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.

6 August 2013

For Karma Nyedhon Gyatso

For Karma Nyedhon Gyatso, 39 yrs old monk, who self-immolated at Boudha Stupa, Kathmandu, Nepal on August 6th 2013.

He is from Damshung Tibet. He crossed the boarder to Nepal on January 30th 2012.

A witness wrote that he sat cross-legged silently while being engulfed in the flame.

In the painful picture of his sacrificed body, I saw his arms were raised as if he were to reach the sky, the transparent and blue sky in his motherland.

1 August 2013

For Her

The wind blows, fire burns strongly
a woman set herself on fire
Life is burning
Dead bodies, dry bones and black aches are
whirling in the wind, lightly drifting
A feather of bird into the sky
In this way, the wind is murmuring
in a low voice of new life
In this way, the fire is burning
in the blowing wind
In this way,
soul is coming back home

by Yakman K.Tsering