Towards the last two months of my last visit to India in the spring of 2012, I encountered the Tibetan community in exile in India experiencing painful news of their people self-immolating in fire one after another in China-occupied Tibet. My experiences in the past visits in India (drawing a cremation site in Varanasi, documenting fire pits, cremation alters, and contemplating on life and death around fire) synchronized with this particular movement, an extreme way of ‘offering’ their bodies to ‘fire’ for asking freedom and peace.I could not help drawing large and small drawings as emotional response and with a sense of mourning.

After coming back to Vancouver, the self-immolation kept happening and I felt that my personal and professional task is not finished.

I have come back to India to continue to document and draw under the same theme.

9 November 2015

Remember Dawa Tsering October 25 2011

For Dawa Tsering, a monk from Kartze Monastery, who carried out a self immolation protest on October 25 2011 in Kartze, Kham, Tibet.

He set himself alight and shouted slogans calling for the Dalai Lama's return to Tibet during a religious ceremony at the time of a Cham dance.  Hundreds of local people were in attendance.
He was taken back to the monastery to be taken care and monks and laypeople tried to prevent Chinese police from detaining him.

He survived from this protest and the photo of him with his father at home came out to the exile side after less than one year.  The picture showed a gaunt Dawa Tsering with his chine and throat shriveled up with dark patches.

"His future remains unknown and uncertain because he might not be allowed to return back to his monastery. Instead, he could be jailed at any time"

I think of him, wondering how he is now after four years.  I hope he carries light in his heart no matter what struggles he faces.  He is so far away and our hands can not reach him easily.

1 November 2015

Eyes Water Fire

Thousands of Eyes
Shedding tears
Vessels floating
On rough water
Legs crossing glaciers half frozen
In the snow mountains
Keep flames burning to show
That we are here and we have here to live
To reach the light
Tears of light