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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. tomoyoihaya@hotmail.com

16 December 2014

For Sangye Khar

For Sangye Khar who self immolated in Amchok town, Sangchu County, Kanlho, Tibet on December 16, 2014.

Sangye set himself on fire right in front of the local police station around 9 am.  His charred body was taken to Sangchu County by the Chinese police who refused to hand over the body to his family despite protests from the local Tibetans.

Prayers to him who decided to have taken the extreme form of a protest. Also to Ngawang Monlam, a village leader who was killed by authority in Driru and Karmey, 22 years old who was beaten to death by the police.  In all cases, they committed no crime and they did not harm their brutal enemy. All they did were to do good deeds for fellow Tibetans and to stand up for justice and freedom.


10 December 2014

International Human Rights Day

On December 10th, International Human Rights Day( 24/7/365 actually)
butter lamps are added on the drawing in progress and one offered in front of it.

A modest gesture in solidarity for those who passed away in protest for human dignity and rights and who suffer in prisons now because they had stood up for  freedom and human rights with compassion and courage.

Peace!

25 November 2014

for Dolma Tso; detail of drawing in progress



Thinking of Dolma Tso who was arrested and given a sentence of three years in prison on false murder charge.  All she did was to have helped lifting up Kunchok Tseten's body after he had self immolated.

4 October 2014

For Kunchok

For Kunchok, 42 yrs old, who self immolated on September 16th in Gade County, Golog, Amdo, Tibet.

He set himself on fire besides the local police station
in protest against Chinese policy in Tibet.
The flame was doused by local people and he was carried into the local hospital. The news says he is in great pain. It is not certain if he will survive or not.

Family fear
if he survives, the authorities will take him away and
if he does not survive, the authorities will not return his body to his family either.

This is a reality of life in the Land of Snows.
Mountains are dug
Rivers are contaminated
Animals are dying
People live in the cage, where they can not fly freely
Note. The news did not come out to the exile side till October 4th due to the communication clampdown by
Chinese authorities.

17 September 2014

For Lhamo Tashi

For Lhamo Tashi, 22 year old student who set fire to himself outside a security office in Tsoe city, Amdo at midnight on September 17.

By the time his family who live in Drukdo village reached the police in Tsoe, his body had been cremated and only ashes was returned to his family.

This drawing does not capture your pure heartedness  and honesty that I can feel from the photo of you, but I offer this to you as my prayers.

8 May 2014

For Phakpa Gyalsten

For Phakpa Gyalsten who died in protest against Chinese mining activities in Tongbar town of Zogang County in Chamdo, Tibet on May 8.

He climbed onto a high building at the town center, and called out for Tibetan freedom. When attempts were made to stop him, he stabbed himself twice and jumped off the building.

he had told local people that he would do something to express the Tibetans’ collective opposition to the mining activities in the area,

Survived by his pregnant wife and 3 children