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.

30 March 2015

For Norchuk 2

Dear Norchuk

You died on March 6 2015
by setting yourself on fire

later the news came
that you left three children behind. Three children.

the reality of life without free air, clear water, and pure soil for generations
where many lost their lives in expressing their dignity and that they never give up

Probably you had lived fully: you offered water every morning, prayed, worked hard and raised children.
Till you decided to give your life away for what you believed in.
I wish I could feel you more.

After days since your passing, I see you standing with your bare feet on soft green grass like a mountain.  So as you can watch your children grow

Peace, peace, peace.  Peace, please come to your land