Free Spirit Festival Free Spirit Festival - celebration of Tibetan art and culture, especially reflecting contemporary life.

History 2001 Sonam Zoksang

Sonam Zoksang was born in 1960 in a small village in Tibet called Kyirong.

My parents escaped to India one month after my birth. I grew up in India in refugee schools. In 1985 I moved to the United States and slowly began teaching myself photography. In 1993 I visited my country for the first time since my birth.

There, I was devastated to see the condition of the Tibetan people and the destruction of its natural environment. This first visit compelled me to return each year to document the changes forced inside Tibet. Over the last eight years, I have seen the Tibetan situation getting worse and worse. I feel very strongly that many young Tibetans have no hope, no dreams, and no future to live for. No Tibetans seem to be truly happy with their situation, and moreover, they feel threatened with their very extinction.

My greatest concern is for the future of Tibet, which lies with my young children. Every year hundreds of Tibetan children risk their lives to escape to India, crossing the Himalayas on foot in the frigid winter to taste the air of freedom. In my opinion, it is unthinkable for any moral and contentious people to keep silent about communist China's brutal oppression of the peace-loving people of Tibet.

The Tibetans need your help for their survival. This is my humble attempt to reach you all through these images of Tibet.

Sonam Zoksang is presenting 11 photographs in the Free Spirit Festival.