Greetings Revered Master and fellow practitioners!
On behalf of European practitioners participating in The Art of Zhen Shan Ren (ZSR) International Exhibition project, we would like to share our cultivation experiences. Since 2005, there have been about 400 exhibitions in 30 European countries in the last nine years. ZSR art exhibitions have been an effective means to clarify the truth and save sentient beings. How well the exhibition does in truth clarification has a direct correlation to the practitioners’ cultivation states and overall coordination.
(1) Organising a ZSR exhibition is a process of cultivating xinxing and improving our coordination
The Art of ZSR Exhibition is unique. It is a project requiring lots of coordination among practitioners. A single practitioner would have difficulty assuming all the responsibilities such as locating a venue, designing promotion materials, promoting the exhibition, inviting VIPs, coordinating guided tours, contacting media, etc. All these tasks require strong collaboration among practitioners. It is inevitable there will be conflicts and different opinions. Through open-hearted discussion and sharing, practitioners are improving their xinxing. Those conflicts become wonderful opportunities for practitioners to improve as a group.
An exhibition coordinator with seven to eight years of experience once said, cultivating one’s compassionate heart is essential. When there is a conflict, she encourages practitioners to share their understandings from the Fa perspective. Practitioners in the art exhibition project are having weekly online meetings to study the Fa and share experiences. From her experience, before the opening of the exhibition, sending righteous thoughts to eliminate blockages and gaps created by the old forces is essential. During the exhibition, sending righteous thoughts will help practitioners to improve coordination.
Another coordinator wrote the following experience sharing. They once contacted a private gallery; the gallery owner was very supportive of our cause and offered us the venue free of charge for one month. The art exhibition team had three months to prepare the exhibition. One of the key tasks during an exhibition is to offer a guided tour. However, no one signed up for this task. Practitioners looked outward rather than inward. They counted on someone else to take the responsibility. As such they were unable to finalise the first week’s work schedule. A practitioner from another city decided to take some time off from work to fill the void. She worked non-stop in the gallery for the first week. Visitors flocked to gallery on Saturday. She was so busy providing the guided tour that she didn’t have a bite to eat the whole day. Local practitioners felt ashamed and started to look inward. They uncovered their attachments such as selfishness, jealousy, no sense of responsibility, and so on. After that, local practitioners took on the full responsibilities of the exhibition. All the tasks were covered. Practitioners worked together and distributed over 10,000 leaflets during the weekends. The promotion attracted more and more visitors.
The exhibition project requires coordination among practitioners involved in different Dafa projects. For example, in one country, NTDTV practitioners will do the filming while Epoch Times practitioners will write reports and design advertisements. They provide timely reporting on the exhibition in various media formats. Through continuous collaboration among practitioners in different Dafa projects, the quality of exhibition reporting has improved significantly. It has captured visitors’ feedback such as their admiration of Dafa, their condemnation of the unjust persecution, or their praise of traditional arts. Visitors are deeply touched after seeing the exhibition.
With the rapid advancement in Fa rectification, the overall improvement in coordination is not limited to an individual country but to the whole of Europe, including the Dafa Association.
For example, the Danish capital Copenhagen has the largest Nordic Art Fair every year. The art fair is a significant event in Europe. Artists and curators from Germany, Austria and many other countries participate. Tens of thousands attended last year. The Swedish ZSR Art Exhibition team decided to join the upcoming Art Fair in May 2014. The organiser of the Art Fair reviewed the art works from over 180 exhibitors. He was profoundly touched by our magnificent paintings to the point that instead of getting the single booth practitioners applied for with the regular set of paintings, he offered to give us 10 booths and make us the special guest of the art fair allowing us to bring the special set of paintings. Perhaps this art fair will open more opportunities for the ZSR paintings to be displayed in top venues all around Europe.
From January 2014, practitioners from different European countries formed a team to coordinate the exhibition in this Art Fair. Although the workload was heavier than usual, a local practitioner who was the main contact with the organiser of the Art Fair worked hard. However, whenever there was interference the practitioner communicated this and practitioners sent righteous thoughts. This practitioner admitted that there was so much to do that her diligence in doing the Falun Gong exercises and studying the Fa waned, though she felt Master was with her at every step. This gap allowed interference by the old forces during the exhibition but practitioners there worked to eliminate this. At the set up when help was needed, practitioners from different countries contributed their skill sets and time promptly.
Thorough truth clarification to the organiser of the Art Fair and their public relations firm was essential. A local practitioner scheduled regular meetings with the organiser to clarify the truth and discuss the best way of promoting the ZSR exhibition. The organiser got a chance to see Shen Yun as well. Due to truth clarification, the organiser realised the importance of the ZSR exhibition and supported us wholeheartedly. The advertisement of our exhibition was published in different local newspapers. A national television station conducted an interview with one of our artists and a practitioner who had suffered persecution in China; this was broadcast the day before the exhibition.
Danish practitioners sent out invitation letters to 179 members of parliament. The day after, the Foreign Ministry requested 30–40 exhibition tickets. During the same week of the Art Fair an Organ Transplant Congress was held in Copenhagen. The organiser of the Organ Transplant Congress requested 50 tickets because they heard that our exhibition included a painting depicting forced organ harvesting in China. The European Dafa Association has been very supportive of the exhibition. The chairman of the European Dafa Association attended the press meeting of the Art Fair, adding some supportive words. Forty practitioners from various countries signed up to support the exhibition in Copenhagen. This is truly becoming One Body.
(2) Truth clarification via the ZSR Art Exhibition project
One of biggest challenges in the exhibition project is to locate a high-quality venue. This is directly related to a practitioner’s xinxing – whether we have a sense of urgency to save sentient being and whether we are doing it with a pure heart, etc. How do we make the best use of opportunities to host the exhibition?
Here is an example. Three French practitioners visited Beaune. Beaune is a popular tourist site. Practitioners distributed truth clarification flyers in the city and they realised there was an exhibition inside the famous “Chapelle Saint Etienne”. Practitioners believed it would be great to have our ZSR exhibition at this venue. Practitioners clarified the truth in City Hall and received the support of the Mayor. Because visitors flocked to the exhibition, practitioners had to extend the exhibition opening hours to midnight. During the six days of the exhibition, over 5,000 visitors came.
Here is another example. A Russian practitioner rented a downtown gallery for a year. Several local practitioners are taking turns to distribute exhibition promotion flyers and provide a guided tour. With consistent effort, they now have a steady stream of visitors.
One more example. Practitioners in Greece hosted an exhibition last year in Thessaloniki, the second largest city. About 3,000 visitors attended. The Minister of Northern Greece, members of parliament, as well as members of the European Parliament and other dignitaries visited the exhibition. They listened attentively to practitioner’s explanations of paintings. They were shocked to learn about forced organ harvesting happening today in China.
To plan an exhibition in the third largest city of Latvia, practitioners clarified the truth to the Mayor. The Mayor gladly assigned one of his staff to accompany practitioners to contact the museum director. This museum is the second largest one in Latvia. A month later, practitioners and the museum director met. In addition to truth clarification, practitioners sent strong righteous thoughts. The museum director finally said, “This exhibition is exactly what we need in this city.” The city and museum provided financial support to the exhibition. They offered the venue free of charge and paid for advertisement expenses. The city council also solicited sponsorship to pay for the transportation cost of the special set of paintings from the UK to Latvia.
A UK practitioner with a pure heart to save sentient being managed to locate numerous venues for the ZSR exhibitions. When she saw a scenic place, she immediately had a righteous thought that a suitable venue will be available for the ZSR exhibition. Her experience sharing is about having a pure heart, righteous thoughts and believing in Master. Through truth clarification, an exhibition was hosted in a historical building – Pollok House – in Glasgow, Scotland. Pollok House has over 250 years of history. Because of this prestigious location, the Traditional Culture and Art Centre in New York sent a special set of paintings for this exhibition. In total, there were 35 paintings with the largest one close to 3.5 metres in height. It also includes a Buddha sculpture. This special set of paintings will be on tour in high-quality galleries or museums in Europe and has already travelled to Latvia in December 2013, Copenhagen in May and London in August this year.
The exhibition at Il Bottaccio in Belgravia in London, opposite Buckingham Palace, came through a compassionate wish to save sentient beings, to take the special set to a top venue in London and righteous thoughts. The UK co-ordinator of the venue said, "Il Bottaccio tested my humiliation and compassion. It was a great gift from Master with many tests from practitioners to help raise my xinxing and keep focused. It is a privilege and I cherish the art and the time. Thank you Master."
UK practitioners have accumulated more experience coordinating the exhibitions. In 2011, the UK had six exhibitions reaching around 11,900 visitors. In 2013, they hosted 11 exhibitions reaching around 23,500 visitors.
Practitioners from different countries are using the art exhibition project as a means to clarify the truth to senior government officials. Italian practitioners clarified the truth to Pietro Fontanini, provincial governor of Udine in northeastern Italy. He was very supportive of the exhibition. He was shocked by the unjust persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China. He thanked practitioners for informing him of the truth. Last March, the art exhibition took place in a provincial building due to his support. His opening remark was, “The exhibition will offer an opportunity to promote the practice of Falun Gong.”
Since the ZSR Art Exhibition is effective in saving sentient beings, the old forces from other dimensions are watching attentively and causing interference. We see the interference in this dimension, such as the frustration in finding high-quality venues. In some countries in Eastern Europe, venues were harassed and pressured by the CCP. Some exhibitions were cancelled due to the threats they received from the CCP.
For example, an exhibition was scheduled in Warsaw, Poland in February, 2012. After the paintings had been hung, the curator received a phone call from the Chinese Embassy. Because of the pressure from the CCP, the exhibition was cancelled. The Polish Falun Dafa Association released a special news bulletin to expose the CCP’s interference. After the incident was exposed in the media, several private galleries contacted the Dafa Association afterwards and invited us to host exhibitions in their galleries. With the invitation from the Free Speech Association, the Dafa Association hosted the exhibition successfully. The exhibition was further extended due to the overwhelming number of visitors. Visitors ranged from ordinary citizens to art critics. Their feedback was very positive. The CCP interference turned into a good advertisement for the ZSR Art Exhibition.
(3) Awakening sentient beings and helping mankind return to true art
The ZSR Art Exhibition is awakening sentient beings and helping mankind return to true art. In Europe, no matter of what social strata, people are interested in the arts. They are fascinated by the paintings in the ZSR Art Exhibition. The truth clarification effect is extraordinary.
The Russian exhibition coordinator said, “People may not pay attention to us when clarifying the truth on the street because some have doubts about the persecution. Nevertheless, Russians love art in general. From my observation, over 90% of visitors change their perception of Dafa after visiting the exhibition. Their expression looks numb when entering the exhibition hall. However, they look refreshed and show gratitude after seeing the exhibition. There is no shortage of people having their third eye open and seeing divine beings in the paintings.”
In fact, the ZSR art exhibition is saving sentient beings from different countries and ethnic groups. One Ukrainian opera singer sang after seeing the exhibition. Her lyrics were: “The world we are living is full of contradiction and cruelty and it is on the verge of collapse. Yet someone just comes in front of us and tells us ‘truth, compassion and tolerance’.”
A senior councillor in the city of Cardiff, the capital of Wales in the UK, was invited to the ZSR Art Exhibition opening ceremony. Once she learnt about the persecution, she gladly accepted to be interviewed live by a well-known television host. She also quoted what the Mayor said in the opening ceremony that “everyone will be deeply touched by this exhibition as long he/she is a human being”.
The ZSR Art Exhibition can also be an effective means to save Chinese people. Of those Chinese visiting Zurich, many walked into the exhibition hall. Either they were asking to quit the CCP or they wanted to learn about the truth and then quit the CCP. Practitioners recognised that Master is bringing those Chinese with predestined relationships to visit the art exhibition. This exhibition lasted five months and it became a Quit the CCP Center.
There is a profound meaning in having the ZSR Art Exhibition in Europe. The pinnacle of mankind’s fine art originated in Europe. The great masters’ artwork created in the Renaissance period was in Europe. On the contrary, the contemporary art destroying traditional culture also originated in Europe. Our ZSR exhibition will open a path for mankind to return to the traditional art form.
A French sculptor said, “The ZSR art exhibition opens an endless path. I believe this is exactly what artists have sought after. This exhibition brings tremendous wealth to artists. The impact is eternal.”
Another French painter exclaimed, “The technique displayed in the exhibition is remarkable. It is realistic, precise and colourful. The painting is like a photograph. It is so vivid it’s as if the subject in the painting will come out from the painting. I am pleasantly surprised and greatly appreciative. What is depicted in the painting is timeless and full of educational values.”
Finally, let us revisit a paragraph from “Fa Teaching at the 2007 New York Fa Conference”:
“Dafa disciples know that human culture was divinely bestowed to man and that not believing in gods is the fundamental reason for human morality's downward slide. Dafa disciples thus cannot view things with the sunken moral standard of human beings. What Dafa disciples create must be things that harken back to what gods bestowed to man. In that case, what you are doing in and of itself stops and smothers corrupt elements, and plays the leading role in restoring things to their original state. That is for sure, so the art exhibit itself exposes the persecution while at the same time bringing people back [to the right state] by way of the methods used to create the works; it enables them to return to the way of human beings, and helps people to turn around and go back.”
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