His Holiness the Dalai Lama decided to reactivate the long and rich tradition of thangka painting and requested Ven. Sangye Yeshi to found the first school. It opened in 1977 at the Tibetan Works and Archives, Dharamsala. Due to the Library's restructuring, the school was closed in 1992.
Attracted by Ven Sangye Yeshi's and his students' reputation as great artists, new students continued coming. He trained them together with a network of his master artists. To ensure a high standard of training in the Menris tradition, he founded the Institute of Tibetan Thangka Art (ITTA) in 2004. It is a registered non-profit educational institution (134/2005), receives no governmental funding, and depends on private sponsors.
ITTA Founder, Ven Sangye Yeshi (1924-2009) started training as a painter at the age of thirteen in Ganden Manastery. In 1953 he moved to Drepung Monastery, near Lhasa, where he painted thangkas and murals, and became a master of the Menris style. After the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1959 he fled to India. His Holiness the Dalai Lama selected him as his personal painter in 1974 and requested him to start a school for thangka art in 1977.
Institute of Tibetan Thangka Art