Paintings on the Theme of Torture by Falun Gong Practitioners: "Tortures"

Xiao Ping

PureInsight | December 13, 2004

Oil on Canvas: "Tortures" by Xiao Ping (22in X 30in), 2004

Clickto view the portrait in high resolution

[] The painting "Tortures" portrays a torture chamber where two Chinese police force a Falun Gong practitioner's head into a bucket full of feces and urine while a female pregnant practitioner is handcuffed to the wall in the background. This is a portrait based on facts of the persecution against Falun Gong practitioners in China, except that I tell two real stories of the persecution in one portrait. Hanging a female Falun Gong practitioner in the air by her wrists for long periods of time causes her excruciating pain and can create permanent damages to her arms, but this type of torture is not nearly as cruel and shameful as the sexual molestation and assaults. It is emotionally impossible for me to portray those assaults on female Falun Gong practitioners, so I decided that I should at least portray the torture of hanging a young female pregnant practitioner on the wall.

I believe that those who have the opportunity to see this portrait will learn the existence of the persecution against Falun Gong practitioners. They will be shocked by the facts of the persecution and are likely to spread the news to more people. It is my intention to have people learn the cruelty of the persecution against Falun Gong practitioners.

I had a difficult time designing the composition of the portrait. It is divided into three major parts. On the top there is a pregnant female Falun Gong practitioner being hung in the air in the background. The Chinese police performing the torture are in the center of the portrait. A male Falun Gong practitioner being subjected to humiliating torture is in the bottom and the foreground of the portrait. It is a difficult composition. It could easily become three fragmented parts that have no relation with each other. In the end I decided to subdue the police by leaving them in a shadow and bring out the two practitioners by painting them in brighter and lighter shades. I want to pull the audience's attention to the two Falun Gong practitioners because they represent hope and light.

My background is traditional Chinese watercolor painting. It has very beautiful techniques to express lines and an elevated atmosphere. It is a completely different school from the western oil painting. Traditional Chinese watercolor paintings of landscapes express artists' subjective view of the natural landscapes, or the relationship between the artists and the landscape. A good Chinese landscape painting will make the audience feel that they are standing right in front of the actual landscape and feel very relaxed and peaceful. It will make the audience forget about their troubles and worries. A good watercolor painting is a feast to the eye.

On the other hand, the oil painting is an excellent medium to express things in three dimensions and in realistic detail. It is more true to life. In contrast, traditional Chinese paintings are idealistic and spiritual. Buddhism and Taoism have been an integral part of Chinese history and culture. The majority of the Chinese people grew up under the influence of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. They are, therefore, naturally receptive to traditional Chinese paintings that are more idealized and spiritual. Western oil paintings are realistic and look three-dimensional. They are in two completely different directions of style. I need to further study and develop my skills in oil painting to make my oil paintings look more realistic.

Translated from:

Add new comment