One oil painting which showed a Falun Gong practitioner being tortured in the snow moved some visitors to tears.
November 23, 2014 | By Minghui correspondent Xia Chunqing in Melbourne, Australia
(Minghui.org) An exhibit of artworks by Polish artists opened in October 2014, at a prestigious gallery in Melbourne CBD. The exhibit was presented by the Polish consul general, and attracted a large number of visitors. One oil painting which showed a Falun Gong practitioner being tortured in the snow moved some visitors to tears.
Barbara Shafer, an Austrian Polish artist
Polish born artist Barbara Schafer was inspired to create such a soul touching painting with Chinese suffering as its theme, by a story that goes back eleven years.
Falling Seven Meters to Concrete Floor
Barbara grew up in Poland and studied fine arts there for seven years. She left the communist country 37 years ago and settled with her family in Australia. She worked in the field of conservation and restoration of artwork in historical buildings.
She participates in large and small projects, and her works can be seen in many historical buildings in and around Melbourne, including the ES&A Bank tower built in the 19th century, the Parliament House Library, and the 120 year-old Bendigo Town Hall. Her artistic techniques have helped bring the glory of historical interiors back to life.
Just as old wall paintings are restored by her brushes, Barbara’s life was restored by a “magical book,” which helped her become enlightened to the true meaning of life.
On November 11, 2003, while she was working on a church ceiling, she lost her balance and fell head first, seven meters to the concrete floor below. Barbara said “The last thing I heard was the cracking sound of my skull. Then I lost consciousness.” Waking up a few hours later in a pool of blood, she was still alone. She stumbled to the office and called for an ambulance. Doctors operated all night. After the surgery, her family’s presence and voices helped her to wake up from a coma.
Barbara said that she was glad to be alive, but realized that her situation was very serious and life threatening. Her skull was broken in a few places, and her nose and sinuses had been crushed. Her top jaw was completely broken off and in three pieces, her hands were shattered, and her knee was cracked. Doctors put together the damaged pieces using screws, plates, and other devices. Her head became very noisy, her eyes pointed in different directions, her teeth were loose and had to be secured with wires, and she had over one hundred stitches in her head. Her spinal fluid was also leaking.
The most terrifying thing to her was not the constant pain, but the memory loss, which the doctors said would increase. They did not give her much hope. Her family was shocked, and some friends did not recognize her. Two months later one of them introduced her to Falun Gong. She had previously made excuses, saying that she didn’t have time for it. But now she had all the time in the world, and asked her friend to teach her the practice.
The Last Time I Felt Pain
Barbara said, “With restricted vision, I slowly started to read Zhuan Falun. It explained many things I had experienced, and it answered questions that I had accumulated during my life. I couldn’t put the book down. On the third night I fell asleep after reading until 2:30 a.m. I awoke to the feeling of strong electric shocks running through my hands. It really was a miracle. It was the last time I felt pain.”
“During the exercises, toxins from my injured head ran down my throat. My nerves were zapping and connecting, and I felt warm, healing sensations.”
“Now with a clear and peaceful mind, and a healthy body, I have my life back, and I have not even had one headache in almost eleven years. My previous heart problems and other ailments have also disappeared. To the amazement of my dentist, all my teeth are firmly rooted again.”
Raising Awareness of Persecution
Barbara was involved in restoring Bendigo Town Hall.
The prestigious job of restoring the wall murals and decorations inside Bendigo City Town Hall took two years. It required great physical strength and determination to restore the ceiling area, but Barbara climbed gracefully up and down the high platforms with ease.
Barbara Shafer collects signatures to help stop the persecution of Falun Gong in China.
Bendigo Magazine published a special interview with Barbara three yeas ago, where she shared that all her strength came from Falun Gong.
“If I had not practiced Falun Gong, I wouldn’t have been able to complete this project. I have understood that only by assimilating to the characteristic of the universe, of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance, our lives will be more meaningful, fulfilling and healthy. Pushing aside bad thoughts I take every day as a gift without choosing the easiest path. Doing my exercises every day, I have endless energy. I try to be more compassionate and considerate of others in everything I do.
“Knowing that everyone is suffering, I look to the good sides of people. It is very rewarding. Falun Gong is sacred to me. It is a privilege to be a Dafa disciple. Only through my righteous thoughts and actions can I express my gratitude to Master Li Hongzhi.”
From the Minghui website, Barbara learned a shocking story about Falun Gong practitioner Chen Aizhong and his family. Seven family members had been persecuted, and five of them tortured to death. Their only crime was a strong spiritual belief in truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance.
Beyond Forbearance – The Tortures of Chen Aizhong Falun Gong practitioner, by Barbara Shafer
Moved by their uncompromising faith, Barbara created the oil painting “Beyond Forbearance – The Tortures of Chen Aizhong Falun Gong practitioner.” In the freezing cold of winter, the police had tied naked Chen Aizhong onto a cross, piled snow on him, and tortured him. He was murdered at the age of 33. This inhumane cruelty shocked many viewers.