Tenzing set foot in Nepal, new dangers became apparent, for it was common knowledge among Tibetans that Chinese spies and agents keep close watch on Tibetan political activities in the region. The project therefore, suddenly carried the very real possibility of arrest and criminal charges for everyone involved.
Five months later, in October 2011, the art installation titled, "Our Land, Our People," opened to the public in Dharamsala, North India. Over the course of three days, nearly about 50,000 people visited the site. Tibetans, young and old, got a chance to walk on the smuggled Tibetan soil. People were also given the opportunity to speak, sing, perform and celebrate their land. It was a day that the Tibetan exiles will remember for an eternity. Tenzing says that for many Tibetans, being in the presence of the soil recalled the story of their own escapes from Tibet as refugees - many of whom similarly risked their lives to cross the Himalayan Mountains to seek freedom in exile.
WE NEED YOU NOW
Over the course of a many months traveling with artist Tenzing Rigdol and capturing his every endeavor on camera and shuffling between three countries, a lot of effort and personal resource has gone into documenting this very public project. The problem now is that as much as we are dedicated to bringing this story to life and bringing it to your homes, our resources are limited and the costs are high. So therefore we decided to reach out to you and give you the opportunity to participation and support this film. Together with your help, we can really make this important project happen and when it's all done, we can all proudly say that we've been a part of making something meaningful and lasting.
So we are reaching out to everyone out there, Tibetans, Tibet Supporters and anyone who believes in freedom and in he power of art.
Make a pledge today via Kickstarter. Any contribution, no matter how small, will make a difference!
All contributions will be rewarded! Please check out the donation tiers to your right and decide which level and gift is right for you.
We are currently in the early stages of post-production with an expected completion date of December 2012. Your donations will be used to cover post-production expenses and help us achieve this important phase in order to finish the film on time. Your pledges will be used to cover the following costs.
- Color Correction
- Sound Design and Edit
- Music Composition
Just click the green “Back This Project” button in the upper right-hand corner. You will be asked to input your pledge amount and select a reward. From there, you will go through the Amazon checkout process. You must finish the Amazon checkout process for your pledge to be recorded.
Please help spread the word by telling your friends, family and social networks about our film and our Kickstarter campaign. Send the URL of this page with your kind recommendation to everyone you know! "Like" and Share the link on Facebook, Twitter and Blog about this film. Your support will help us bring this meaningful story to life.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE FILM
Visit our Website. www.bringingtibethome.com
As part of our fund raising drive, we are currently also looking to fill Executive Producer positions. Donors who pledge amounts larger than $20,000 will get Executive Producer credit on the film.
We are also fiscally sponsored by IFP and for all donations larger than $10,000, your contributions can be tax-deductible if donated through IFP. Contact us for more details.
For this and other ways to help, please contact us
With many thanks and gratitute for your generous support.
Tenzin Tsetan C. (Five by Nine Films)
- (40 days)