50cm x 100cm, digital print on canvas
Visual Works on Close Up
Yiyi finally decided to choose Music over Medicine as her studies at the University of Canterbury. Music is what she is passionate about, but Medicine is something she is really good at; it was a difficult decision as my dad really wanted her to follow his footsteps…
Chinese character for ‘Music’ or ‘Sound’ - ‘音’.
I observed that this Chinese character contains 5 horizontal lines, same as in the western ‘music stave’. Traditional Buddhist musical instruments and the philosophy of Buddhism have deeply influenced her music composition work. Yiyi started playing the piano at the age of 6, and the piano has always been an important part of her life; Buddhism only came in to her life when she was 14, the age when we first arrived in New Zealand.
The Lotus Flower – Buddhist Symbol
The lotus plant symbolizes strength and compassion, as every aspect of the lotus plant is useful, and some parts can even be made into Chinese medicine.
In traditional paintings of Buddhism, the Bodhisattva is often depicted standing or sitting on the top of a lotus flower.
The Buddhist Heart Sutra (Prajnyaapaaramitaa Hridaya)
The ‘Heart Sutra‘ became the main subject of Yiyi’s music composition work, in her postgraduate years at uni.
The Heart Sutra in Chinese Calligraphic Style
Prajnyaapaaramitaa Hridaya (The Heart Sutra) by Ouyang Xun, a legendary Chinese Calligrapher
Yiyi’s music composition work performed by a Christchurch Christian Choir and members of the Buddhist Association, accompanied by Rona the soloist, Yiyi’s mom. The music scores were truly unique, as to be circular; this is in reference to the Heart Sutra: ‘There is no beginning and there is no end’. No two performances would record the same, as the choir would start at a random spot on the score, and the voices would alternate like sea waves. I was the photographer that day, Yiyi conducted the entire performance, and I wish I could have the words to describe this incredible musical experience!
Written Documentation – Chapter 4 ‘Tertiary Education’
We became Buddhists one year after we came to New Zealand. Mom and Yiyi have always been very devoted and Yiyi especially finds the Buddhist chants fascinating. She has been exploring the possibilities of using Buddhist instruments and chants in her musical compositions and has successfully given concerts of her works. Mom and I were involved with performances of one of her compositions entitled “Heart Sutra”, which employed one Chinese choir, one English Christian choir, and several Buddhist instruments. The interaction between the two choirs and the Buddhist instruments was marvelous; it was a night of harmonious mix between the East and the West. Yiyi told us that many of her compositions were inspired by Buddhist philosophies and require special attention and concentration from the performers in order to portray the right mood and sound. It was a great experience for me. I learned not only about the music and working with other people in the choirs, but also I discovered new things about my sister and my religion… Continue reading >>