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  • Guoying Stacy Zhang

The Artful Transformation of Human Suffering: Banksy and Buddhist Art

In the midst of widespread protests in Hong Kong in October 2019, the city was imbued with feelings of anxiety, fear, and anger. Fire, violence, and destruction were constantly shown on media platforms to a degree that even the most fainthearted would feel numb to the spectacle. Many weekend and afterwork plans had to be canceled. Nevertheless, a couple of friends and I managed to cross the border between Hong Kong and mainland China and find ourselves in a nice bar in the city of Shenzhen. It was a breath of fresh air, away from the tear gas and rage.

Life on this side of the border did not seem to have been affected at all. Greeted by two young bartenders, we sat down at the bar. One of them was making a cocktail, with fresh flowers arranged in a vase in front of him. The other was sorting glasses, while complaining to us about a group of girls for taking photos with their drinks, without even finishing half of them. In our good-natured banter, we learned that the two young men were both from other provinces of China, like many young people in Shenzhen. One was looking for a girlfriend, while the other was thinking about opening his own bar. Lovely as it was, this scene could have taken place in any part of the world.

Rage, the Flower Thrower by Banksy, Jerusalem. From

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