From the top:
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. email@example.com
17 October 2020
The Unforgettable Faces : Artist Notes on Ms. Yoonmi Jeon and the work. Title: Peace River – Bridge – Reaching out hands Tributes to (Ms) Yoomi Jeon. Prayers to peace and reunification in the Korean Peninsula
From the top:
The 6th Unforgettable Faces@Lee Hanyeol Memorial Museum "Peace and Reunification", Seoul, Republic of Korea: September 24 to December 31 2020
Lee Hanyeol Memorial Museum in Seoul, Republic of Korea is opening an annual thematic exhibition called 'The 6th Unforgettable Faces'. I am humbled to be included in this exhibition as one of 5 artists.
Every year, under a theme, the museum chose 5 to 6 artists and Koreans who devoted their lives for Korean societies. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Korean War and they set a theme 'Peace and Reunification" and chose activists who spent their lives for peaceful resolutions in Korean Peninsula.
Five 'faces' are:
Kim Sun Myong
Jeong Soon Deck
Lim Mi Young
Kim Seung Gyo
Five artists are:
Noh Won Hee
Kim Ok Sun
Kim Ji Gon
Lee Han Yeol Memorial Museum is a museum to remember and celebrate the life and the heroic death of student Lee Han Yeol. He was hit by tear gas canister in June 1987. This incident sparked the June Democratic Uprising bringing democracy to South Korea. Please visit our website to learn more about it at www.leememorial.or.kr/?tpf=memorial/face_list
14 June 2020
It is like your soul body overlapping with mine.
Breath in - I feel your pain and sorrow, I wish I could take away your pain and sorrow.
Breath out - I send you space and strength to your heart so as you can hang in there till pain and sorrow transform.
To all forms of living beings.
To the mother earth.
copy rights - tomoyo ihaya 2020
2 May 2020
A degree of feeling is too intense to express. Although a whole body is feeling something.
'Without women' ' threads of lives'
'exploited' 'deep wounds'
'permeates through threads of histories'
All the women in the past and present I met in different countries last year.
Sharing open heartedness and tears. Their sorrows that occasionally came out touched in a deep place in my achy heart.
Histories of women in conflicts, women who were wounded because they were women.
'empathy' 'reconciliation' 'compassion'
What to be women.
Since last summer, I have used only blue in my drawings.
1 May 2020
6년 전, 4월 16일
바다로 사라진 눈물은
밤하늘 가득 별이 되었고
상처로 가득한 마음을 비추는 별은
계속 빛이 나고 또다시 살아난다.
On April 16th, 6 years ago
Tears disappeared into the ocean
Became stars in the night sky
Shining to wounded heart
Stars keep shining and coming back to life again
작년, 제 마음에 깊게 새겨진 기억 중 하나는 진도에 있는 팽목항에 다녀온 것입니다. 나무 언니는 저를 해남에서 목포역까지 차로 데려다주었습니다.
그날 밤은 아마도 보름달이 떠있었던 거 같은데 달빛이 바다 표면에 반사되어 보였습니다. 그 바다에서 목숨을 잃은 많은 아이들이 생각나 가슴 아픈 순간이었습니다. 나무 언니의 슬픈 모습 역시 가슴 아픈 기억으로 남아있습니다.
이것은 그들을 위한 기도입니다.
Last year, one of those memories that were engraved in my heart was passing by Jindo - Paengmok port.
My tree sister was driving me to Mokpo station from Haenam.
It was a night of maybe-a-full moon. The moon was reflecting on the surface of the ocean.
Poignant moment of thinking of young lives who lost their lives near there. A sad profile of Namo unni.
This is an offering and prayers for them.
17 February 2020
They carried out their protest close to a local government office. Although paramilitary troops were deployed immediately, local Tibetans managed to prevent them from taking away their bodies and brought into Jonang Dzamthang Gonchen monastey. The monks and local people kept gathering at the monastery to offer prayers for them, pushing the deployed troop away.
They were both nomads in their early twenties and were related.
They left a will behind.
" Tibetans have unique religion and culture that is based on a belief that with love and compassion, one should devote himself for others. However at this moment, Tibet has been ruled by communist China and are under suppression. Tibetans' basic human rights were taken and we live in suffering.
With wishes that Tibet will be free and for the world peace, we will self immolate.
The pain of fellow Tibetans whose freedom have been taken is greater than our pain in the flame.
My dear parents, family and siblings, (the fact we will die today) does not mean we do not love you nor we want to be separated from you. We do not take our lives lightly, either.
We are both clear mentally and with pure heart and thoughts, we shall carry out this protest so as Tibet will gain its freedom, Buddhism keeps flourishing with wishes for all sentient beings' happiness and the world peace.
Please follow our last wishes If our bodies are fallen under the Chinese authority, please do not go against them. Our wish is that no Tibetan gets hurt because of our protest.
Whenever you feel sad about our passings, please talk to the teachers and tulks in the monastery. By doing so, please keep learning your culture and tradition. Please keep your love and trust to your fellow Tibetans, preserve the culture and stay united. If you keep doing so, some day, our dream will come true.
May our last wish come true."
23 January 2020
I was inspired by a traditional patch work in Korea called Jogappo조각보.
Because not only I had known about and loved this form of Korean craft since I was a young girl but also this form of craft by accumulations of stitching struck me as a metaphor of people lives being together. In every day life or in the struggle for dignity and freedom.
20 January 2020
While flipping old journals, I found a slogan by Tibetans in exile for a protest. I must have noted it down after being in one protest.
It struck my heart quietly, remembering memories of sharing sadness and being together with Tibetan friends during my long stay in Dharamsala in 2012.
Since towards the end of the last year, I have been painting these blue figures. A phrase 'together, we feel together' was on my mind during painting with blue.
I was thinking of countless humans who stood up for their freedom to be beaten up, arrested and murdered in many places in 2019 up till now.
Countless humans who are in prison and tortured.
Countless humans, whose basic rights to live with their cultural and social identities are denied and captured in detention.
Countless women who were and are victims of sex slavery during wars and conflicts, whose dignity, hearts and bodies were broken into pieces.
Often the sense of overwhelmingness and helplessness dominate.
What we can do with our small hands seem to be so limited.
The only thing I can do is to draw these. To feel them.
Together - ness - to feel pain, to share, to heal, to grow, without any border between you and me.
A wounded tender heart is the strongest, the most courageous and the most compassionate that would never give up to heal and reach out to other hearts. Hundreds, thousands of tender hearts are even stronger. There must be a way that we can change how the world is.
Instead of shouting the slogan, we recite one another like a song of clear water and soft breeze.
note: This caption, too, is still in progress. I am catching words.
12 January 2020
They, both monks from Tsodun Kirti Monastery in Barkham, together carried out a protest in front of the prefectural government offices and were taken to the hospital.
Chimey Palden was declared dead on the next day of their self-immolation protest.
Tenpa Darjey passed away on April 7 at a hospital in Ngaba area.
Their bodies were cremated by the Chinese authorities and ashes and remains were handed over to their families after, despite of fervent requests of their families and the monastery to return their bodies.
March 30, their protest day, happened to be the same day when Jamphel Yeshe's body was carried to and cremated in Dharamsala after his self immolation protest in New Delhi.