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.

11 January 2015

Portrait of Tsering Kyi

I was going through drawings of portraits who self immolated in Tibet.  The portrait of Tsering Kyi came across.  She gazed at me and I did the same.  She carried out her protest at a vegetable market in town away from her nomad home and died on site on March 3rd 2012 in Machu, Amdo, Tibet.

  My friend interviewed a couple who knew her very well and now live in Dhasamsala.  I have recently read it through; the details about her upbringing, her earthy and honest nature, passion for education and how she spent the last few days before she decided to let her life go in flame.   She grew a strong sense of responsibility to preserve Tibetan language and culture and became concerned about the suppressive situation. 

In the morning when she was leaving her home to go back to the town, with a strong determination in her mind already,  she told her mother ' I may not see you again.  Can I marry somebody?  Good bye'.