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The exhibition of photographs by Nicholas Vreeland has been organized by friends of Photos for Rato in order to raise funds for the reconstruction of Rato Dratsang, one of Tibet’s most prestigious monasteries.

Robert Delpire participated in selecting the works: twenty photographs by Nicholas Vreeland taken over the 24 years he has been a Rato monk. Each image, signed and numbered, is part of a limited edition of 25 that will be on sale for $1,000 each.
In order to raise the necessary support for this important Buddhist institution a similar event will be held in Paris, Chicago, London, Genoa, Rome, Berlin, and New Delhi over the course of this year.


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. $500,000 is needed to complete this project.

Rato Dratsang is one of a few state monasteries, owned by the Tibetan government and under the direction of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

In 1983, the few Rato monks able to escape Tibet built a two-story building. New monks have since come from northern India, Bhutan, Nepal, Taiwan, and the United States. Today the Rato community consists of over 120 monks. Unfortunately, they live in difficult conditions, with four monks currently having to share one room.

The Rato monks therefore decided to build a new monastery to accommodate their growing community. It is designed to include a temple, 66 monks’ rooms, a dining room, and a kitchen, as well as an administration building.


Nicholas Vreeland is a Buddhist monk and member of Rato Dratsang. He was educated in Europe, North Africa, and the United States, after which he pursued a career in photography, an artform he was introduced to very early in life by his grandmother, Diana Vreeland, one of the most legendary figures in fashion. In the late sixties and early seventies, Nicholas Vreeland worked as an assistant to Irving Penn and Richard Avedon.

Vreeland was introduced to the Tibet Center in New York by John and Elizabeth Avedon, and followed the teachings of Khyongla Rato Rinpoche. After many years of study he became a monk in 1985. He was awarded a Geshe Degree (Doctorate of Divinity) in 1998, and now divides his time between The Tibet Center in New York and Rato Dratsang in India.

Rato Dratsang Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) non profit foundation. All funds raised by the sale of Photos for Rato will be exclusively used to complete the construction on the Rato Dratsang.

Nicholas Vreeland

Exhibition: November 13-21, 2009 Reception: November 13th 5:30-7:30pm

Douglas Dawson Gallery
400 North Morgan Street
Chicago, IL 60642

Order Photographs Online

All 20 photographs in the exhibition may be purchased online. Each image, signed and numbered, is part of a limited edition of 25.

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