Portrait of Young Tibetans in Traditional Attire II




Juan Lamarca

Human – Honorable Mention

Location: Darjeeling, West Bengal, India

In February 2020, just before the world went into lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, I traveled from South Florida to India’s West Bengal state to document a people and culture in exile. I spent nearly three weeks at the Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Centre in Darjeeling, creating portraits of Tibetans (young and old) who are striving to preserve their way of life and their Buddhist religion. This center was founded in 1959 after the Chinese government invaded and took over Tibet territory by the use of violent military action and the Dalai Lama was forced to escape Tibet amid deadly tension. Today roughly 6 million Tibetans remain in Tibet, suffering and mass surveillance by the Chinese government, while more than 100,000 are in exile.
Those living and working at the Darjeeling Self-Help Centre represent multiple generations, and many have never stepped foot inside Tibet. They speak Tibetan, and they culturally identify with Tibet, but they’ve never been there. Their hope is that one day, the Dalai Lama can return and be free in their own land.

As an immigrant myself, I connected with the plight of these refugees and felt compelled to travel halfway around the world to photograph them. During my visit, I was able to commune with this immensely kind group of people as they went about their daily lives and celebrated the Tibetan New Year. I photographed craftsmen producing traditional items such as carpets, wood-carved furnishings, and prayer wheels. I photographed elders, teens, and children in their traditional New Year garb and kids playing in between their studies at the Central School for Tibetans, where they learn about their vibrant cultural heritage.
I came away with a deep reverence for their open, loving ways and their peaceful happiness and hope viewers feel this in these images.

More details:
  • Every print purchased goes to support the artist and proceeds also are donated to No Kid Hungry
  • Each print is custom printed by order on gallery quality, fine art, archival paper (if cared for correctly printed images retain their integrity for at least 70 years)
  • Paper stock is a 285gsm, matte, acid-free portrait rag
  • Prints are shipped in double-walled postal tubes, wrapped in acid-free contact paper

Please note: Each order is custom printed and includes standard shipping which will arrive in about 4 to 5 weeks. For quicker fulfillment, please choose the faster shipping add-on option at checkout which will arrive in about 2 to 3 weeks.


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