Celi Birke Creative
Graphic designer working and playing in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Tibet in Exile

Tibet in Exile was my Honors Thesis project, which I presented at the University of Arkansas in Spring 2013.

In 2011, I spent three weeks in India with the TEXT Program, or “Tibetans in Exile Today.” TEXT is an oral-history project designed to record the stories of exiled Tibetans living in refugee settlements across India. The program focuses on interviewing Tibetans who fled the country in (and after) 1959, many of whom have vivid memories of a Tibet that no longer exists. To learn more, visit textprogram.uark.edu.

In those weeks, I witnessed not only the faces of exiled Tibet, but how they have reconciled their ancient culture to an environment that couldn’t be more different from their home; where Tibet is spacious, clean and cold, India is crowded, dirty and hot.

Through this project, I was able to capture the refugees' unique ability to preserve and adapt Tibetan culture in the wake of great personal and cultural tragedy.