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 March 2013

For Kunchok Tenzin

For Kunchok Tenzin, 28 yrs old, a monk from Mogri Monastery in Luchu region, Kanlho, Amdo, Tibet.
He self-immolated on March 26 2013

Your portrait appeared online along with a photo of the monastery on the dry hill surrounded by mountains with dry trees.

Your face was beaming. It reminded me of a growing
young tree.

Friend send me a photo of a 2500 yrs old Tibetan cypress. Cypress is also called a sun tree.

I wish that your will will stay in our minds for that long, like this tree blessing and protecting your land and people.