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Field of Wishes TsaTsa Workshop

with Artist Sonam Dolma Brauen

Thursday, February 29, 2024
1:00 PM–3:00 PM

Join us for a unique opportunity to contribute to the Rubin’s next exhibition Reimagine: Himalayan Art Now, opening March 15. For her installation Field of Wishes, participating artist Sonam Dolma Brauen will encircle a stupa from the Museum’s collection with 240 tsatsas. Participants will make their own tsatsas and place a paper inside with wishes for inner and world peace. Each participant’s tsatsa will be featured in the Field of Wishes installation.

In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, tsatsas are votive offerings utilized to commemorate the dead. The ashes of a deceased person are often mixed with clay and used to make figurines with tsatsa molds. These figurines are placed in sacred places to accrue positive merit for the deceased person as well as those who placed them there.

This installation holds great personal significance for the artist, as the figurines are modeled after the tsatsa mold that her family brought with them during their escape from Tibet. By inviting community participation in the creation of her work, Sonam Dolma Brauen intends to convey peace, togetherness, and connection to one another.

By attending this program, you agree to be photographed, videotaped, and/or audio recorded for promotional and educational purposes.


Artist Statement

“As someone who has experienced displacement and the loss of my homeland,” I have a deep understanding of the challenges and complexities that come with being uprooted from one’s cultural and geographical context. Through my installations and artworks, I explore themes of identity, belonging, and the search for a sense of home. By incorporating elements of my lived traditions, such as tsatsas . . . into my art, I aim to create new narratives that challenge the past and redefine my own identity. It allows me to share my own journey and perspectives while also inviting others to contemplate their own sense of self and place in an ever-changing world.”


About the Artist

Born in 1953, Sonam Dolma Brauen spent the first six years of her life living high up in the Tibetan Alps. Due to the  occupation of Tibet, she fled across the Himalayan mountains with her family to India.

At 19, she and her mother emigrated to Switzerland, where she married Swiss anthropologist and curator Martin Brauen. They have two children, Yangzom (movie director) and Tashi (artist).

Sonam Dolma Brauen, who paints mainly abstract pictures, began her art training in 1990, studying at Art School Bern. After moving to New York City in 2008, where she lived for four years, she began creating installations using materials such as monk robes from Tibet (My Father’s Death; currently on view at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, MO) and plaster tsatsas.

Globalization and displacement have had a significant impact on the artist’s perception of herself. The artist’s provocative works utilize human hairs, teeth and used ammunition shells to comment on contemporary society. Her works have been exhibited in Switzerland, Germany, Korea, Holland, USA, and Italy.


Reimagine: Himalayan Art Now is supported by Bob and Lois Baylis, Noah P. Dorsky, Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, Dan Gimbel of NEPC, LLC, Agnes Gund, New York Life, Matt and Ann Nimetz, The Prospect Hill Foundation, Eileen Caulfield Schwab, and Taipei Cultural Center in New York.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

The Rubin Museum’s programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.

This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.


Image: Sonam Dolma Brauen; Field of Wishes; 2023; Clay; Courtesy of the artist

Ticket Price: $35


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Student Tickets: $20


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