Interviews with Artists Featured in the "Uncompromising Courage" Art Exhibit: Oil Painting - "WHY?"

PureInsight | August 9, 2004

Oil Painting "WHY?" by Weixing Wang (26in x 20in.), 2004

[On July 15-16, 2004, an art exhibition sponsored by the Falun Dafa Association of Washington, D.C. with the theme of "Uncompromising Courage," was held in the exhibition hall of Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C. Falun Gong practitioners created all the art works in the exhibits. Some of the artists are still illegally imprisoned in China. After five years of bloody suppression, these Falun Gong artists hope to express the joy of returning to one's true nature through cultivating Falun Gong, their indestructible righteous beliefs under cruel tortures and suppression, their persistence in pursuing Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, and their faith in "justice will defeat evil eventually." These artists each have their merits. They have tried to use the traditional drawing technique to achieve their goals. We will continue to introduce the works of these artists, the ideas behind their works, their creation processes, and their drawing techniques. ]

Reporter: Zhu, Qingming, reporter for Zhengjian/PureInsight Net
Wang: Ms. Wang, Weixing, artist

Reporter: The "WHY?" painting has attracted a lot of attention. Many people who saw the little boy's eyes and facial expression all said that it was very touching. Could you talk about the story behind the painting?

Wang: I didn't give much thought to the painting. I met a friend of mine one day, who also practices Falun Gong, and she told me her story. She and her son were imprisoned in jail like this. After listening to her story, I started painting without giving it much thought because it was a true story. I was not used to painting children who were dirty, ragged, and beaten, so I was scared to paint something like that. The boy I started out painting was clean and had flawless complexion. I did paint the clothes to look dirty but it still didn't look right because this was in jail and they had beaten him and his mother. I later tried adding some effects to the eye to show ruptured eye vessels because eyes bleed after being beaten. The mother came and told me that I needed to add some tears, not rolling down the face, but have some tears. I didn't have a model so she showed me what she meant. Later when the tear was painted on, I realized that with the eyes so bright, the tear was not obvious. After adding [the effect of the ruptured vessels], the white of the eye became darker and the small amount of tears became clearer. The tear did not roll down the face because boys are not like girls or he could have cried and cried himself dry. His expression is not that simple. He keeps asking, "Why? Why?" He doesn't understand why mother is imprisoned, why mother is beaten, why he is beaten, why they have to be imprisoned and are not allowed to get out. He stands there with his feet over here and his hands over there, looking like he wants to get out but can't.

Detail from Wang Weixing's Oil Painting "WHY?"

Reporter: Exactly. It's apparent that the child is in that state of bafflement and confusion. The depiction is very life-like. You mentioned that you had often painted children who were very clean. Then was it rather difficult to paint a child covered with bruises and blood?
Wang: Yes, it was. I'm used to painting beautiful things. But I know that with a child standing inside a jail cell and a mother having been beaten into that state, his being nice and clean would not be realistic. In addition, the mother specifically told me so when she came to look at the painting. So I gave it a try.

Reporter: You showed only the feet of the mother. What gave you the idea to show such a small part to depict the mother having been beaten and lying on the floor motionless?

Wang: In the past, I often thought of painting pictures in their entirety. When telling a story, it's necessary to paint a complete picture. A while back, I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and saw one of Havarotti's paintings. It was a painting of Christ bearing the cross and the people beside Him were beating Him. I had been thinking about the issue of not painting a big painting, but rather a small painting to allow people to focus on one point. But because most of the paintings I had seen before were all complete paintings, I didn't know if what I did was good or not. It just so happened that at the museum, the painting that attracted me the most was of Christ bearing a cross and with tears rolling down His face. The people beside Him had only their heads shown but with expressions, just like cutting a piece out of a photograph. Later I thought if those people had their bodies painted, then it wouldn't have attracted me that much. Because I directly focused in on Christ's face, the painting was very life-like and the tears were very realistic. It was very touching. It made me realize that what I wanted to do wasn't wrong, and that what I wanted to do would allow the audience to focus in on the child's face. This was also enough to portray the mother having been beaten and couldn't move.

Reporter: This painting of yours specifically focused on certain parts with fine details to express a theme. That is why it has attracted many people.

Wang: I wanted people's eyes to immediately focus in on what I wanted to convey.

Reporter: You've painted the child in very fine detail. With the child's eyes and expression, the painting has very fine details. Is it because of your love for painting children that you understand more of their facial expressions and feelings?

Wang: I do not only paint children. I like to paint humans. I even paint the elderly. Maybe it's because I like to find out about people's inner thoughts. This does not entirely belong to art, but also to literature.

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