France: The Art of Zhen-Shan-Ren, An Impressive Exhibition of Exemplary Art, Awakens Visitors in Colmar

The Art of Zhen-Shan-Ren (Truthfulness–Compassion–Forbearance) International Exhibition, which has already shown in more than 50 countries around the world, has recently toured a number of French cities. After Caen and Périgueux, the exhibition took place at the Cercle Saint Martin in Colmar, on July 11-15, 2013.

The building of Cercle Saint Martin in Colmar, where The Art of Zhen Shan Ren was presented. (Wangxici/NTD)

Articulated around the project of painter and sculptor Zhang Kunlun in 2004, and born of the crucible of his own painful experience as a prisoner of conscience in China for practising Falun Gong, The Art of Zhen-Shan-Ren is a collection of works created by a group of mostly Chinese artists who express their feelings in their quest for divine art. It traces the history of the Falun Gong spiritual discipline, reflects the beauty of this ancient practice, and its repression by the Chinese government since 1999. Part of the exhibition evokes the terrifying hardships that Falun Gong practitioners in China–including the artists themselves–have experienced and endured.

Nicole Schnell, deputy mayor of Colmar, was particularly touched by the painting "Illumination." (Wangxici/NTD)

Nicole Schnell, deputy mayor of Colmar, attended the private opening of the exhibition on July 11. She was particularly affected by the painting, “Illumination.” "This one draws the picture of serenity, and I found it wonderful," she said. "The contrast with works depicting scenes of the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China, has made me feel all the power. There's this part of the exhibition that is dramatic, which is absolutely violent and that is very hard. We see that the painters have certainly experienced it in their flesh and in their hearts, and there is at the same time all this serenity, that is very beautiful."

Thierry Ritzenthaler, president of the Cercle Saint Martin in Colmar, said, "I am pleased to welcome and host this exhibition in our gallery." (Wangxici/NTD)

Thierry Ritzenthaler, president of the Cercle of Saint Martin in Colmar, was also present at the private opening. He shared his satisfaction with hosting the exhibition, "I am particularly pleased to host this exhibition in our gallery. I hope there will be many visitors so that everything I saw today will be seen and heard."

Learning about the Chinese regime's organ harvesting from imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners was a shock to Mr. Ritzenthaler, “What is challenging and monstrous is all the traffic of organs that is being organized. It is unthinkable today that we can remain blind and deaf to such monstrosities. It is high time that the world mobilizes to make these things disappear. What would be great is that internationally we finally manage to make laws that make it totally forbidden and call for severe punishment.”

Anne Schmitt, painter, "It's so meticulous that it seems that the character will come out of the paint. A lot of power comes through the techniques and colours." (Wangxici/NTD)

Anne Schmitt, painter, thoroughly appreciated the technical skills of the artists. "Their technique is fantastic, very realistic, very accurate, rich in colour, and this colour just gives us hope, brings a touch of peace and joy in the atrocities. It is so detailed that it seems that the character comes out of the paint." Through the paintings, Anne Schmitt learned the facts about Falun Gong and was shocked by the persecution. "China is a very closed country. We do not really know what is going on. Through this exhibition we find many atrocities, horrible things that we had no idea could exist in the world. This is an exhibition that opens our eyes, and it is terribly moving and saddening."

Anne Schmitt also expressed her gratitude, "A big thank you to have made this exhibition... A big thank you for having opened my eyes, and congratulations to all the artists who were able to convey this information through their technique. I am amazed, admiring."

Jean Winterstein, "I will always have a great memory of this exhibition." (Wangxici/NTD)

For John Winterstein the exhibition was very moving, "This presentation of Falun Gong gave me great pleasure. The beauty of the paintings greatly moved me. I will always have a great memory of this exhibition." With a lot of emotion in his voice he shared his thoughts on the painting "Tears of Pain and Joy," where the painter depicts his vision of the Last Judgement, "That struck me and reminds me a lot of my beliefs about good and evil, up and down as they say."

He expressed his conviction that the sufferings inflicted on the population are terrible, while kindness and goodness are expressed. He wished great success for the exhibition.

Yvette Meyer, "I am very moved, I can hardly talk because it offends me to see what is being done to Falun Dafa practitioners" (Wangxici/NTD)

Yvette Meyer was among those emotionally shaken by the exhibition, "I am extremely touched. This is terrible. I have a lot of emotion and it is very difficult to hold back my tears to see what people have to endure in the name of their practice based on Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. It's terrifying to see how the Chinese government treats the Falun Gong. I am very moved, I can hardly talk because it offends me. This is an extremely inhuman thing," she said.

Chantal Asenbeler, "Despite the very difficult paintings on the torture and oppression I feel a lot of love." (Wangxici/NTD)

The Art of Zhen Shan Ren inspired Chantal Asenbeler, who felt calm and peaceful looking at the paintings. "Since I'm here I feel, despite the very difficult paintings on the torture and oppression, much love, much energy. I did not want to leave, as it's good!"

She described her visit as a time of instant happiness. "I am very happy to be here despite the oppression, despite the difficulty. I think a lot about these people who do not have the right to express themselves, their difficulty of existence on this earth, but I am very happy to know that there is something wonderful that we of course hold in ourselves and can gain from it. This is essential."

About the organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners, Chantal Asenbeler said, "This is greed... Ethics have quickly disappeared. Many people now are in the medical community not by vocation but because of greed, money, and then we are quickly in this disorder, in this horror. It is essential to put laws in place to prevent atrocities as great as removing organs for money. It is abominable!"

She expressed her feeling of powerlessness in the world, where good and evil is imbalanced, but at the same time retaining the message of hope. "For me, spiritually, the only way that I have is to pray, to think about those people who lose their lives because they do not have the right to express themselves."

"I hope with all my heart that people who paint these paintings have a peaceful life and they can express themselves. This is essential," concluded Mrs. Asenbeler.

Jean-Luc Dollé, a banker, said that the exhibition was very beautiful. "A lot of peace comes from the quietest of paintings found in this exhibition. That is to say that we feel that these artists really are filled with an energy, an unusual connection, and not an ordinary one," he commented. “There is suffering in the paintings that depict suffering, which is normal, and in those representing peace, we feel peace. Even non-sensitive people who are not directly open to these kinds of emotions are going to feel this while viewing the paintings," added Mr. Dollé.

Connelle Chevigny, "It shocks me that even in today's world there is persecution of people for their beliefs." (Wangxici/NTD)

The persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China is one of the themes depicted by the artists, and it is this part of the exhibition that Connelle Chevigny felt concerned and even rebellious about. "It shocks me that even in today's world there is persecution of people for their beliefs, and that a government is simply afraid of, and goes and gets people in their homes, and persecutes, tortures, and kills them. The governments of other countries should come together to try to put pressure on the Chinese regime."

She was very touched by what she learned. "There are children who are orphaned because their parents were killed, people are evicted from their homes, are tortured to death, and released so they die at home with their families. This is not acceptable!" she exclaimed.

"They practice something that is the foundation of peace, for the well being of body and mind. But the fact that there are many in this situation that gather around this belief, that scares the government. But they are not against anyone," she said with conviction.

Marie-France Martin, "Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. This is important." (Wangxici/NTD)

For Marie-France Martin, the exhibition was powerful in terms of feeling, "What is remarkable is the serenity that emanates from these people; they have an aura. Somehow it reminds me of the persecution of Christianity. Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. This is important, she confirmed. I think I'll read the book Falun Gong . I think I'll read it, because it seems to me important to look at it deeply," she concluded.

A group of visitors discovers the exhibition (Wangxici/NTD)

The exhibition's beauty captivated the inhabitants of Colmar and nurtured strong emotion from visitors. "I knew there was persecution, but it seems very real through the paintings. I'm really touched, I'm moved, I cannot talk," exclaimed a visitor. Another visitor left this message in the guestbook: "Awesome exhibition from its ability to depict a tragedy involving Falun Gong, which artists have had the courage to highlight with their exemplary art."

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