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.

8 March 2014

For Tashi Paljor

Tashi Paljor, 34, a monk at the Wenpo monastery in Chamdo (in Chinese, Changdu) prefecture in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), was tortured to death on March 1st 2014.

He was seized by police on Friday, February 28th when he arrived at a residence in Wenpo village where authorities had found banned recordings and writings by exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and exile political leader Lobsang Sangay.

When he was returned to his family, he could not talk and while his family rushing him to the hospital, he passed away.

Since 2008, more than 100 Tibetans have been tortured to death.

A heart aches thinking of the pain that they had to go through.
How can the same human beings treat innocent people with enormous pain?
What kind of state of mind is it?