LIGHT FOR FREEDOM
Sonam Chokey | National Director, Students For A Free Tibet Canada
Since the 1950's, Tibet has been occupied by the Chinese Communist Government. As a result, and right up to the present day, Tibetans have been suffering a cultural genocide. Over 150 Tibetans have set themselves on fire as a final act of resistance, most calling for freedom in Tibet and for the return of His Holiness The Dalai Lama.
Light For Freedom is a guided journey through live performance, music and painting, towards an understanding of the recent and recurring Tibetan self-immolations. Prominent Tibetan artists, activists and allies from the global diaspora are brought together in Toronto, Canada, to create an immersive theatrical experience that acknowledges these acts of resistance.
Light For Freedom was a live event which was also filmed and released as a short film.
Tashi Norbu Live Painting | photo: Younten Phuntsok
In 2016, BPL, Tashi Nangsetsang, and JC, co-produced an art exhibition of Netherlands-based Tibetan multi-media artist Tashi Norbu. In the planning stages of the exhibition Norbu expressed the desire to perform a live-painting of a monk in flames to invite dialogue about the recent and recurring Tibetan self-immolations. The producers were inspired to develop an immersive theatrical event that would provide Tashi the platform he desired, give context to this complex issue, and raise awareness of the phenomenon that continues to be largely ignored by mainstream media.
photo: Younten Phuntsok
"#LightForFreedom" was performed in Toronto, as an off-site element of the art exhibition Time Travellers | The Art of Tashi Norbu. The "Time Travellers" exhibition co-producers teamed up with Students For A Free Tibet Canada and developed an event that would weave together story-telling, theatrical performance, live-painting, and improvised musical performance. We determined the name "#LightForFreedom " and collectively agreed there would be no graphic images used to convey the issue as our goal was to engage, not repel. Tibetan artists in exile based in Toronto, New York and the Netherlands gathered with local artists, allies and friends in Toronto to contribute to the final work.
Phenpo Tendhar Performer
Filmmakers Guillermo de la Rosa and Alec Bell were brought on board originally to document the multi-dimensional live performance. However, Guillermo's personal empathy with Tibetans experience of statelessness inspired a vision of a stand alone film work that could condense the 2 hour duration of the live work, (performed in 2 parts with 1 intermission), convey the emotional arc of the whole piece, and extend the collective voice of the work, long after the single performance was completed.
Towards An Understanding Of The Tibetan Self-Immolations
An Immersive Storytelling Event
with Live Painting and Live Improvised Music
Filmed in front of a live audience
July 28, 2016
At the Centre For Social Innovation
192 Spadina Ave, Toronto, CAN
Geshe Palden (Voice)
Geshe Choedon (Voice)
Phenpo Tendhar (Voice)
Cassandra Norton (Violin)
Geoff Doner (Piano)
CASTING & CHOREOGRAPHY
(National Director, Students For A Free Tibet Canada)
Youdon Tenzin Tsamotshang
(Students For A Free Tibet Canada)
ACTORS AND EVENT SUPPORT
Members of Students For A Free Tibet (SFT) Canada and
Tibetan Youth Alliance Committee (T-YAC )
Tenzin P. Palden
Tenzin Tsering Chözang
THANK YOU TO EVERYONE THAT HELPED SUPPORT THIS EVENT!
WE COULD NOT HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT YOU!
Students For A Free Tibet Canada volunteers
Tibetan Youth Alliance Committee volunteers
Brian G. Smith
Steph Schem Rogerson
Phurbu Tsering la