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.

1 March 2016

For Dorge Tsering and Kusho Kalsang Wangdu - February 29 2016

For Dorge Tsering, a 16 years old Tibetan student in Manali, India, and Kalsang Wangdu, a 18 yrs old monk of Retsokha Aryaling Monstery in Ganze, Kham, Tibet, who both self immolated on February 29th 2016.

Dorje Tsering, 16, set himself ablaze near a housing complex for elderly Tibetans in Dehradun at about 8:30 am.  His body is 95 % burnt and he is struggling.  He said on his bed 'I have the will to do somehting for the Tibetan cause and thought that I would sacrifice this body for the Tibetan cause'.

Kusho Kalsang Wangdu self-immolated around 4 pm near his monastery in Kardze.
It is said while engulfed in flame, he called out for Tibet's complete independence.  The security force seemed to have taken his body away, however, he passed away on the way before reaching a hospital in Chengdu.

Tibetan in exile and Tibetans inside.   One incident in a 'free democratic country in exile' and another in a 'suppressed father land'.  Both are teenagers.

I pray sincerely that the day will come when these young spirits do not have to give up their lives this way.  I wish someday soon they and all other suppressed could live where they belong to freely with their values and beliefs.  May open heart and compassion permeate as far and deep as possible.

Prayers and wishes for Dorge Tsering's recorvery and thoughts are with him and his parents.
His mother rescued him to the tap water and burnt herself as well.

Note: Dorje Tsering la passed way on March 3rd 2016 and funeral and cremation took place in Dharamsala on March 6th.  Hundreds people attended.