Page 1062 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 24 March 2015

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At his latest exhibition, it was wonderful to see the present artistic development and the maturity of his work and the way that he uses colour. He has taken to using perspex in this case rather than a canvas or glass. On one of the perspex paintings he was describing to me, he said he wanted to get the blackest colour that he could get, the greatest intensity of black. In the end he was using bitumen rather than paint. The way he had done it on the acrylic was most striking. So I would just like to bring Tommy to the attention of members and of the ACT community as one of our up and coming home-grown ACT artists to look out for in the future.

Legislative Assembly—artworks

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (4.27): I rise briefly to make some observations about the impressive collection of artwork “The art of truth, compassion, tolerance” that is currently on display in the ACT Legislative Assembly. This work has been supported by Holly Wei and her colleagues. I thank them for bringing this significant work to the Assembly.

We had a brief opening event last Thursday lunchtime. Mr Coe attended and Mr Hanson also attended. I saw Ms Berry come through at one point as well. What we see with this exhibition is indicative of the passion and dedication of the community of Falun Gong practitioners, not just here in Canberra but around the world, and of course in their home country, China.

The exhibition speaks to their perseverance in continuing to advocate for the universal human values of truth, compassion and tolerance, values that Falun Gong hold dear, as do members of the Greens, who have long spoken with, listened to and supported members of the Falun Gong community.

These values have been greatly tested, with Falun Gong experiencing persecution by the government in China, their home country. The human rights abuses that continue to be perpetrated in the People’s Republic of China are well documented. I will not go into the detail about that now. Instead, I would like to draw attention to the works themselves, as they are strongly evocative of the experience of those who have faced and who continue to face such persecution.

The artworks are a moving response to their struggle. Speaking more broadly, the works raised themes of hope and courage in the face of injustice and persecution, which is of relevance to people all around the world who are persecuted and discriminated against for their religion, ethnicity or beliefs.

At a personal level, I find the exhibition quite affecting. Despite the sadness of some works, there is a great deal of energy and hopefulness, as well as a palpable sense of courage that can be drawn from an understanding of our shared human dignity.

I would like to thank Holly Wei and members of the Falun Gong community for sharing the exhibition with the public through the ACT Assembly. I am pleased to have been able to sponsor the exhibition. I thank other members for coming to the launch the other day. I would encourage those members who have not had a chance to

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