Monday, January 23, 2017

15th Sakyadhita International Conference Workshop: Mindful Chinese Calligraphy with Esther Liu

This calligraphic work was created by elders tutored by Esther Liu.

Chinese calligraphy is the simplest artistic endeavor, being composed of black dots and strokes. The beauty of strokes, composition and integration create various kind of charm in the implicit and symbolic artistic expression.

The Chinese character of mindfulness (正念) symbolizes the “now” in the presence of calmness, alertness, openness, curiosity and steadiness, with flexible and choice-less awareness of and bare attention to the action of the present moment, including one’s body, body functions and sensations, the contents of one’s consciousness and consciousness itself. It can be interpreted as “being full-hearted right now”, that is, the attention of one’s mind is fully grounded in and focused upon the action of the present moment.

In a way, the mindful handwriting of Chinese calligraphy is the action of the present moment, a controlled expression of emotions, and a suitable treatment of the relations between the emotions of the calligrapher and the objects and environment around — a harmonious integration of the subject and object to reflect materials while express the emotions of the calligrapher. Chinese characters and writing are two essential elements of Chinese calligraphy. If the characters are the body (contents) of calligraphy, writing is the spiritual practice. Calligraphic creation is a natural exposure of people’s emotions. Such exposure should be meditative, controlled and harmonious, in order to bring into one line the beauty of nature and the beauty of personality. Therefore, the coordination and reunification of the various kinds of organic elements of calligraphy shall be attained through understanding and practice.

The Mindful Chinese Calligraphy Workshop will offer participants the chance to receive a brief explanation of Chinese characters and an introduction to the skills of writing in order to gain experience in this meditative artistic practice. The workshop will create the space for writing, as well as the tools needed to complete a simple calligraphic work of art. There will be a short meditation and hand/body warm-up before practicing calligraphic writing. No calligraphic writing experience is needed.

Esther Liu 

Esther Liu became a novice nun in 2013.
Esther Liu began her spiritual journey after 22 years of teaching at the School of Design, Hong Kong Polytechnic University. During this time she also practiced as art director and designer, and had solo and group shows in US, Japan and Hong Kong, also participating in juried international graphic/book design and typography competitions and spoke at international design conferences in Germany, Japan, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Esther was awarded the President’s Award for Achievement in Research and Scholarly Activities from Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and is the recipient of more than forty design awards, with two Golds in ‘WhitePaper’ 1996 and two Golds in ‘thinkCLICK’ 1999. Her works have been published by Idea, Tokyo TypeDirectors Club, Art Directors Club, the USA and Hong Kong Designers Association and is in the collection of the HK Heritage Museum and Osaka City Museum.  Esther has also published two books on Chinese Typography.

25 years ago, Esther Liu founded a creative visual thinking studio for kids aged from 2 to 12. The studio is still very active in the children in the art education field. Since her retirement, she has been contributing her professions to the community, teaching art and Chinese typography to those with mental disabilities, including teenagers with autism, those who have suffered strokes and elders up to age 95.

Find Esther Online:

Learn More About the 15th Sakyadhita International Conference on Buddhist Women

The theme for the 2017 conference to be held at The University of Hong Kong is “Contemporary Buddhist Women: Contemplation, Cultural Exchange & Social Action.” This theme highlights the diversity of contemporary Buddhist women throughout the world.

For more information on the conference please visit the Sakyadhita International website and download a brochure.

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