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 December 2012

For Bhenchen Kyi

For Bhenchen Kyi, 17 yrs old, who set herself on fire in Dokarmo, Tsekhog region, Rebkong, Amdo, on December 9 2012.

You set yourself on fire on green pasture near your home, as if you turned into the soil of your motherland.  As you wished, your family and two thousand people gathered around to protect your body.  Blessing rain and snow fall on the mountains here in Dharamsala and we are sending you prayers, candle lights and lotus flowers.