United Kingdom: Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance International Fine Art Exhibition Held in Plymouth

From October 8th-14th, 20 prints of oil paintings, drawings and Chinese silk paintings from the Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance International Fine Art Exhibition were displayed at the Desmond Tutu Centre, University College of St Mark and St John, Plymouth.


Newspaper article
A practitioner talks with a Malaysian student about Falun Gong and the exhibition

Visitors' book and decorated table
A visitor reads a leaflet

Students and staff at the university were invited to view the paintings and the local newspaper, The Herald, included photographs of the paintings in its ‘What’s On’ guide to the city, which attracted several members of the public to visit the exhibition. Invitations were also sent out to churches, community groups, councillors and MPs, and posters were put up around the city and university campus.

The traditional Western and Chinese style art works shown were created by a diverse group of artists, all of whom are practitioners of the Falun Gong meditation and exercise practice which has been brutally persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party for the past eight years.

The exhibition was divided into four parts. After being greeted by an image of a sculpture of a compassionate smiling Buddha, the first three paintings showed the beauty of cultivating Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance, the three guiding principles of Falun Gong. One visitor said of the painting In Harmony “there is absolutely nothing bad in this painting” and that she could sense a very tranquil energy. She was also impressed with the talent of the artist in painting such a beautiful and lifelike face.

The next seven paintings showed the evilness of the CCP’s persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, with some painting showing images of torture methods used on practitioners or telling true stories of some practitioners who have been tortured to death. Many visitors asked “is this still happening today?” and were shocked to find out that is was.

The third section of six paintings depicted the peaceful reaction of practitioners around the world to the persecution, such as holding candle light vigils, making banners and clarifying the truth to the world’s people to counteract the CCP’s propaganda. The traditional Chinese brush paintings Righteous Actions and A Spring Morning in a Town were particular favourites of many of the visitors.

The final three paintings explored the principle of justice and retribution. As these paintings were near the entrance, many people stopped to ponder the images shown in Positioning. A basket of paper lotus flowers for people to take was placed by the door – these were particularly popular with the students and staff of the university. The beauty of the flowers opened their hearts and they happily accepted more information about the exhibition and Falun Gong, or stayed to look at the paintings.

Many people who visited the exhibition remarked on the sense of peace and tranquillity in the room and the beauty of the paintings, especially those that worked in the building. On taking a closer look, all were moved by the story of the persecution and the courage of the artists. The director of the centre remarked that he would be sorry to see us leave at the end of the week. Many visitors encouraged us to show the paintings again at another venue.

The Saturday coincided with the universities open day. The organisers thought the exhibition was so wonderful that they wanted to have it as a backdrop to the open day. Several hundred people visited the university on that day and all had the opportunity to view the paintings. Several visitors over the course of the week expressed an interest in learning the exercises and local practitioners hope to set up a class in Plymouth soon.

Here are some comments from the visitors’ book:
“A truly beautiful exhibition”
“Extremely moving. Thank you”
“Very emotive exhibition. It puts one’s life into perspective”
“Very thought provoking. Thank you”
“Informative – inspiring to think that people still have the courage to stand against persecution”
“Shocking that this still goes on in 2007!”

As well as signing the visitors’ book, many people also signed a petition to stop the harvesting of organs from Falun Gong practitioners in prisons and labour camps in China.

On 12th October the film Sandstorm was screened in the evening and visitors to the exhibition and family members were invited to attend. Three students from the university who came to watch the film were deeply moved. Afterwards they took a bundle of leaflets about the persecution of Falun Gong with them to give out to their friends and family and promised to “spread the word”.

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