Ottawa to Host Unique Art Exhibition

Zhen, Shan, Ren works inspire viewers
By Pam McLennan, Epoch Times
April 9, 2014 12:12 pm Last Updated: April 9, 2014 12:12 pm

OTTAWA—The thought-provoking collection of works that comprise the Art of Zhen, Shan, Ren (Truth, Compassion, Tolerance) International Exhibition will be on display at Ottawa City Hall starting April 14. 

This exhibition of artistry and inner enlightenment may surprise with its mix of images, which is different from what one expects to see at a gallery today, yet it has stirred the emotions of viewers around the world since it started touring in 2006.

“What’s different about this show is that it is outside of contemporary values, there are no meaningless images or unrecognizable forms. It shows real people, real events, and tells their stories,” said Ottawa artist Kathy Gillis, organizer of the exhibition. 

These striking images can touch viewers’ heart and provide food for thought. They are contemporary events and people. The subject matter is happening today.

“Expect to see something you won’t see in other exhibitions. These pieces show spiritual intent, clearly tell a story, and portray things as human beings see them,” said Gillis.

Gillis has three paintings in the exhibition, which consists of works from over 12 artists of diverse backgrounds and artistic styles.

The exhibition’s unique compilation of Renaissance realism paintings are grouped into seven themes, reflecting ancient and modern values in China and around the globe. 

Some images show spontaneous kindness and compassion, others deal with visionary themes, and some deal with the torture and harassment of Falun Gong practitioners in China. The depictions of these painful experiences move some viewers to tears. 

However, the character of the people undergoing the ordeals shines through in the works. They follow the tenets of Falun Gong—Truth, Compassion, and Forbearance—which means there are no depictions of vengeance or retaliation.

Falun Gong is a spiritual practice from China that had 100 million adherents before a systematic persecution, involving all levels of government, was launched by the Chinese regime in 1999 and continues today. Tens of thousands of adherents have been jailed and tortured in an effort to make them give up the practice.

Seeing depictions of people following their beliefs and not resorting to violence despite brutal torture can inspire viewers, such as Father Rannenberg, who attended the exhibit in Berlin, Germany.

“These artworks convey one important message: Humans should live with dignity and we should fight for justice in China,” he said, according to the “Art of Zen Shan Ren International Exhibition Collection,” a catalogue of the paintings with a section on people’s reactions to the works when they were exhibited in various countries.

Bryan Chalker, Mayor of Bath, was similarly touched after seeing the exhibit in the U.K.

“What this exhibition moves in me is not just the true feelings in the artworks, but the excellent application of light and colours, so much so that it drives my attention to the raindrop on the little girl’s hair on her forehead. Truly marvellous!” he said.

Visit for more information on the images, artists, and touring schedule.

The exhibit in Jean Pigott Hall at Ottawa City Hall runs from April 14 to 19, Monday to Saturday. Hours are 12 – 9 p.m. on April 14, and 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. from April 15 to 19, with an opening reception on Tuesday, April 15, 12 – 1:30 p.m. Admission is free.