The Technical Insurance newspaper of Slavyansk city in Ukraine reported on Ms. Zhang Cuiying and her Chinese Painting Exhibition.
According to the news report, classical Chinese painting emphasises the techniques of utilising writing brushes, ink and wash. Today, a group of cultivators of ancient Chinese culture and art came here to hold a classical Chinese art exhibition. These paintings were completed with merely writing brushes and other small brushes. Aren’t they creations of great masters?
Ms. Zhang Cuiying was born in 1962 into a poor family in Shanghai. Nobody would have predicted her becoming a great painter. Later, Ms. Zhang and her works won many awards all around the world. She used to say, “Ever since I was a little child, I have never been interested in anything other than painting. No toys or sweets could touch me. But painting to me was like happiness in heaven. Whenever I painted, I would not think about anything else. Also, I would paint all day and all night, often going without rest for a whole night without feeling tired at all. But at the time there was no drawing paper at home, so I would first soak ordinary paper in water then hang it in the air to dry it. When the paper was half-dry, I would start painting on it. The effects of such a painting would be almost the same as those on drawing paper. After seeing this, my teacher felt very surprised. Later he entered my works into regional competitions and they won awards.”
Ms. Zhang Cuiying’s teacher soon discovered her art talent. This renowned Chinese calligrapher and painter, Teacher Shen, passed on to Ms. Zhang many techniques. She was very diligent and overcame many obstacles. In the end, she gained the reward that she had been working for.
According to Ms. Zhang Cuiying’s own recollection: “When I was studying at the advanced high school, a painting of mine was appraised. At the time my teacher was very angry. He could not believe it was me who painted that painting. He called me into his office and asked me, whether it was painted by me or not. I was very embarrassed then, and cried. The teacher was very emotional as well, as he could not believe that I would paint that well.”
In 1986, in a painting and calligraphy contest held in Shanghai, contestants came from more than thirty cities in China. Ms. Zhang Cuiying submitted a painting entitled “Young Girl in Late Autumn”, which won the second prize to everyone’s surprise. According to a judge at the time, Zhang Cuiying’s painting expressed the grace and beauty of a classical Chinese girl with a reserved disposition. The techniques of the painting were very even and real, as if even ink could shine in a dazzling radiance. Later, many newspapers and magazines in China and all over the world reported on Zhang Cuiying’s natural talent.
In 1985, Zhang Cuiying married Mr. Zhou and moved to Australia. She also gave birth to a daughter named Bella. Just like other immigrants in Australia, Ms. Zhang found a job, packing frozen vegetables. But unfortunately her health deteriorated, and soon her sickness turned into serious rheumatism. After having seen all the doctors for this kind of disease and spending thousands of pounds in medical expenses, she could not be cured. The condition became worse. In the end she could not even raise a tea cup and had to completely give up painting.
In 1992 a qigong practice that cultivates both nature and longevity appeared in China. It cultivates according to the abstruse principles of “Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance.” It brought a new life to Zhang Cuiying who was living in despair, and gave her help in darkness. From cultivation, Ms. Zhang not only gained physical benefits but also found the real goal in her childhood dream, a land of purity.
Zhang Cuiying once said, “After I had listened to the first lecture of Falun Gong, my pain immediately stopped. I thought, why had the pain suddenly disappeared? How could Falun Gong be so miraculous? So I started practising Falun Gong. I had read a lot of books in search of the true meaning of life. After practising Falun Gong, my appearance first changed. I look very young but actually I am more than forty years old. But I feel from that day on I have returned to youth. My body returned to a healthy state. I was also doing extremely well mentally. Finally I was relieved from pain and agony. That was a feeling that I never had before.”
Zhang Cuiying started practising Falun Gong in March 1997. Two years later, China started a brutal persecution against Falun Gong and its practitioners. Ms. Zhang Cuiying firmly believes that this persecution is unfair. In order to tell people “Falun Gong is good”, she went to China but was thrown into jail as a result and suffered inhumane torture and persecution.
In jail this lady continued painting. In the end her husband, Mr. Zhou, asked for help from the Australian Government, the Foreign Ministry and the media. Ms. Zhang Cuiying was released to Australia after suffering for eight months in jail.
Ms. Zhang Cuiying once said, “When I began to practise Falun Gong, it was almost as if it gave me a second life. It enabled me to continue painting. I felt its greatness. I wanted to paint the beautiful world of Falun Gong in order to express my gratitude to the great Master. One day I also painted a self-portrait, and then wrote Falun Gong is good. Practising “Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance” saved me. I will never forget Master’s benevolence.”
Ms. Zhang preserved Chinese classical art and hopes to share her work and her love for China with people all over the world. This March, Chinese art master Ms. Zhang Cuiying’s work has indeed brought people in Slavyansk and its nearby cities great enlightenment.
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