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.

26 December 2016

Remember Damchoe Sangpo February 17 2012

For Damchoe Sangpo, 38 yrs old monastic official of Bongthak Monastery, who self immolated
in Themchen country, Eastern Amdo (Tsonub Mongolian and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture at present), Tibet on February 17 2012.
He was a member of Bongthak Monastery's Democratic Management Committee, the government established body that runs the monastery.

The report says he died after setting himself ablaze after monks were banned from marking a  Monlam prayer ceremony, while other sources reported that he had objected to a rigorous "patriotic education" campaign at his monastery.

He studied at Drepung Monastery in South India in the 1990s.  He served as a religious teacher after his return to Bongthak Monastery.

The photo of him came out to the exile side along with the sad news was taken in front of Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India, where Buddha is said to have been enlightened under the holy Bodhi tree.

I wonder what was his life like after his return from the 'democratic' country,  where teachings of his belief and practice were vibrantly alive,  he could receive much blessing, and he could  breath air of freedom.

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. 

Announcement : Exhibition @ Museo de la Ciudad Queretaro, Mexico

Eyes Water Fire for Tibet ( Ojos Agua Fuego) for Tibet and for the world@ Museo de la Ciudad Queretaro, Mexico
December 9th 2016 to January 29th 2017

Eyes Water Fire and Drawings from Dharamsala is travelling to Mexico in honour of International Human Right Day and the H.H. Dalai Lama's Nobel Peace Prize anniversary. This exhibition was made possible by the support of Tibet Mexico Queretaro friends and Teleruz of ITN.  

All works, mostly mixed media installations, are made between 2012 up to date. Each piece has many layers of memories of many friends, young and old, whom I spent much time together in sorrow, joy, and prayers with candle lights. Therefore, I feel this occasion is to share their lives with other human beings (...maybe with other creatures too) in Mexico. The whole exhibition is meant to be a humble dedication to those who never lose hope and live in dignity, hope, and loving kindness.