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.

21 August 2015

Remember Norbu Damdrul, October 15 2011

For Norbu Damdrul, a 19 year old former monk at Kirti monastery, who set fire to himself on October 15th 2011 in Ngaba, Amdo, Tibet.

He walked on the main street in Ngaba county town while raising slogans "We need freedom and independence for Tibet" and calling for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet.

He was still alive when police stationed on the street extinguished the flames and kicked Norbu's body before taking him away.

A large crowd of Tibetans who had gathered at the scene was dispersed at gunpoint by security personnel.

This was a week after Choephel and Kayang, also former monks at Kirti monastery, died in this non violence protest in Ngaba.