In the last ten years, 163 people have self-immolated in protest of the conditions inside the Tibetan Autonomous Region in China. In an independent report done by Freedom House in 2017, Tibet was second only to Syria in its lack of civil liberties. Authorities inside Tibet write a different history, one of a utopian Shangri-La in the Himalayas.
Working with the archives of Tibetan activists and advocacy groups, Lodoe Laura conducted research into the troubling trending practice of self-immolation in the Tibetan community and collected photographs of the self-immolated. These images, usually recovered by activists as low-resolution cell phone images, function as testimony of an act of resistance, and as a critique of the Chinese government’s account of life inside Tibet. Each portrait was printed by hand using handmade charcoal ink. Laura collected charcoal incense, used in Tibetan Buddhist smoke offering rituals, from the diaspora community following their prayers. The ritual charcoal was ground, sifted, dried, and mixed by hand with traditional ink making mediums, then hand printed onto paper; a labor-intensive process that took several months to complete.
Lodoe Laura is a multidisciplinary artist living and working in Toronto, Canada. Through a research-based practice that includes photography, printmaking, performance, and video, she examines themes of cultural crossover, collective memory, and the intersection of cultural and political practice. Laura was a recipient of a Magnum Photo scholarship in 2015 and holds a BFA in Photography from Ryerson University’s School of Image Arts. She is a recipient of the AIMIA | AGO Scholarship Prize, and most recently was a winner of The Magenta Foundation’s 2016 Flash Forward Award. Laura exhibited work in Gallery 44’s international emerging photo-based artist exhibition, Proof, in June 2017. She has a keen interest in archives as sites of power that can be activated by the artist-researcher and is currently pursuing an MA in Film + Photographic Preservation and Collections Management from Ryerson University, Toronto.
This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.
Exhibition Dates: August 3 – September 15, 2018
Closing Reception: September 7 | 6 pm – 9 pm
Location: Filter Space 1821 W. Hubbard St., Ste. 207
Gallery Hours: Monday – Saturday 11 am – 5 pm