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.

11 December 2016

For Tashi Rabten December 8 2016

For Tashi Rabten, a 33 yrs old former monk,  who self immolated in the township of Machu, Amdo, Tibet on December 8 2016. He set himself ablaze around 7 pm.  The witnesses to the protest heard him calling out for freedom for Tibet, for the return of the exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, and for the release of the missing Panchen Lama.  He walked on flame, fell, and scrambled to death.
 He is survived by his wife and two children, who have been taken into custody.  A number of his other relatives have also been detained after approaching the authorities to ask for his body for cremation. 
Further information reveal that Tashi Rabten is the cousin of Tsering Kyi, a 19year old student who died after carrying out a self-immolation protest in Machu on March 3 2012. Both the self-immolations took place at the same spot.

note:  When Tashi Rabten's carried out his self immolation protest,  I was in the middle of installation for the exhibition " Ojos Agua Fuego - for the Land of Snow"  at the Museum de la Ciudad in Queretaro, Mexico.  As a part of the mixed media installation 'Dharamsala 2012 - 2013",  I pinned up a Japanese newspaper cut out of  an article on self immolation protests written by Journalist  Miki Funakoshi, which included the interview to the late Tsering Kyi's mother.  While pinning, I read the article again in tears.  It was after did I find out  the further news that Tashi Rabten was a cousin of Tsering kyi.  
My thoughts are with Tsering Kyi's and Tashi Rabten's family. 
With sincere wishes that nobody has to give their life away like this any longer.