Parsons School of Design

BFA Communication Design

Thesis 2013

Dawa Dolma
A Fight for Freedom
Dawa Dolma
A Fight for Freedom

Tibet is an innate part of me that has been endowed upon me by birth. Despite growing up in the culture, there are certain practices, customs, objects that are very alien to me. All of these have immense symbolism and complexity. My aim is to study and capture the Tibetan life- style and culture in order to shed light to the politi- cal issues and difficulties faced by the Tibetans in Tibet under the Chinese regime. The unique lifestyle, culture, and religion are a unifying force for all Tibetans, and it is for the preservation of this culture and its values that so many Tibetans are not even hesitating to self-immolate themselves to continue the fifty years of struggle and solidarity in the fight for freedom. The Tibetans sacrificing themselves are crying out for help and recognition from the international community and it is theircries that I would like to bring forward to the people around me. Tibetan Altars is a video that captures my father performing the unique Tibetan ritual and practice of offering water bowls every morning in the altar. It is an amalgamation of my personal narrative, Tibetan culture and lifestyle, and the mundane activities with a revelation about the political conditions and issues faced by Tibetans in Tibet. The altar is a very sacred part of the home where religious prayers are performed and Tibetans have a genuine feeling of reverence towards it since it serves as a door towards attaining Buddha hood and connecting with the divine power. On the other hand, I have also used political issues faced by Tibetans in Tibet with the help of typography in the video. The way in which I addressed these political issues are by juxtaposing them with the practices of the mundane Tibetan life and cultural activities since it is this culture that is at the risk of being lost. A Fight for Freedom takes factual informa- tion about the Tibetan people’s fight for freedom and portrays it in the form of bold typographic visual language that is bold and confrontational along with some images. I used the colors of the Tibetan prayer flags — blue, red, green, and yellow — to distinguish each topic with a specific color and kept the design monotone by inverting the colors occasionally. Since the layperson is only aware of the ‘Free Tibet’ slogan, and not the actual mean- ing and issues about cultural genocide and human rights faced by the Tibetans for decades; my concept was to educate them about the issues in a holistic way.


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