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 February 2013

For Namlha Tsering

For Namlha Tsering, 49 yrs old, who self-immolated on Feb 17 2013 in Labrang, Sangchu region, Amdo

'If we do not resist, we will be wiped out from the earth. Our sacred land will be exploited and our identity killed'
Heard one terrorist leader spoke on TV. And they kill.

Tibetan people are under the same situation for over 50 years, yet, like Namlha, carries out their non-violence resistance by a painful way of offering their bodies to fire.

I can not paint flame on your body anymore. It makes me cry too much. I can only paint a butter lamp, the light of hope to wish an ultimate path to your peace and freedom on your Land of Snows.