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.

20 May 2015

For Tenzin Gyatso

For Tenzin Gyatso, 35 yrs old, who self immolated on May 20 2015 in the Khangsar twonship of Tawu county, Ganzi Kham.

He carried out his protest around 8 pm near a bridge close to official government buildings in Khangsar.
While he was burning, security personnel stationed in the area rushed to put out the fire and took him away.

He is survived by his wife and four children.

I keep thinking of the bridge near where he set himself on fire.

Broken bridges.  Rebuild them.  Cross again.