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.

31 July 2017

For Passan Dhondup ( Dhondup Denu) July 29 2017

For Passan Dhondup,  49 yrs old, who self immolated near Lhagyal-Ri ( Lingkor), McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala, India on July 29th 2017.

Passan was from Gyaltse in Shigatse, Tibet.  He arrived in India in 1991 and had lived in Dharamsala.  He was a wood painter at Norbulingka Institute since 2012.

Lingkor is a path that circulates below where the main temple and where H.H. Dalai Lama's resident  are on the tip of McLeod Ganj.   Many Tibetan people go there to do circumambulation in the early morning and evening while reciting prayers.  It is an important ritual to do so and many walk on the path every day to send prayers. The path is adorned with many prayer flags and surrounded with rush green and trees.

One witness heard him raising slogans 'long life to Gyalwa Rinpoche' while in flame. Others noticed him in flame, tried to get help, but it was too late to rescue him.

He came alone all the way from Shigatse, lived alone in the foreign land, and decided to do his lone protest on the path of prayers.

16 July 2017

For Tenzin Choeying - The Great Ocean called Life July 14 2017

For Tenzin Choeying, 19 years old Tibetan student in exile, who set himself ablaze on July 14 in Varanasi, India.  He carried out his protest at around 9 a.m. in the entrance of a residence hall while calling for freedom for his homeland "Victory to Tibet".

Tenzin is from the Kollegal Tibetan Settlement in South India, and is a student at the Central University for Tibetan Studies in Varanasi.

He is in critical condition with burns over 60 percent of his body and is treated in a hospital in Varanasi.

It is painful to feel his, his parents' , and a whole community's pain.  It is truly heartbreaking to witness so many fellow brothers and sisters, including young people like him, choosing to take an extremely painful form of protest like this because of a strong sense of injustice and urge for freedom.
And many of us stand with heavy heart at a loss, even though many of us wish for the better world for them, us, and all.

I want him to live.  It may be a painful path of recovery, but I wish him to keep living fully in the Great Ocean called life.

14 July 2017

Reunion Under the Clear Blue Sky - July 13 2017

 July 13 2017 - After finding out the sad news of Chinese activist and writer Liu Xiaobo's passing, all I could do was to sit still in tears.  In front of my eyes were on the blue drawings that I had been working on that were about something subtle that could not be described in words. They were lit by the morning light.  Out of blue, these figures overlapped with him and his partner, Liu Xia.

 I have always kept him, her and their poems in my heart and wished for his release and reunion with his beloved Liu Xia, who had been under a house arrest while he was in prison. I, like many thousands of others, wanted him to live in the peaceful and free world.  

Liu's passing brought the sad memory of another inspiring human being, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche's passing on July 12 2015.   Like Liu, he was the one who did everything to serve his Tibetan community spiritually, culturally and socially, which led the authority to arrest him out of fear for his popularity and influence to local Tibetans. He committed no crime and passed away in prison.  

May each of us carry on their wills and spirit and never let these kinds of tragedy happen again. I believe that how this world manifests in the future depends on each of us. 
Never forget that there so many other nameless shining stars like them who did not give up expressing for the human rights in exchange of their lives. 

劉晓波と 劉霞に捧げる絵 ー この絵は なにか言葉にあらわせない 生きるという大海の深いところを不器用に模索しながら製作していたものです。今朝 尊敬する、また無事釈放されて パートナーである劉霞と一緒になれる事を祈っていた民主活動家、教師、詩人である劉晓波さんの訃報がはいってきました。涙がとまらずただ座っていた目の前にこの絵があって 彼らの姿が重なりました。へたで無骨な絵ですけれども この絵は彼らが一緒に 平和で自由な青空のもと また無数の同士と一緒に暮らせるときが来るよう祈りを込めて 彼らに捧げます。また一日違いの、7月12日は、同じように不当に投獄され2015に亡くなったテンジン・デレック・リンポチェの命日でもあります。かれは社会奉仕活動、文化的活動をとうして 地元チベット人に圧倒的な支持をうけていたため 権威の目のかたきにされ 犯していない罪で逮捕され 牢獄でその一生をおえました。
Daybreak Liu Xiaobo
Over the tall ashen wall, between
the sound of vegetables being chopped
daybreak is bound and severed
dissipated by a paralysis of spirit
What is the difference
Between the light and the darkenss
that seems to surface through my eyes'
apertures, from my seat of rust
I can't tell if it 's the glint of chains
in the cell, or the god of nature
behind the wall
The day's dissidence
makes the arrogant
sun stunned to no end
Daybreak a vast emptiness
you in a far place
with nights of love stored away
from Five Poems for Liu Xia/June Fourth Elegies