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.

16 March 2014

For Lobsang Palden and an unidentified monk

For Khechok Palden, a monk from Kirti monastery, Ngaba, Amdo and an unidentified monk from Tsekhog, Malho, who self immolated on March 16th 2014.

Kunchok Palden, a monk from Kirti Monastery, Ngaba, Amdo, set himself ablaze on the main road in a town of Ngaba where more than a dozen Tibetans have self immolated.

March 16th is a day of a heavy and
tragic memory for Ngaba. In 2008, many people were shot to death by the Chinese police force when they were carrying out a peaceful protest. Since then till this day, Ngaba continues to suffer. 36 lives have been lost by self immolation protests since 2009.

Information on the other unidentified monk from Malho has not arrived at this point.

March has become a sad month, the most memorable month for Tibetans and for us who care for peace and freedom in the world.