Sweden has had four exhibitions of The Art of Zhen, Shan, Ren this year, all in southern Sweden. They were held in the city of Bjärred near Lund in April, for two weeks in Båstad in July during the tennis tournament, and for four weeks in Malmö in August-September. A dozen paintings were also shown in October at the art fair in Limhamn near Malmö.
I served as a guide at two of them, in Bjärred and Malmö, Gallery Ocampo. They were totally different places, both in terms of size and population. Bjärred has about 10,000 inhabitants, while Malmö municipality has about 305,000. Malmö is Sweden's third largest city and the county seat of Skåne, the administrative province.
Despite the large difference in the number of residents, there were about the same number of visitors to both exhibitions, about 700 people. The advantage in Bjärred was that the exhibition was in an empty shop and the Art Society could use it for free. It was in the middle of a shopping mall, and when people walked by, they saw the exhibition and popped in to have a look. Many VIP's in the community came to see the beautiful and expressive paintings.
In Malmö however, the exhibition was in a mall that was under repair. There were few shops, and the builders were completing the premises. In addition, the mall was a bit remote. A practitioner in Malmö had seen a sign in the mall that there was an art gallery and got in touch with the owner. The rent was reasonable and we could have the exhibition for almost a month. Together with the Art Society, it was decided that we would hold the art exhibition there, although the art gallery was not centrally situated. We exhibited 42 out of our 68 paintings.
In Skåne there are quite a few practitioners, but most of them are not in the art group. It was exhausting for the practitioners to already have two exhibitions in Skåne. Getting participants to guide visitors at the exhibition in Malmö was difficult when only a few signed up. There were only two guides during one of the weeks, while during the other weeks we could get three or four. Many practitioners worked and were able to attend the exhibition only on Saturdays. Once, there were four of us on a Saturday, and many more people came to see the paintings when one of us stood at the doorway and talked about the exhibition to people passing by.
The other practitioners in Skåne did not have as thorough an understanding of the significance of the exhibition--that the exhibition can save people--even though several practitioners in the art group attended meetings and explained the matter to them. The results, however, were still good, as four or five practitioners brought their students, colleagues, and friends to see the exhibition, which was very much appreciated.
It was important to distribute materials widely, especially here, because the art gallery was not centrally situated. A few practitioners wanted to distribute materials in the suburbs and in the city centre, while a practitioner living in the town went on foot or by bus to different places with materials, as she knew the city. The rest of us from other parts of Sweden hung the paintings and guided the people at the exhibition.
This brought people to look at the paintings, and some of them told me that they came because they had received a flyer. Many passed by the gallery on the way to the store or lunch and had only a little time, but they promised to come back to take a good look at the paintings. Malmö has many artists and they also came to see the paintings.
Since many painters came to see the exhibition, we had to explain repeatedly that the paintings were digital copies on canvas. Many people asked about this. We then discussed whether there should be a text about this in the promotional materials, and the coordinator asked Professor Zhang about it. Professor Zhang did not think it was necessary, but if someone asked about the originals, we could tell them that the paintings were digital canvas copies. We had told people who had asked before that this was a touring exhibition, and the artists wanted many people to see their paintings, which would not be possible if we only had one set of original paintings. Most of the visitors understood this point.
I had not been through the whole process of staging the art exhibition before, that is, hanging the works, guiding during the exhibition, and taking them down. There is a lot of work with the exhibition both before and after. When we have no exhibitions, the paintings are in western Sweden, packed in four or five large wooden boxes and must be retrieved with other materials, such as drills, posters, tools, accessories for the kitchen, etc.
Even when we were planning how the paintings should be hung, there were people wanting to see them. One woman wanted to look at the paintings and I told her a little about them. She said she understood the spiritual messages of the paintings as she herself had been brought back to life from death, and had, among other things, seen heavenly beings resembling the western angels.
I trusted that Master would send to the exhibition people who had predestined relationships with Dafa, which was confirmed on several occasions. An English-speaking woman came in and told me that she usually did not pass by this gallery, but today she did. She was so grateful that she had come and she knew it was not a coincidence that she visited the exhibition, which she also wrote in the guestbook.
I had read in an experience sharing from England that we should have the painting of Buddha facing the doorway as the Buddha making hand signs would be seen when people pass by. I noticed that several people looked at the Buddha image and decided to enter.
There was a group of school students about 16-17 years of age on a visit to Malmö with their teacher. They had stopped to wait for a couple of students, and they were standing near the Buddha painting. We invited them in while they were waiting and it turned out that the teacher was very interested in hearing about the persecution and organ harvesting. The students did not understand the swastika in the Falun, so we asked the teacher to explain it to the students so they could get an accurate picture of it. The teacher said that the school curriculum no longer covers such things. The late students were two boys who were quite different from those who had come in earlier. The boys showed great interest in the stories behind the paintings. So, in a way they had helped the group to come in and see the paintings by being late.
During the exhibit there were several events happening in town. A big festival with many artists from Sweden and abroad attended. The practitioner who distributed materials went one evening to see the festival and met a Finnish Tango King, a singer who sings so well that he was elected as the best singer, a king. She gave him a flyer for the exhibition. The next day he came with his girlfriend. He and his girlfriend had not heard of Falun Gong in Finland, so they got information about where to find a practice site in Helsinki.
Malmö Art Hall (Malmö Konsthall), one of Europe’s largest exhibition halls for contemporary art, was one of the places that we were not able to book our exhibition. One woman who came to see our exhibition wrote in the guestbook, "Thanks for a wonderful guide to the art. I wish with all my heart that you were at the Malmö Art Hall. Everyone should see this and know what is going on. Thank you."
Many people wrote messages in the guestbook. The visitors saw hope and joy despite the severe persecution. They hoped that China would become free, and were amazed by the paintings, "Thank you for explaining what is going on in China and for being open to all of my questions." The people had seen the suffering and the beauty in the paintings and appreciated the message they sought to convey.
I realized that during this exhibition, my cultivation seemed focused on getting rid of the attachment to comfort. I stopped working about six years ago and live comfortably at home, where I can freely plan my work with The Epoch Times and other Dafa activities. During the exhibition it required more discipline to do the exercises, study the Fa, and be at the exhibition from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. I also had to do my work for The Epoch Times after the exhibition closed in the evenings.
On weekends and when the exhibition was not open, we had other promotional activities so we never had time off. When there were not so many people at the exhibition, we made paper lotus flowers that we gave away to visitors. I travelled once back home to my apartment in the middle of Sweden, so I had to keep an eye on the money to make it last.
One practitioner in Malmö could give us lodging. She lived in a small, one-room apartment with a kitchen, close to the town center. The first week I slept on her couch, which was a bit too short and my feet hung over. The second week in Malmö I rented an overnight room and had to drag my heavy luggage for an hour to find it. I was totally exhausted when I got there. After that I got a bus ticket.
The third week, I was back on the practitioner's couch for a few days. The fourth week I was in an overnight room for a couple of nights and then had to travel by train with another practitioner to a nearby city where we changed rooms twice. The last days when we were taking down the paintings, I was back on the couch, with one more practitioner who slept on a mattress on the floor. I realized that I slept too much at home and was too comfortable. Although I didn’t have a decent bed, I slept well because I was too tired to worry about where I was.
There were, of course, xinxing tests, too. I do not have enough Ren (forbearance) for practitioners while I do not find it difficult to be patient with ordinary people. At home, I don’t need to talk so much as I live alone, but now I had to talk all day long, with the visitors and also with different practitioners.
It was actually very exhausting. By studying the Fa every day I managed it without major conflicts.
Thank you, Master. Thank you, fellow practitioners.
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