The Mei Hwa Gyro Tree of Life Mural Project was a great success despite many challenges.
Execution of the project was chaotic and difficult with so many pairs of hands, from kindergarteners to retirees, from the school community to volunteers from the local Daxi region and from the cities of Taipei and Taizhong. In addition, it rained almost every day. Drizzles continually washed away our paints and smeared our surfaces. It was not easy to create, salvage, and repair from a six-level scaffolding with people coming and going in different shifts. Yet, the dedication and persistence of the many participants paid off.
The whole community was moved by the scale and beauty of the mural.
The project transformed people’s understanding of the power of art. It empowered the school community to envision; it emboldened the Daxi residents to dare to imagine.
One of the reasons for its success is the dedication of our partners, the Gaya Foundation and Xiang Guang Shan Si (香光山寺) with its many devoted volunteers. When the school authorities and teachers doubted and wanted to withdraw from the project, they displayed courage and held steadfast to the promise of realizing a vision. Their confidence in me laid a solid foundation for the project.
Lily was inspired by the commitment of these two religious organizations to live the principle of compassion in everyday life. They were realizing Buddhist teachings of generosity and kindness through working with and strengthening the vulnerable in the society.
Zizhuo Shi, the principal sponsor of the project from the Xiang Guan Shan Si shared her reflection:
In fact, I am the one who benefits the most through the process of teaching weekly art classes and preparing the creation of mural. I read your book Awakening Creativity several times and translated some part of it for Principal Yeh. Hence, I became familiar with your educational ideas and methods of guiding students to create artwork. Also, in the preparing period, in order to invite community people, I came to Mei Hua and visited quite a few local people and made friends with them. Accordingly, I became more familiar with the situation of Mei Hua community. Furthermore, the hardship of not being supported by Principal Yeh and other people, also made me stronger than before. Particularly, when the mural is finished, it confirmed that sometimes, a great work may not be understood by everyone.
I am so happy that the result turns out to be so great. More significantly, now Principal Yeh is very willing to take up the responsibility of preparing the building of a cosmic Gyro Top next year.