Paintings by Falun Gong Practitioners: "Memorial"

PureInsight | January 17, 2005

Oil on Canvas: "Memorial" by Yao Zhongqi (110in X 42in), 2004

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[] This painting is to memorialize some of the hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners who are known to have died under the violent repression. There are many more people who practice Falun Gong who are missing and unaccounted for after they were taken away by the Chinese authorities.

I was very shocked by the stories of Falun Gong practitioners that were wrongfully killed in China, so I decided to create something to remember them by. My background is computer science. Prior to creating this painting, I collected the digital photographs of the murdered Falun Gong practitioners, cropped the photographs and arranged them together as one digital image.

Because I practice Falun Gong so I know Falun Gong requires its cultivators to become better people. I watched these photographs and noticed some of the victims were very young when they were killed. Meng Hao (the baby in yellow cap in the front row), for example, was but eight months of age when he was tortured to death. Elderly folks were also among the many victims of Jiang Zemin's genocide. All these people were trying to become better people, and they were subjected to Jiang Zemin's terror and torture! I know people who have practiced Falun Gong for some time are very healthy and full of energy. After they restored or improved their health by practicing Falun Gong, Jiang Zemin badly wounded their bodies and took their precious lives! I feel terribly sad each time I think of these Falun Gong practitioners. Then I decided to collect the photographs of the Falun Gong practitioners that have been verified as having been tortured to death in China since July 20, 1999. Of course, the actual number of Falun Gong practitioners who died after being arrested is many times more than the number of deaths verified in this way. The preparatory work on the computer was easier. All I needed to do was to crop the head of each photograph and put all the heads together in one image. These photographs were taken while they were alive and well. You can tell by their photographs that they were very kind people. But this is how Jiang Zemin treats the kind citizens of China! I decided that I must create a painting containing the kind and happy faces of murdered Falun Gong practitioners and I will have everyone who sees this painting understand the people in the painting are kind and innocent victims of Jiang Zemin's terror. I also hope that they will relay the truth they see in this painting to other people, and help end the persecution together.

I could find only 280 photographs of these victims. Nevertheless, I included every single photograph I found in this painting. Some of the photographs are very tiny. Some are fingernail sized. Some are small and blurry. Despite these technical difficulties, I tried my best portraying each deceased Falun Gong practitioner based on his photograph. I also tried to put as many details as possible in each portrait. When Jiang Zemin slaughtered these people, he also subjected their families to sorrow and terror. Each of these murdered Falun Gong practitioners had a family. Some of them had children and some had parents who relied on their love and care. I hope these deceased Falun Gong practitioners will continue to live through my painting. But I have no way to include some of the victims because they were killed before they were born to the world. Jiang Zemin had his henchmen kill pregnant Falun Gong practitioners and carry out forced abortions. Those unborn babies were also lives! But I was unable to paint these unborn lives!

According to incomplete statistics, since July 20, 1999, more than 1,260 practitioners have been verified as being tortured to death in China as of January 9, 2005. When I first came up with the idea of this painting, the number was less than 300. That was just the number of murdered Falun Gong practitioners whose names can be verified. The actual number of death is far larger than that! I wanted to present the happy faces of these people in a painting so that the audience can see how happy and kind they were when they were practicing Falun Gong. They were known as very kind employees and colleagues at work. I could not help crying as I thought more about what they were like when they were alive. Look at this painting. Some of them are still teenagers when they were killed. There is a touching story behind each face in this painting.

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