Interviews with Artists Featured in the "Uncompromising Courage" Art Exhibit: The "Cruel Tortures" Series

PureInsight | August 9, 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: Wang Zhiping, painter

Reporter: I noticed how you drew practitioners' facial expression. Normally, suffering from that kind of cruel torture, people would be extremely miserable. However, these practitioners' faces don't show the unbearable agony. When you drew their facial expressions, what were you thinking?

Wang: A practitioner has obtained the Fa, and he/she practices "Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance," to be a good person. He/she has got the most desired thing a living being can get, and his/her behavior is also based on this rule. I have met and talked with some practitioners who had experienced brutal torture in Mainland China. While talking with them, I deeply realized that they were not afraid of death at all. When I was drawing, I had many different considerations. On one hand, I wanted to make sure their facial expressions appeared real. On the other hand, I wanted to depict practitioners' internal firmness and fearlessness towards death. But at the same time, the evil persecution actually exists. The kind of physical torture has to be depicted as well. Originally I really did not have the heart to depict practitioners being beaten that badly. So I only showed some small wounds on practitioners' bodies. Compared with the real pictures on the websites, my drawings were way too different from reality. Some practitioners were beaten so badly that they were bruised and had open wounds and it was unbearable to look at their photographs. What I did was to gradually add the wounds and bruises to my paintings. Those practitioners who have personally experienced the brutal torture would tell me that my paintings did not fully expose the cruelty they endured, and neither did I do a good enough job exposing the evil. Therefore, after finishing a painting, I would come back to it after a while. I would constantly modify it by adjusting the overall structure or adding more details. That was what I did. These paintings were finished as a result of cultivating myself, sharing with fellow practitioners, and reading articles on Dafa websites. Of course, there are still some parts of the paintings that I am not very well satisfied with because they are still not well depicted. I wanted to expose the evil as soon as possible and therefore I completed these paintings quickly. Despite that, I think I did do my best to depict what I want everyone to see.

Wang Zhiping Oil Painting "Brutal Torture Series" (2003 – 2004)

Reporter: Every painting has an evil policeman with his shirt off. Is that intended to convey some meaning or is that for the structure of the paintings?

Wang: There are many photographs on Dafa websites showing the terrible wounds of practitioners after they were tortured. I didn't know how to depict the evil policemen's brutality. Their persecution against Dafa practitioners is endless. They followed no rules and were very evil, irrational, crazy, and psychologically deviant. Many practitioners described how the evil policemen became exhausted from beating the practitioners and couldn't stop panting. I showed the policemen with their shirts off to let people see that when the police start their evil behavior, they do not stop. After getting tired from beating practitioners, instead of taking a break, the policemen would rather take off their shirts and continue to torture practitioners.

Reporter: I can imagine how difficult it was for you the first time you painted evil policemen. Did you use some human models while drawing the evil policemen?

Wang: I used real people's proportion as references. The orthodox arts emphasize proportion. A human figure must be painted with the correct proportion. The evil policemen in my paintings are painted in dark colors. In contrast, practitioners' skin colors are bright and clear. In both Chinese paintings and classical western style oil paintings, evil characters look fierce. I use gray and darkness to depict evil forces. The evil policemen's skin color might not look different from that of the ordinary people. But their hearts and even the particles in their bodies are black. I wanted to demonstrate their true nature in a strong manner so that kind-hearted people will see their evil nature. All their behavior is evil.

Reporter: The contrast between dark and bright on your paintings is rather intense. All Dafa practitioners are in either light yellow or white clothes and are shown in bright light while those evil police are in gray and black colors and carry an air of gloominess. You also sculpt. Have you thought of using sculptures to depict these scenes?

Wang: I am working on sculptures now.

Reporter: Do you plan to continue with your "Brutal Tortures" series?

Wang: Yes, if I have good ideas, I will.

Reporter: What do you consider to be the most important thing for an artist or a painter to possess?

Wang: First of all, I believe the person must possess solid skills. I am drawn by the usage of color and how the human bodies are depicted in correct proportions in classical artworks. I also care deeply about the moral standard that a painter should follow. I believe that it is most important to be compassionate while painting. A painter should inspire people to be compassionate. People shouldn't think about dark things after viewing a painting. I only realized this after I started to cultivate. Before that, I just followed the art trend of the day, and I even felt it was very interesting. After graduating from art school, for many years I stayed away from art because I felt that it was impossible for me to do classical paintings. That road would be too difficult. Traditional art requires one to devote huge amounts of time and energy. One's brain and mind have to be extremely tranquil and pure. In ancient times, people tried to achieve that state in their daily lives as well as when they worked on things. Take home furniture for example. The Chinese Ming Dynasty's furniture only increases in value with the passage of time and is considered priceless treasure. In ancient times, master artisans were in the state of cultivation while they worked. A master artisan's mind, hard work, and principles that he lived by were all represented in his work. Now I feel endless enjoyment working in the art arena. The sky's the limit. Whenever I have time now, I go to the different museums to view classical artworks. That is the real artistic path that humans should follow.

Reporter: Do the masterpieces by the classical masters still seem too far out of reach for you?

Wang: I no longer feel that way. When I look at those masters' paintings, I can feel how those artists lived as human beings as well as their respect for God. I've actually found my own artistic path, and I know how I should proceed.

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