THE Kham Aid Foundation website provides a guide on what to expect for those who sign up as volunteer art conservators. Although no experience is needed for the wall paintings conservation tasks, volunteers should be “educated, caring and patient”.
Kham Aid hopes to get a multi-talented team to help with tasks, besides cleaning wall paintings.
It would like to document the contents of the murals as they are being slowly revealed, and hence would welcome a handyman who can produce a video of the project.
Volunteers could also help Tibetan villagers with their cooking, English, and general hospitality skills.
Traveling in Tibet can be very tiring and difficult at times, so volunteers need to be healthy. “Those over 40 years old may worry about altitude adaptation but everyone needs to consult a doctor first. Older people are not more vulnerable to altitude sickness than the young,” says the website.
Tasks will be organized by the head conservator and include preservation of ceiling panels and altars, with some tasks demanding a great deal of hand-eye coordination.
Volunteers can also help prepare materials, keep the stock room organized, take photographs or videotape or document the work through written notes. Those with knowledge about Tibetan Buddhist art and iconography can assist with documenting what’s in the paintings.
Volunteers who are willing can help to clean up the local primary school, which has been closed for several years, and teach English to the villagers.
So far the murals depict Buddhist deities, legendary tales of the lives of Buddha and symbolic and decorative elements such as lotus flowers and clouds or have inscriptions in the Tibetan language. Some paintings are so dirty that their contents cannot be deciphered.
One of the main reasons for doing this project is to find out what’s underneath the dirt.
Volunteers may also enquire about lodging facilities and get advice on food, drinking water, weather, communication and medical facilities.
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