Stunning Buddha Sculptures and Interview with the Sculptor

The head of one of the Buddha sculptures, with added lotus petal effect A front view of one of the Buddha sculptures

Some of the statues on display at a sculpture exhibition entitled "Moments of insight" which opened at the Art museum in Karlstad, Sweden(Värmlands Museum)

Reporter: Could you briefly describe your past experience/background in the art’s and how you become involved in sculpting?

I have been working professionally as a sculptor since 1989, when I finished my studies at the Art Academy of Stockholm, Sweden. I am specialised in stone sculpture, but sometimes I also work in bronze and wood. In 1993 I made a study trip to China to study Chinese art and the famous beautiful gardens of Suzhou. After that travel there has always been a strong influence of Chinese art and culture in my sculptures and in my life.

Reporter: When did you start to practise Falun Dafa and how did you come across Falun Dafa?
I have been practising Falun Gong since 1997 after I was introduced to the practise by one of my friends who is a dancer. Since that point we have been practising Falun Gong and working together in different art events.

Reporter: How did Falun Dafa affect your views towards art, specifically sculpting?
As a Falun Gong practitioner I always try to express Truth, Compassion and Tolerance, the principles taught in Falun Gong, via my sculptures. The founder of Falun Gong, Master Li Hongzhi, gave a unique lecture in 2003 regarding Fine Arts, which is guiding me in my work. The works of the Falun Dafa Artists Group, lead by sculpture professor Zhang Kunlun, have also deeply influenced and inspired my work.

Reporter: When were the sculptures created?
These Buddha sculptures are made 2004-2005.

Reporter: You have chosen to use marble for the sculpture. Is there a reason behind choosing this particular material?
Marble is a classic sculpture material which is very much used in classic Greek and renaissance sculpture. It is also used in classic Chinese sculpture because of its excellent qualities. I also wanted a material of light colour, which can be left outside all year round.

Reporter: You have chosen to use bronze for the meditating Buddha rather than marble as with the other two. Is there a reason behind choosing this particular material?
When I made the "Meditating Buddha" I was invited to an international sculpture-symposium where we were offered to work in bronze and in stone. There was no real choice behind my choosing bronze.

Reporter: Have you based your sculptures on any particular style or technique?
I have studied classic European sculpture from the renaissance, and Greek style and classic Chinese sculpture from the Song-dynasty.

Reporter: Was there a particular moment of inspiration for creating these sculptures?
Usually its takes quite long time to plan the work of a sculpture. First I will draw my designs on paper. Then I make 3-dimensional sketches in clay before I start the sculpture in the final material as bronze or marble.

Reporter: What are the postures of the statues based on? Does this position contain any particular meanings for you?
The seating position is called Double Lotus, which is also the last position (Jing Gong Xiulian) of the last and fifth Falun Gong exercise (Shentong Jiachi Fa).

Reporter: Did you run into any difficulties whilst creating these sculptures?
As most artists in western Europe I was educated to transform realism into abstraction. So until Master Li gave the lecture about Fine Arts in 2003, I have been working with abstract art, and I made symbols of the cultivating process and the Fa-rectification. After Master Li's lectures, where he advices us to reflect the classic aesthetics and higher moral values in art, I have tried to reflect the classic realism in sculpture, which of course took a lot of time and training.

Reporter: Where have you had the chance to exhibit your sculptures?
The Buddha, made of marble, was showed in an sculpture exhibition called "Moments of insight" at the Art museum of Karlstad, Sweden, from Feb-March 2006 .
The Meditating Buddha, made of bronze, was showed in a sculpture exhibition called "Messenger of compassion" in an art gallery in La Laguna, Spain Feb. 2006.
The road to Buddha, made of marble, was showed in an international art exhibition with the same name "The road to Buddha" arranged by Friends of Falun gong at Röhsska Museum in Gothenburg, Sweden, Dec. 2004 .

Reporter: How do people react to the statues?
Many people say that watching the Buddha sculptures make them feel inner peace. Others have told me that they really appreciate the sculptures and that their heart is deeply touched by the Buddha sculptures.
The sculptures attracts people and they often want to take photos of them. People often ask : Why are you making a Buddha sculpture? This then gives me a chance to talk to them about my background as a Falun Gong practitioner.

My fellow sculptor's who work with abstract art also appreciate the beauty of the Buddha sculptures. It seems to me that people are longing for realistic classic art which have a spiritual, upright meaning.

I am member of a stone culture workshop for professional stone-sculptors in the north of Europe. This group consists of about 70 members from different countries, but I am the only Falun Gong practitioner. These fellow sculptors have witnessed my changes and development as a sculptor. I get questions about my change from abstract to classic realistic art. I explain to those who ask that I want to return to the classic realism in sculpture and to classic aesthetics, so as to reflect the higher moral values in art.

Another example took place in Nov. 2005 when I participated in an international art symposium in Spain, with 8 participants. The theme was "Messenger of compassion". I was the only Falun Gong practitioner taking part. We were talking about the problem of competing between artists, and we decided " To complete each other, rather than to compete". But when the actual work started half of the group forgot all the beautiful words and became selfish and competitive. When the symposium ended the result was exposed in two different galleries. You could clearly notice that the artworks of the artists who had really expressed the theme "Messenger of compassion" from their hearts, in a sincere way, were mostly appreciated by the audience and by the media. The exhibition "Messenger of compassion" was reported in 5 newspapers. 3 of 5 newspapers chose to publish the picture of the bronze-Buddha among 30 other sculptures. Personally this shows that art work should reflect righteous principles and those that achieve this most affectively will attain the best results.

Reporter: What do these statues mean to you. What did you wish to show via the statues?
I wish to express the beauty of cultivating in Falun Dafa and of the universal principles Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance.Art produced by Falun Dafa practitioners are setting the standards for the art of the future. The art created from a practitioner is a process of cultivation and a reflection of their mind. I have been fortunate to be able to study the teachings in Falun Gong, especially the Lecture on Creating Fine Art, whilst also sharing with fellow practitioners so my results reflect this.

Reporter: Why do people make statues of Buddha’s? Is there a specific role to a Buddha statue?
For me personally a Buddha sculpture is a symbol of the beauty of cultivating in Falun Dafa and of the universal principles of Truth, Compassion and Tolerance.

Reporter: Do you plan to make more sculptures in the future?
Yes, I am working now with sketches for a new sculpture, and I will hopefully continue to make sculptures the rest of my life.

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