Interviews with Artists Featured in the "Uncompromising Courage" Exhibit: Oil Painting - "Force Feeding"

PureInsight | August 16, 2004

Oil Painting "Force Feeding" by Wang Weixing, 2004

[Editor's Note: On July 15-16, a painting exhibition entitled "Uncompromising Courage" was held at the exhibition hall of the U.S. House of Representatives' Rayburn House Office Building. The exhibition was sponsored by the Washington, D.C. Falun Dafa Association. The artworks were the creations of Falun Gong practitioners. A few of the artists are still illegally imprisoned in jail. After five years of brutal persecution, these Falun Gong practitioners, as artists, hope to use art to display the joy of reclaiming one's heart after cultivating Falun Gong, their uncompromising courage, their persevering pursuit of the universal principles – "Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance," and their faith that justice will eventually overcome the evil. Each artist has their own specialty. They tried their best to use traditional painting skills to achieve the objectives. One after another, we will introduce each artist's works of art, the conceptions of their works, the stories behind their creations, and the skills that were used in the paintings.]

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

Reporter: The painting "Forced Feeding" is, amongst your paintings, the most direct display of torture. In the middle of the painting is a young woman's face with blood around her mouth. It is what the audience focuses in on. Could you please talk about the story behind the creation of the painting?

Wang: I knew a few people who had been forced-fed before and when I heard about their stories, I wanted to illustrate them. Through illustrations, I hoped to let the audience quickly capture the message I wanted to convey to them. So that's why the brightest area shows the girl's face. She's tightening her eyes shut and tightening her eyebrows together, and blood is flowing from her nose. I depicted the police officers dark, but not unnoticeable, so the light from the girl's face is reflected onto their faces. The reflection of the warm light turns into a cold effect. By using the reflection of the light, they automatically turn into shadows. The policeman at the very back, who is in the dark, his lighted areas are of cold hues and it's his dark areas that are of warm hues. This person was very difficult to paint because he's at a distance and it's dark. Even with a little bit of light, he would become too obvious so I had to constantly conceal him. Balancing between the light and the dark is very important and it has to be done just right.

Detail from "Force Feeding" by Wang Weixing

Reporter: When you painted this picture, did you have models?

Wang: This painting involved showing people's movements so I asked a few people to take pictures for my reference.

Reporter: Could you talk about what you're thinking of painting next?

Wang: I'm thinking of a painting entitled "Plum." I was inspired by a classical Chinese poem that's especially beautiful. When I read the poem, I felt the "Plum in Winter Snow" meant us cultivators. Having suffered from the persecution, we need to strengthen our righteous thoughts because from the ancient times until now, there has only been this one chance. The painting would have a practitioner walking on snow wearing blood-stained clothes. It would also have police officers beating her in a snowstorm. She would be walking uphill, the weather would be cold and she would be wearing a thin layer of clothing while the police officers would be wearing overcoats. The bitter wind would blow rain and snow in their faces and the police officers would turn their heads back while continuing to strike her feet with the stocks of their rifles, and her feet would be in shackles. Gods and Buddhas in heaven would have tears in their eyes. The painting would have many plums blossoming. These are all just thoughts and I've yet to start painting.

Reporter: From your experience, are basic skills important to being a good artist?

Wang: Oh, of course! An artist without basic skills would be equivalent to having no skills at all. When I studied at San Francisco's Art Institute, I had over ten years of experience painting tangible objects. I painted whatever I wanted so I found it easier. However, quite a few students didn't have good basic skills and they would paint pictures that weren't realistic. The principal instructor at that time didn't emphasize the importance of basic skills, so they were very frustrated. They suggested to him that they needed to improve on their basic skills. Later the institute replaced the principal instructor. The new chief instructor could paint very life-like pictures but without much thought put into them, so the students were still not satisfied with him. Even though the previous principal didn't teach basic skills, he allowed students to study ballads to reveal their inner feelings. One needs to have very good basic skills in order to convey what one wants to convey. However, without having one's own thinking, that would not work either. As an artist participating in this art exhibition, with so many people having been persecuted to death, if we artists, remain spectators without saying a word, then in actuality we are not true artists. No matter how good a painting is, the painter would merely be a representational painter because people have souls, consciences, and ethics. Renowned artists have followed their consciences and spoken out during critical times.

Reporter: Are you saying that as an artist, ethics, discipline, and ways of thinking are more important?

Wang: If a person painted great paintings and he/she stood there motionless and unaffected when a person was being beaten before him, even letting the person get beaten, then his/her inner soul would not be beautiful. He/she heartlessly watched the person get beaten and stood there without doing anything. I wouldn't think that he / she would be considered a true artist. From that standpoint, I am willing to participate in art exhibitions such as this "Uncompromising Courage" art exhibition. As an artist, I have to speak out during this time.

Reporter: Every stroke on the painting carries the artist's message and only with inner beauty, can the painting portray true beauty.

Wang: My paintings reflect my inner feelings. If I feel uneasy, my paint strokes will be messy. When I can't calm down, it is impossible for me to paint the fine details. Only with a calm mind can one explore, experience the inner worlds inside oneself and others, and convey what one wants to convey in a serene manner. This is one interesting phenomenon that I've experienced during my course of cultivation. Every artist has his/her own style and habits. I used to throw my things around the house and if you said that that wasn't good, I wouldn't admit it. I felt people were different from each other so I would do whatever I wanted to and wouldn't admit it was a flaw. My lifestyle used to be irregular. I painted when I wanted to and slept when I wanted to. I thought that was what artists should be like and if I did otherwise I wouldn't be an artist. It was only after I started practicing Falun Dafa did I realize that things were totally the opposite. Artists are humans and they all possess many bad things. People then look at these bad things as the characteristics of artists, thinking that artists are supposed to be like that. If people were very quiet and neat, then they would look like artists. That is all a prejudiced notion. In reality, a great artist without a reasonable lifestyle will not paint well. Painting at will is painting with a certain mood and one wouldn't be calm. When artists aren't calm, they are unable to paint fine details. But I didn't know that before and I thought it was okay. Having personally experienced it, I now know that it's impossible. If a person drinks alcohol, his strokes are bound to be yellowish and messy because he would be in a certain mood. Through cultivation practice, I've become very clear-headed and I can distinguish between what's good and what's bad. Art is tested by time, and I will not just follow others because now I know what makes art truly good.

Brief Biography of Artist Ms. Wang Weixing
Wang Weixing is an art professor. She graduated from Shanghai's Jiao Tong University and San Francisco's Art Institute. She has participated in many art exhibitions in China and the United States, including three individual exhibitions. She held an individual exhibition at the Arts and Cultural Center in Cambridge entitled, "Seeking in a Maze." The exhibition showcased the things she pursued in life and in art. She has said that her cultivating in Falun Dafa guided her out of the maze and helped her to return to her original, true self. She hopes to convey her feelings through her art, and she dedicates her artistic creations to those who seek love and peace.

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