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.

4 October 2014

For Kunchok

For Kunchok, 42 yrs old, who self immolated on September 16th in Gade County, Golog, Amdo, Tibet.

He set himself on fire besides the local police station
in protest against Chinese policy in Tibet.
The flame was doused by local people and he was carried into the local hospital. The news says he is in great pain. It is not certain if he will survive or not.

Family fear
if he survives, the authorities will take him away and
if he does not survive, the authorities will not return his body to his family either.

This is a reality of life in the Land of Snows.
Mountains are dug
Rivers are contaminated
Animals are dying
People live in the cage, where they can not fly freely
Note. The news did not come out to the exile side till October 4th due to the communication clampdown by
Chinese authorities.