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.

29 November 2017

For Kusho Tengha November 26 2017

For Venerable Tengha, 63 yrs old monk, who self immolated on November 26 2017 in Karze, Kham, Tibet. 

According to a witness, he called for freedom for Tibet and return of Gyalwa Rinpoche while being engulfed in flame.  He died on site and the security force took his body right away.

He became a monk at very young age at Karze Monastery when his parents both passed away.
He was in charge of organising prayer sessions and rites in nearby villages and was a well respected figure by local people.