Chenda Singe Lama started learning Buddhism at the age of 16 from a local Yolmo monk from his community after which he left to become a carpet weaver, road maker, and a seasonal apple seller in India and Nepal. He has worked in seven monasteries (Mande, Bhotang, Nage Gumba, and Pu-ghar in Sindhupalchowk; Lama Dada in Chautara; Sano Chow in Dolalghat; and Adheri in Batabi) over the years, many of which were destroyed in the 2015 earthquakes. He is a self-taught sculptor and continues to work at Tashi Chhyoling Monastery in Sindhupalchowk.
In Tibetan, Lhokhor Chungni translates roughly to the “twelve year wheel.” They are based on the year of birth divided into 12 animals: tsi (mouse), lang (ox), tak (tiger), yö (rabbit), druk (dragon), trü (snake), ta (horse), luk (sheep), tre (monkey), ja (bird), khyi (dog), and phag (pig). These depictions of the 12 animals are used for various religious ceremonies. They are usually made out of four, or can be found in ready-made prints in the market. The wood sculptures that the artist uses in his ritual ceremonies are a rare experimentation he deploys to adopt an eco-friendly, reusable aspect in his own religious practice.
The artist’s participation is made possible with support from Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia.