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.

19 August 2018

Remember Dorjee March 5 2012

For Dorjee, 18 years old, who self immolated on March 5 2012 in Cha, Ngaba, Amdo, Tibet.

Dorjee set himself on fire around 6:30 pm and walked towards the local government office in Cha township.  He shouted slogans against the Chinese government policy on Tibet.  It is believed that he died at the scene, and that authorities took away his body.

His body was scarcely visible as the flames around him were so fierce.
Many people on the street were reciting mantras and praying to Gyalwa Rinpoche with tears and grief in their eyes ( reported one of the witnesses).

Note: Drawings that are titled 'Remember' are for people who had carried out the protest before I started drawing for each person who self immolated, which was May 2012 ( For Dargye. For Dorje Tseten. For Rikyo and Tamdin Thar ).

For 'Remember' series, I went to back to 2009 and started drawing for Tapey, the Kirti monk, who first self immolated and slowly drawing for each chronologically up to date.