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.

27 May 2015

For Sangye Tso

For Sangye Tso, 36 yrs old, who self immolated in Choparashing, Chone County, Amdo, Tibet on May 27 2015.

She, a mother of two, carried out her self-immolation around 4 am in front of a Chinese security  and re-education building located within the compound of Choparshing monastery.

The monastery has been under intense pressure including arrests of monks and applying fines for having peaceful protests.  The large buildings that house security and propaganda workers had been actually built inside the monastery's walled compound to watch activities of monks.

These suppressive actions of the Chinese authorities have deeply hurt and humiliated the local Tibetans who see them as attacks against Tibetan culture and religion, and that the sense of injustice and helplessness felt by many may have been what drove Sangye Tso to carry out her desperate protest.