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.

17 June 2017

Remember Rinchen March 4 2012

For Rinchen, a Tibetan woman in her early thirties, who self immolated in Ngaba town, Ngaba, Tibet on March 4 2012.  She set herself on fire near a military camp in the vicinity of Kirti monastery.

She was a widowed mother of four children.

According to Tibetan monks from Kirti monastery who are now in exile, as she set herself ablaze, Rinchen shouted "Return His Holiness to Tibet" and "We need freedom". She passed away soon afterwards.

While drawing her after five years of her passing, I think about her children and the land of Ngaba, where close to 50 people have self immolated since 2009. Its beautiful green pasture holds so many tear drops, strong spirit, and desperate prayers for peace and freedom.