Moonlight Monks

  Moonlight Monks, 2003, Xiahe County, Gansu  - 40 x 40cm, Platinum Lustre Rag, Edition of 5. No. 1 available

Moonlight Monks, 2003, Xiahe County, Gansu - 40 x 40cm, Platinum Lustre Rag, Edition of 5. No. 1 available

I was living in Chongqing. For a period of time it became very convenient to start coughing in an overcrowded lift: people would become suspicious and move away from you, so you’d finally have room to breathe while everyone else was holding their breath. Then a panic began spreading: rumor had it that a case of SARS had been found in the University and that officials were planning to close the gates and force all students into quarantine. Some foreign students quickly left. I took a train to Gansu Province, and later reached Tibet. Western China was deserted. Silent. The only travelers I came across during those months were monks and pilgrims. They had better road maps than I did, so I started following them. I was sharing my aspirin tablets against altitude headache, they would return the favour by sharing their wisdom. There’s a saying in Tibet: “Be willing to walk alone, many who started with you won’t finish with you.”