The movement of love, translated…
I’d often encouraged my students, to take after a kind of chrysanthemums, to still BE in full-bloom, even IF it grows on the poorest kind of environment, still beautiful, in the coldness of the winter…
“Teacher, this, was the ocean I dreamed up of last night”, the beautiful blue ocean started unfolding from his hands.
“This, was the scene that I’d discovered on the sunlight and the flowers”, flower after flower, they bloomed, from his drawing papers.
“Look at this one, they’re a school of fish that misses the oceans waves…”
Every time he’d gone through the steel windows and entered into the classrooms, Liang would always bring me his newly drawn pictures.
His simplistic and childlike artwork, it’d always surprised me, and moved me too.
- Everything I Wanted to Say, I’d Put it into the Paintings
Liang was my writing student from seventeen years ago while I’d taught in prison, I taught him to write; however, in the realms of artistry, he became my instructor.
He was a natural born artist, started drawing on his own, with his own unique kind of style. I liked his artwork, encouraged him, to search for the sense of self through his artwork. There was once when a painter who traveled to France to study that came to Taiwan, I’d asked him to come and speak to the prisoners, to exchange thoughts with Liang, and we’d all gotten along very well with one another that time.
Liang’s given name was Han-Liang Huang, he was born to a miner’s family back in 1957 in the mining regions in Taipei, “When I was a teenager, I took to the bad ways, and gotten into prison”. He has a round face, with a shy personality. “I’m not good with words, all I wanted to say, are all in the paintings”.
Sometimes, as I pressed him to tell him the mindset he took, to make those artwork, and he’d tell me, “I’m like the chrysanthemum that you’d told the class about from the heavens then!” I’d often encourage my students, to be like that species of chrysanthemum, that even IF they grew up on land that’s malnourished, they should still bloom, in the cold weathers of the wintertime.
In 1999, in the earthquake in Nantou, all of my students had given back to the community. We’d all worked hard, wrote, drew, and had gotten a calendar notebook published called, “Times of Love”, and we’d donated all the sales, to the Center for Home and Families in Taichung, to help children in poverty stricken backgrounds to grow up safely.
- Why is He Such a Great Artist?
Liang donated ALL of his winnings for his third place prize for the International Inmate Artists Competitions, to help those regions, hit by natural disasters. He continued to draw, and, his artwork made the other students writing appeared more meaningful somehow, and it’d improved the publishing we made. During those years, we’d made the donations from the sales of these art books at the end of the year to the association that helped take care of kids from poverty stricken backgrounds.
In the spring of 2006, Liang was released, and went to the church in Taichung to volunteer. Before he was released, he’d even volunteered as the illustrator of the French Tim G. “A Man Who Painted with Hope”, to add pictures. But, at the end of that year, he’d died, of a hematoma, he was only fifty years old. Back then, “The Man Who Painted with Hopes” was yet to be published. I took the book that the publishers had set up, and went to Liang’s funeral with the head of my prison class.
So many years had passed now. I keep on passing through these steel gates, to teach children to write. Everything as I’d introduced this older schoolmate, Liang’s artwork, people would often be in awe, “How come he was such an amazing artist?” “Why drove him to draw day and night?”
I believe, that that, is the way Liang loved. He’d once told me, “Whenever I think about how many kids are still waiting to grow up, I just keep on drawing, drawing, and drawing.”
And so, this, is the way a man makes a difference in his life, and yeah, he’d been on the WRONG side of the law, but, he’d turned his own life around, came to understand how his behaviors had affected those who loved him, and those whom he’d hurt, and, he made a difference, with what he had, and, in the end, he’d passed on, a legacy of love, to the rest of the world too.