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.

13 May 2015

Remember Tsewang Norbu - August 15 2011

For Tsewang Norbu, 29 yrs old monk from Nyitso Monastery, who self immolated on August 15 2015 in Tawu County, Kardze, Kham, Tibet.  He is the 3rd person who self immolated in Tibet since 2009.

He drank petrol before setting himself on fire and died on site while calling for freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet.

The Chinese state media confirmed the death of a Buddhist monk shortly afterwards, with Xinhua stating: "It was unclear why he had burnt himself".

For Tibetans, it was clear why he had burnt himself.