Last week I had the opportunity to browse some of the pieces of the Truth-Compassion-Tolerance International Art Exhibit, presented by the Eastern US Buddha Study Falun Dafa Association. Since 2004, the collection has toured over 800 cities in more than 50 countries, including prestigious galleries and universities in Sweden, France, Turkey, Israel, New Zealand, Australia, the U.K. and Canada.
Beautifully realistic oil and Chinese watercolor paintings created by mostly Chinese artists complete this exhibit. Each painting displays a story of how Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong) has strongly and positively influenced their lives, or the horrible ways in which the people who engage in this spiritual practice have been shunned, abused, and lost their lives. One of the women showing the exhibit stated that this traveling display is meant to spread awareness about the thousands of people who have been imprisoned, subject to organ harvesting, and also died as a result of practicing Falun Dafa since it was banned in China in 1999.
I was in awe by each of the pieces. Although I am not personally very familiar with the spiritual discipline of Falun Dafa, or fully knowledgeable of the persecution of the individuals who choose to make it their life’s practice, these paintings left a mark on me. Many paintings were displayed, but below you will see four with their descriptions that caught my eye:
Entering the Divine Realm with Purity by Xioping Chen, Oil on Canvas, 2015
This art work shows the true state of the body of a Falun Gong practitioner in her cultivation, and her experience of utmost purity while in meditation. The young child with a pure heart easily sees the truth in the other dimensions through his celestial eye.
The Call of Innocence by Xioping Chen, Oil on Canvas, 2005
Though dwarfed by Manhattan’s skyline and rain, a young girl shows conviction beyond her years. Her eyes penetrate the gray landscape, giving an almost moral intensity to the plea expressed on her placard. The girl pictured here and many others braved New York City’s elements in a remarkable year-long campaign to raise awareness of the torture and murder of China’s Falun Gong practitioners. Thousands traveled to the city from around the world, often at great personal cost, to support the effort.
A Tragedy in China by Yuan Li, Oil on Canvas, 2004
A wife weeps beside her husband, who has been tortured to death at a brain washing center. He holds in his hand a document that the authorities tried to force him to sign, a pledge that defames Falun Gong. Brainwashing is also a common form of torture used against Falun Gong practitioners. The husband was murdered because he refused to be “transformed”. The artist uses the exquisite technique of contrast to create depth, which makes people feel as if they were present at the scene.
This painting depicts a scene in which a little girl comes home from school only to find her parents gone. The two pieces of white paper on the door are official notices stating that the house has been condemned by the 610 office, a Gestapo-like organization set up specifically to target Falun Gong. The red paper on the door reads “Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance.” The little girl suddenly became homeless.