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.

25 December 2017

For Kunbey, December 23 2017

For Kunbey, around 30 years old, who self immolated on December 23 2017 in Ngaba, Amdo, Tibet.

He set himself on fire near Kirti Monastery, which is known for many monks' self immolations in the past.  The video came out to the exile side shows him walking engulfed in the flame along with a recording of a woman's voice reciting a prayer ' May Gyalwa Rinpoche protect and bless him'.

His body was immediately taken by the security force soon after and admitted to the hospital around 10 pm.  He passed way around 5 a.m on the following day.
His body was cremated right away by the police and only a handful of ashes was returned to the family.

His parents, 5 siblings, and a wife whom he married one year ago are left behind.

It is said that his father is under detention by the police, being forced to cover the cost of the medical expenses while Kunbey spent his last some hours at the hospital.

May all the pains and darkness get eliminated from each of us, each community, society, country, and the earth so as nobody has to sacrifice his life like this.