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.

22 February 2015

We never give up

Around Tibetan new year (Losar) in this February,  a video clip of a Losar celebration from Ngaba, Tibet, came out to the exile side.  They put up the portrait of Kundun( H.H. Dalai Lama) adorned with Kathaks( white scarves for blessing and gratitudes) and offerings, people are wearing Tibetan dresses( Chuba), chantings and fire crackers echoing in the blue sky. The most beautiful was a scene of thousands of white Lungta, small pieces of white paper with auspicious images and prayers, flying in the sky. On special occasions, people throw these in the sky for good luck.

In this area of Tibet, there have been lots of resistances and self immolations that are results of one of the most brutal history of destruction and killing by the communist army since 1951.  This area is known to have one of the tightest security, unfair arrests, and violences to the local Tibetans.

Yet, when I saw these beautiful pieces of paper floating in the blue sky and heard people screaming to the sky,  I felt their unspoken messages. 'We never give up.  We keep our dignity".  Bodgyalo.