Flames of My Homeland: The Cultural Revolution and Modern Tibet—Works by Tsering Dorje, Tsering Woeser, and Ian Boyden

Tuesday, February 23 – Thursday, April 1, 2021

Tuesday through Sunday from Noon to 5pm.
Ezra and Cecile Zikha Gallery, Main Gallery

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery is currently limited to visits by Wesleyan students, faculty, and staff.

Visit here for Flames of My Homeland related events.

Flames of My Homeland: The Cultural Revolution and Modern Tibet


Curated by Ian Boyden ’95, William Frucht, and Associate Professor of Religion and East Asian Studies Andrew Quintman

The works of Tsering Dorje and Tsering Woeser, father and daughter, document the ravages of Tibetan society brought by the Cultural Revolution and their ongoing effects in Lhasa today. Tsering Dorje (c. 1937–1991), a native Tibetan, served as an officer in the People’s Liberation Army. His black and white photographs provide a rare visual record of the violence perpetrated in Tibet during a period of book burnings, political rallies, and public struggle sessions. His daughter, widely known by the single name Woeser, is a poet, essayist, and photographer, and is a leading Tibetan public intellectual in China whose work ranges from political criticism to reflections on Buddhist belief and practice, and the challenges of inhabiting both Chinese and Tibetan cultural worlds. Together, Tsering Dorje and Woeser are among the most important contributors to our understanding of Tibetan religion, history, and culture in the post-Mao era.

The exhibition Flames of my Homeland brings together for the first time the work of this extraordinary father and daughter to highlight their contributions to Tibetan visual and literary culture, reveal new forms of Tibetan self-representation, and explore the complex interplay of artistic, political, and religious expression in contemporary China. The exhibition incorporates photographs by Tsering Dorje and Woeser, and a set of original collaborative works by Woeser and Ian Boyden ’95, featuring multimedia installations including Woeser’s poetry in her own voice, and the video The Birds Might Not Come. Boyden is a visual artist, poet, and translator who is completing an English translation of Woeser’s collected poems.

Photographs by Tsering Dorje. Used by permission of Tsering Woeser.