Albania: Report on a Successful Art Exhibition in the Capital City of Tirana
I arrived in Tirana, the capital of Albania, on the 21st of September to help hold an exhibition of Australian practitioner Zhang Cuiying's Chinese paintings, which would start on the 22nd and last for 5 days.
Before the exhibition opened, we met Mrs. Vera Isaku, the Director of the International Centre of Culture. Mrs. Isaku warmly welcomed us and gave us a brief introduction to the Centre where the exhibition was to be held. She also told us that she had seen Zhang Cuiying's painting catalogue, liked her paintings and expected to view the real works. Mrs. Isaku is sympathetic to Zhang Cuiying, who was persecuted in a Chinese labor camp because she practices Falun Dafa and wants to follow the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance. She said, "I know what persecution means to an artist", because she herself has suffered from persecution. She was isolated for 13 years and lost her job when Albania was under communist rule and during the period when the country was transformed into a democratic system. After the meeting with Mrs. Isaku, we came to the exhibition hall. Mrs. Isaku arranged a helpful man to give us a hand hanging up over 40 paintings.
The Exhibition was formally opened. Guests who attended the opening ceremony were artists, officials from embassies to Albania, university professors, representatives from human rights organizations, government officials, etc. Reporters were sent to the ceremony from the main media outlets. Guests felt very sorry that Zhang Cuiying could not attend the Exhibition but showed their understanding after we told them how she was persecuted and is now part of a lawsuit against Jiang Zemin, the instigator of the persecution of Falun Gong, meaning she cannot leave Australia.
After the opening ceremony, guests were invited to view Zhang Cuiying's paintings. Some of them have been to China and knew some things about Chinese Culture. A few of them could even speak some simple Chinese phrases. When they saw that I was Chinese, they said "hello" in Mandarin. A lady from the German Embassy talked to me in Chinese for about 20 minutes. She said, "All of the paintings are beautiful. I like them." Some guests asked us to explain the paintings and their meanings. We were all very happy to do so.
On the following day, there was a TV crew and a few newspaper reporters covering the exhibition. The reporters continued to attend over the next few days. There is a big electronic screen outside the International Centre of Culture. Every evening there were some films and other programs shown in order to attract more people to the centre. After a local Dafa practitioner contacted the person in charge of screening the programs, they agreed to show a video of Zhang Cuiying's story and an advertisement for the exhibition. In addition, we also gave out invitation letters on the nearby streets and at other locations. This let many more people know about the exhibition and there a lot more visitors. Some people brought their relatives and friends when they visited the exhibition for a second or third time. One day, we came across a few art students. The next day, their teacher took them and other students along to the exhibition, totaling nearly 20 people. All the students studied the paintings carefully.
We all know that the real purpose of this exhibition is to let people know the beauty of Dafa and the truth about the evil persecution. Therefore we gave every visitor some truth-clarification materials. As long as we had enough people around, at least one of us demonstrated the Falun Gong exercises in the hall for the visitors to see. Some people who watched us doing the exercises came over to ask some questions and find out more. There were even a few people who started learning the exercises. The gentleman who helped us to hang up the paintings took his wife to the exhibition and learnt the exercises every morning.
A local radio station arranged an interview with us after they heard about the exhibition. As well as questions about the paintings and the artist, the reporter asked a few questions about Falun Dafa, such as the situation in Mainland China before the persecution began in July 1999, Dafa's current situation outside of China, and the benefits received by individuals and societies if people cultivate Dafa. By answering these questions, messages such as "we hope all people with kindness support Dafa practitioners' appeal to stop the persecution", and information on the lawsuits filed against chief persecutor Jiang Zemin all over the world were broadcast to the people of Albania. A few members of staff at the radio station showed an interest in Dafa. The day after the Exhibition closed, they attended the free exercise class.
We did not forget to clarify the truth to the Chinese people during this exhibition, as they are the ones who have been most terribly poisoned by Chinese dictator Jiang's lies. There are not many Chinese people in Tirana, but most of those who do live there run shops on the same street. One day, four of us went to the street and visited all the Chinese-run shops. We gave them information about Falun Dafa and the persecution, and most of them were happy to take it. A local practitioner told us that these Chinese people have definitely changed. She had come to clarify the truth to them on her own before; some of them not only had refused to accept our materials but also said some bad words against Dafa.
The week passed quickly. I was about to leave Tirana and I felt that the exhibition and other activities we held were like a tie that connected me with the Albanian people. Now I realize that I have a predestined relationship with the people here. However, the most important thing is that the Albanian people have a predestined relationship with Dafa. From the bottom of my heart, I wish the Albanian people a beautiful future.