In 2014, I spent 15 days collecting photos and sketches of folk art in northwestern China (Gansu, Shanxi, Shaanxi and Hebei province). It is in this part of China that Buddhism was introduced from India and here the most important bodhisattva is Guanyin. I used to think that buddha worship was blind. However, after deep deliberation, I came to understand that Buddhism emphasizes self-cultivation and self-redemption.
When buddhism was introduced into China, Chinese people combined Buddhism with Chinese culture and created a serious of folk legends about Guanyin. My project Thirty-three Guanyin is based on those legends. It shows that Guanyin has 33 embodiments, to help people face 33 difficulties. You can distinguish the embodiments by the different scenes, gestures and musical instruments.I encountered two embodiments that would be represented by the same image, so these two became one. However, the number 33 is meaningful for Buddhism. So I created another embodiment inspired by a sutra I think of often. The sutra says, " 慧眼见众生皆是菩萨". It means that if you are a person with great wisdom and insight you will know that all living creatures are Buddhas. I call this 33rd image the Guanyin of All Living Creatures.
If all of us are kind hearted like Guanyin, the world will be the Land of Ultimate Bliss.When the portrait of Guanyin of All Living Creatures was displayed in the Gallery, a mirror replaced its face. When people stand in front of it, they become the Guanyin in the picture.