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. firstname.lastname@example.org
15 April 2014
For Thinley Namgyal
One night, a few days after your passing on April 15, I looked at your picture again.
A painful picture of you in flame on the slope of dry soil.
I realized you wore your Chuba, the traditional dress of your culture
to show that you are Tibetan at your last moment of this life.
To show that your heart and dignity are not to be conquered by anybody.