Growing up my mother always had something, a drawing, a statue, a picture she treasured of Kuan Yin. The one I think of the most; she is standing on a lotus flower in full bloom, her left hand pouring water from an elegant vase and her right holding a plant of some sort, usually a delicate one like wisps of willow or something like that.

Our family was not dictated by loving family moments. Being that my Grandparents lived in Hong Kong during the Japanese occupation, they never really spoke of those times. Sometimes, in an out of place relevancy, my Grandmother would randomly teach me about making bark soup and how to sew jewelry in a jacket unseen should you need to “jow lan” (run for it).

We didn’t talk much as a family, most of our words and feelings for each other truncated by trauma. But I knew that my mother had a great reverence for the Goddess of Mercy, perhaps praying for mercy from the hard life she had lived. I don’t really know the actual teachings of why she’s standing on the lotus or the water or the plant she holds. I do, however, know there are teachings about each element, her poses, her hand mudra’s etc

As I prepared for the final elements of my ever changing movie “Morning Song”; I knew I had to find the right Kuan Yin for the shoot. I had already went from a beach shoot from sunrise to sunset to an at home shoot due to lock downs. We learn to bloom despite it, resistance creates resilience. I found my Kuan Yin 3 days before the lock down, perpetually looking for “the one” and only succeeding in the most unlikeliest of times.

The Kuan Yin to grace this installation doesn’t stand on a lotus but she sits on it, she holds a water vessel delicately in her left hand, with a teaching mudra in her right hand. What strikes me about her is the serenity in her face. It is framed by a flower in her crown and a spiral on the top of her head. Some of these elements land for me and I have no idea why. I’ve searched for the perfect Kuan Yin in years and never quite found one that resonated with me like this one.

As I think about this piece and my intentions of love and kindness through prayer. I think about all of us who need mercy right now and how she reminds me to be steadfastly serene during this time of great turmoil. She is often portrayed in a state of prayer, an act of compassion and kindness, her expression is always loving. I hope this piece brings love and light to the world like she does.

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