Interviews with the Artists Featured in the Art Exhibit "Uncompromising Courage": Oil Painting - "The Choice"

PureInsight | August 9, 2004

Oil painting "The Choice" by Xiao Ping (40 x 30 in.), 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
Xiao: Ms Xiao, Ping, artist

Reporter: One of your paintings is "The Choice". Could you please talk about the inspiration for this painting?

Xiao: I often read articles from websites, so I understand the realities of the persecution against our Dafa practitioners in China When I read the story about the famous painter Qi Baishi's granddaughter being tortured in a mental hospital, I felt that I should use painting to tell people about the persecution against artists. I therefore chose to depict a scene of torture in a mental hospital. I chose as the main character a young lady whose goodness makes a sharp contrast with the evil. Tortured by the evil policemen, the young lady is still holding "Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance" in her heart. She is in another state of mind. Though her body is being tortured and abused heartlessly, her heart is very noble. I, therefore, depicted her via the technique of segmentation. I separated those two evil policemen from the bright part. The lady's face bathed in pure light in which there are two little infants, one of which is holding up a crown to express their praise for her.

Detail from "The Choice" by Xiao Ping

Reporter: The young lady in the painting has no expression of pain or hatred but rather of peace and mercy.

Xiao: Yes, I painted just a tiny little frown between her eyebrows. She is enduring great pain and torture. I wanted to depict the suffering of the Dafa practitioners in China. Her expression is one of mercy. She is dealing with the evil by feeling great compassion.

Reporter: I believe that you never painted anything like an evil policeman before. Did you find it difficult to paint an evil person?

Xiao: It is very painful. I had to repaint the evil policemen many times before I reached the depth of expression I sought. I originally wanted to give them long fangs like demons. Then I decided to depict their viciousness as human beings. I painted the policemen with darker blue and green tones to make them look vicious. I used to paint pretty things. It is very difficult and painful to paint these vicious people.

Reporter: Did you use a model to paint this work?

Xiao: The policeman in the back is totally my creation. I used a model to get the position correct. But I created his face from my imagination. I painted him to have a flat nose and big eyes. I used to paint a lot of portraits so I can paint a realistic head from my imagination. I got inspiration for the policemen's faces from my memory of the movies and TV programs I had seen. Those evil people usually have fat and twisted faces and are holding cigarettes in their mouths.

Reporter: Watercolor painting is easier for you but this work was rendered in oil paint. Do you think it is easier to express a theme like this in oils?

Xiao: I have painted many watercolor paintings. I am better with watercolors. Through painting these latest paintings, my technique with oils improved a lot. I feel like I can express a theme more deeply and in more detail with oil colors. It was worthwhile for me to delve into the different techniques used in oil painting. Many great masters throughout history left masterpieces painted in oils for us to study and learn from. Oil painting is a better way to express this kind of theme. Watercolors are not powerful enough to depict real things.

Reporter: After studying the various pieces you have displayed in this exhibition, I can see effects of the skills you have developed with watercolors. The colors, the sense of transparency, and the style in your oil paintings are quite different from most of the oil paintings I saw.

Xiao: The feeling of oil painting in my works is still not strong enough and my oil painting is still heavily influenced by my watercolor painting. I need to learn more (laughs.) I feel very exhilarated and free when I paint with watercolors. But it is impossible to paint a large piece with watercolors and it is difficult to find a large enough piece of paper to paint on.

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