Nicholas Vreeland - Photos for Rato

Nicky Vreeland was born in Switzerland and had lived in Germany, Morocco, France, Italy, and America before coming to live in India. And if his surname sounds familiar, it’s because his grandmother was the influential fashion editor Diana Vreeland. This exhibition shows photographs taken by Vreeland at the Rato Dratsang Monastery in Karnataka, where he lived for many years as a Buddhist monk.

Rato Dratsang, a Tibetan monastery founded in the fourteenth century and devoted to the study of Buddhist logic, is being reconstructed in the south Indian state of Karnataka. It is one of a few monasteries under the patronage of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

In 1959, after the Chinese invasion of Tibet, a few Rato monks were able to escape to India, and in 1983 they built a two-storey building in a Tibetan refugee settlement in Mundgod, Karnataka. New monks have since come from Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal, Taiwan, India, and the United States. Today Rato Dratsang has over 120 monks. A new monastic campus is necessary to accommodate Rato’s growing community. The campus along with its guesthouse and all landscaping has been designed by the Delhi based architect Pradeep Sachdeva and his associates Vidya Tongbram and Madhu Shankar to incorporate south Indian architectural elements with Tibetan monastic traditions and needs.

The new monastery includes a temple, 88 monks’ rooms, a kitchen, a dining hall, a debating court, and an administrative building. The renowned photographer Martine Franck and a group of friends of Rato monk Nicholas Vreeland, proposed that his pictures be exhibited and sold to gather funds for the monastery. The famed publisher and editor of photographic books, Robert Delpire, selected the works: twenty photographs by Vreeland taken over the 26 years he has been a Rato monk. Each image, signed and numbered, is part of a limited edition of twenty-five 16” x 20” Silver Gelatin prints on fiber based paper. A limited number of “30” by “40” special edition prints are also available. In order to raise the necessary support for this important Buddhist institution similar events have been held at the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation in Paris, as well as in New York, Genoa, Rome, Chicago, Milan, Napes, Berlin and New Delhi.

All sale proceeds will be completely used for Rato Dratsang. 

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Exhibition schedule:

Kolkata - 12 August - 22 August 2021

Bangalore - 20 September - 12 October 2021

Chennai - 25 November - 10 December 2021

Mumbai - 15 January - 25 January 2022

Ahmedabad - 06 April - 14 April 2022