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 July 2015

For Tenzin Delek Rinpoche - thousands eyes are shedding tears

Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a highly respected Tibetan religious leader, was held in prison for over 13 years, serving a life sentence for a crime that he did not commit.  In another word, he was innocent.

On July 13th, he passed away in the prison, in believed-to-be poor health condition.

Further more, the local authority ignored family and local people's wish to have his body returned so as they can have proper prayer ceremonies.  Instead his body was cremated in the remote detention center, as if they wanted to erase all the evidences of their ill treatments to his body over years.   Only ashes were returned to his sister and family.

He was somebody whom many thousands of people kept in their hearts and who dedicated his life to
keep his culture alive, to promote education, and to help people.   He was a hope and a lamp to shine the darkness in suppressed lives of people.

Loss. Injustice. Sadness.