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.

3 December 2015

Remember Palden Choetso - November 3 2011

For Ani Palden Choetso, a nun from Ganden Jangchup Choeling Nunnery, who self immolated on November 3 2011 in Tawu county, Kardze, Kham, Tibet.

It is said that she may have set fire to herself in the same place that monk Tsewang Norbu from Nyitso monastery self immolated on August 15 in the same year.

As her body was burning, Palden Choetso called for the long life of the Dalai Lama, Freedom, and for the Dalai Lama return home.

She passed away soon after her protest.
Afterwards,  a group of nuns lead a protest and thousands of local Tibetans carried out a candle vigil early in the morning of her funeral on November 6th.

The video, which came out from there, shows her standing on the street engulfed in flame.
A woman in chuba ( Tibetan traditional dress) walks up to Palden Choetso's burning body and throws a kathak(Tibetan white scarf for offering and blessing).

On the dark street and against the fierce flame, the white kathak flied in the air like a white pigeon of peace.  May peace come to your land soon, someday, Ani la.