The 2002 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, “The Silk Road: Connecting Cultures, Creating Trust,” which begins on June 26, 2002, in Washington, D.C., will feature Tibetan monks, carpet weavers and a Thangka painter. The festival will continue until July 7, 2002.

The Festival will include some 350 traditional artists – musicians, dancers, craftsmen, storytellers, bards, cooks, martial artists, and others – from 20 nations, according to the Smithsonian Institution.

Tibetan participants include: Atlanta-based monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery, who will be constructing a sand mandala; Yeshi Dorjee, a Los Angeles-based Tibetan Buddhist monk who will demonstrate the art of thangka painting; and Tsering Bhuti and Dawa Tsamchoe, who will demonstrate Tibetan carpet weaving. These two Tibetan women are from the area just over the Himalayan range inside Tibet, and currently reside in Nepal. They learned the fundamentals of Tibetan carpet weaving as children and are now experts in hand carding, spinning and weaving Tibetan-style carpets, according to the Smithsonian Festival organizers.

The 2002 Smithsonian Folklife Festival features The Silk Road, a living exhibition of the music, crafts, culinary and narrative traditions involved in the historical cultural interchange between the “East” and the “West.”

Among the highlights of this year’s festival: Silk artists from China, Central Asia, and India; Tibetan, Turkish, and Turkmen carpet weavers; Chinese and Turkish porcelain makers; Glass blowers from Syria and the United States; Paper makers from Italy, Japan, and China; Turkish, Armenian, and Chinese calligraphers; Kathputli puppeteers from India; Pakistani truck painters; Chinese opera performers; Buddhist monks from Tibet; Mongolian and Tuvan throat singers; Baul singers from Bangladesh; Kazakh nomads; Azeri and Turkmen bards; Bukharan Jewish wedding musicians; Courtly music ensembles from Azerbaijan, Iran, and Uzbekistan; Dervishes from Turkey; Nestorian-Jacobite Christian Choir from Syria; and Mongolian wrestlers.

The 2002, the Festival program is produced in collaboration with the Silk Road Project, Inc. – an organization founded by cellist Yo-Yo Ma and supporting concerts, activities, and educational programs across the United States, Europe, and Asia on Silk Road themes.

The Smithsonian Institute also organized a very successful Tibet festival during its 2000 Folklife Festival.