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 December 2014

For Sangye Khar

For Sangye Khar who self immolated in Amchok town, Sangchu County, Kanlho, Tibet on December 16, 2014.

Sangye set himself on fire right in front of the local police station around 9 am.  His charred body was taken to Sangchu County by the Chinese police who refused to hand over the body to his family despite protests from the local Tibetans.

Prayers to him who decided to have taken the extreme form of a protest. Also to Ngawang Monlam, a village leader who was killed by authority in Driru and Karmey, 22 years old who was beaten to death by the police.  In all cases, they committed no crime and they did not harm their brutal enemy. All they did were to do good deeds for fellow Tibetans and to stand up for justice and freedom.