Closing Shadow Circus

March 10 marks the 60th anniversary of the national Tibetan Uprising of 1959. On this day thousands of Tibetans demonstrated against the presence of the People’s Republic of China in Tibet. The rebellion was met with a violent crackdown by the Chinese forces, while the Dalai Lama had to secretly flee the country. 80.000 Tibetans followed him into exile. They haven't returned since.

The exhibition by filmmakers Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam SHADOW CIRCUS revisits an early chapter of Tibetan resistance against Chinese occupation – the armed struggle for freedom entangled in global geopolitics through the involvement of the CIA. On the final day of the exhibition in collaboration with Tibet Initiative Deutschland e.V. we address the ongoing significance of commemorating these historical events, current forms of resistance, and the future prospects of Tibetan self-governance and an independent Tibet.

As hopeless as these actions seem, these brave people are making the statement that they will continue to resist but by taking full responsibility over their actions so that no one but themselves will have to face the consequences. In this way, Tibetans will continue to find new ways of fighting back, of continually reinventing their struggle, because the alternative––the disappearance of an entire people and a culture––is all too real.

Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam, "I Will Burn Myself Again and Again," in Hearings – The Online Journal of Contour Biennale 8, 2017