Murals of Peace and Transformation at Hua Quan village, China

By Morgan Bricca November 2, 2017

Last month I was invited to China to join artists from around the world to paint on the subject of peace and transformation. The Miracle Mural project was located in Hua Quan Village, in the Jianxi province, in one of the largest art and cultural centers in the world. The village features stunning views of Dragon Tiger Mountain, which is a World Heritage Site recognized as the birthplace of Taoism. I was honored to be included in the ranks of the other world-class artists that participated in the creation of what will be a total of 100 murals around the village, 80 of which are now complete.

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The plaque for my mural reads:

Nature is Home

Living in harmony – both with nature and each other – nourishes our well-being. The butterfly serves as a visual allegory as to how small, tender actions have a ripple effect that can transform the world. The blossoms symbolize the fragility of our human existence – and the power of love.

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From the moment I was invited, I hoped that my meditation teacher, Roma Hammel, would join me on the adventure. It seemed fitting that an art project about peace and transformation should include my own unfolding towards peace and transformation as well.

I first connected with Roma about four years ago. I had started a daily meditation practice about a year earlier, and was feeling ready to take my practice to the next level. I was flipping through an Esalen catalog when a particular course caught my eye. In researching the teacher I discovered that we lived in the same town, and that she was hosting a satsang that week. It was the beginning of a regular practice that has led to a profound deepening of a felt sense of myself in my own being and as connected to fundamental consciousness. My time with Roma ranks consistently in the top ten of things I am most grateful for in my life.

In every sense of the word, Roma is a great teacher. As in, literally, “Teacher of the Year” great. She spent 30 years as a teacher at Los Altos High and developed English program curriculum that is still being used. She also served as AVID Coordinator, an internationally recognized program designed to prepare ethnic minority and/or low income high school students for success in four-year universities. With Roma, I feel like there are no dumb questions. Trust me, I have plenty. She keeps the pace just right so that there is neither boredom nor giving up. She is skilful at facilitating deep inquiry. Roma teaches a form of embodiment meditation based on Judith Blackstone’s Realization Process. Every week is a unique, powerful experience for me. The caliber and commitment of the other students in the group is intimidating. On a typical week I feel totally out of my league but simultaneously experiencing profound interior resonance, so I continue to return. I am so grateful that Roma agreed to embark on a this China adventure with me!

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We danced in the town square, a nightly village tradition. We meditated in sacred pagodas. I got sage advice on teenagers while walking a footbridge along the sheer cliff faces of Dragon Tiger Mountain. We giggled at our Chinese hosts attempts to serve a proper western style breakfast. And my artwork benefitted from her savvy contributions.

When she saw that I was not open to feedback about the map I was painting when I was up on the scaffold, she waited. That evening, after a hot shower and a fully belly, she broached the subject again.

“Morgan, maps are quite interesting. Did you know the map we typically use is distorted so the Northern countries all look larger? Here, look at this, this is what the world actually looks like.”

“Hmmm. That is interesting. But that map looks weird. Africa and South America look huge and misshapen because I am accustomed to the “Europe Central” map.”

“Morgan look at this, here is a map of the world from over the North Pole. This is an interesting perspective.”

“Yes, very interesting, Roma. But it’s kind of disorienting. I mean, it takes a bit longer for me to understand what I am looking at.”

“Take a look at this map, Morgan. When I look up New Zealand, it shows how our world map would look if China and the west coast of the U.S are at the center, instead of Europe.”

“Wow. Hey Roma, that is so cool! I’m having this great idea that maybe I should repaint my map tomorrow and put China and the U.S. at the center. I could even skew the U.S. and China a little closer, to enhance the perception of being neighbors. This would really improve the concept. Wow, I have the best ideas.”

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I am grateful to Hua Quan Village founders for their mission and efforts to create a cultural destination celebrating art and inner transformation in such a sacred place. The village was co-founded by legendary music and film director Liu Jia Chang. Mr. Liu has composed over 2,000 songs and directed almost 100 films in the past 50 years. He has received three life-time achievement awards in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. In our conversations, I learned firsthand about the substantial resistance he has received from the Chinese government throughout his effort to bring his vision to life. This project has been over 5 years in the making. In a testament to the momentum the project now has, the local government offered up it’s own real estate in support of the Miracle Mural Gallery project. The wall I painted on is actually the side of a government building. It faces the busiest intersection in the region, an ideal billboard and signage for the art village up the street. I love happy endings.

My favorite mural of the whole project might be the mural adjacent to my own, painted by a team of two women from Puerto Rico that call themselves Morivivi. The artwork communicates both vulnerability and power, and nails it on allegory, color and feel. It embodies both peace and transformation. It was a tough act to follow. The white panels to the right of the “Art Capital of the World” signage are being painted this week by an artist from the U.K.

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I told Mr. Liu that for every project I have been a part of, there is someone who holds the vision for the transformation possible through art, despite the obstacles and resistance. This is the person who generously creates a container for the art and the artist to be their best. Art does not exist without art advocates such as Mr. Liu.

I am truly grateful for all the readers, cheerleaders, referrals, art advocates, friends and family who are helping me along this path. I am part of a beautiful web of support, and you are making my journey as an artist possible. Thank you.

With love,

Morgan signature

More about the Murals

“The Miracle Mural Gallery aims to remind us that countless miracles occur in our everyday lives. It is only when we are able to stop in our tracks and appreciate the simplest things and the smallest gestures that we are able to find inner peace. When all our international artists came to this rustic countryside to complete this gallery, a true miracle occurred. It is our wish that these murals will inspire you to stop in the midst of your busy lives and take a moment to listen to your heart’s call. We believe that this single moment of resonance will have a deep and long lasting impact on you. Perhaps one day, miracles might begin to appear before your very eyes. It is when we experience this total transformation of the heart that we can come together as family and friends to make this world a better place.”

Here are some of my personal favorites from the Miracle Mural Gallery:

Winds of Change, Charlie Johnson, Canada

Winds of Change, Charlie Johnson, Canada

Mother Earth, Long Jungchuang, China

Mother Earth, Long Jungchuang, China

Dreams of Peace, Liang Yu, China

Dreams of Peace, Liang Yu, China

Floating, Paola Delfin, Mexico

Floating, Paola Delfin, Mexico

The Garden of Myth, Stephan Juenemann, Germany

The Garden of Myth, Stephan Juenemann, Germany

Awakening the Divine, Serge Malefant, Canada

Awakening the Divine, Serge Malefant, Canada

Lotus Flower, Wan Mingzhi, China

Lotus Flower, Wan Mingzhi, China

 

Morgan Bricca

Morgan Bricca

Morgan Bricca is a mural artist living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her clients run the gamut from professional creatives, including architects and designers to building owners, school administrators and community advocates. When she is not making art, Morgan enjoys sipping boba tea with her kids and taking naps on the couch.

WHAT CLIENTS ARE SAYING

Our entire staff enthusiastically appreciates the artistic transformation of our clinic. The kids here for medical services LOVE the murals as well. One of our young patients returned from emergency psychiatric services for a self-harm issue and when she came into our office she had a huge smile upon seeing the mural. It is amazing to all of us how immediately a depressed patient responded to the mural art.

It has been a pleasure to work with you. We love both your work and the positive environment and spirit you have instilled in our kids.  Once again Morgan, thank you so very much from the bottom of my heart.

Warm regards,

Chia-Chen Lee
Juvenile Hall Medical Clinic Pediatrics

Review for Juvenile Hall Mural Project by Chia-Chen Lee

Morgan blew it out of the water.  As a general contractor, I would say my decision to hire Morgan for this mural is one of the best decisions I have made in terms of impact of my work.  Every kid will remember this mural as long as he or she shall live. Watching a child see the mural for the first time is an experience words can’t describe. It’s mesmerizing to them. Adults too, for that matter. It’s a show stopper.  So much better than I could have ever imagined.

I would go out of my very busy way to recommend Ms. Morgan Bricca on every possible level, with no hesitation. Please feel free to call me if you are considering hiring Morgan but can’t quite take the leap. I will be glad to push you in.

Chris Carver
Aquatic Management Group
Raleigh, North Carolina

Mural artist review by Chris Carver

Morgan offers a unique collaborative approach with her clients. On our project, she struck the perfect balance; she listened to our ideas and feedback but very much maintained her role as the creative expert, making us feel comfortable the entire time.

I would absolutely recommend Morgan with no hesitation. With all that she has done, she is going to find the right approach for just about any client.

Jonathan Meyer
VP, Marketing and Community Relations
San Mateo Credit Union

Mural painter review by Jonathan Meyer

We absolutely love our mural! I anticipated that it would add beauty and a much-needed “nature element” onto our campus, I never could have imagined what a huge impact this would have on our school. I have seen countless children, parents, and teachers walk by in awe, totally captivated. Not only does it make our campus a brighter, more beautiful place to learn and play, it reminds our entire community of the tremendous importance of art. This is a gift beyond measure, especially in tech-obsessed silicon valley. Once again, you have exceeded my (already high) expectations!

You are so fun, inspiring and professional to work with and your projects in our kinder yard and now this mural have been my most satisfying collaborations on PTA.

Warmly,

Christy Flahavan
PTA President
Springer Elementary School

Mural Artist Review for Springer Elementary School by Christy Flahavan

The real value and pleasure of working with Morgan was that we connected with her. She was very personable, very sincere, very collaborative, but not one to sit back and let us lead it in a wrong direction. We trusted her completely from the past work she had done for us, and told her, “here is a wall, do something with it – surprise us.” It’s like dealing with a friend.

The murals she has created for us make our home more intimate, warm, and personal. I was surprised at how quickly she worked, how easily it got done, and how watching the process was enlightening. It just flowed; it was like watching a very large masterpiece being created before our very eyes. It was especially interesting when she got into the tonality and the tints. For us, it turned out better than we could have expected. I absolutely recommend her without a doubt.

Mural Painter Review by Sandy Bland

Morgan, the mural you created for our building has been a major attraction for both locals and visitors in Downtown Napa. The transformation of an eye sore, to a work of art, has been nothing short of amazing. I feel a little guilty receiving so many compliments for your work, however that doesn’t stop me from stealing part of your credit. Your attention to detail and sensitivity, bringing the Wappo tribe into the process, unified Napa’s residents with its history. This public recognition of the Wappo Indians is long overdue, reminding us all of a different time in the Napa Valley when nature and people could live harmoniously.

Every day, as I watch children and adults transported to an earlier time in the Napa Valley, I appreciate your ability to be the vehicle for their journey. I hope soon you will return to sprinkle some more fairy dust on another wall, so I can watch your magic talented creations at work.

Thank You,
Michael L Holcomb

Mural Artist Review by Michael L Holcomb

Hi Morgan,

We had an end of the school year party at our house and everyone raved about your mural. I see your name and date, 2012, on it and can’t believe it was 4 years ago.

Just wanted you to know it brings me joy every day.

Warmest,
Josh Weinstock

Mural Artist Review by Josh Weinstock

I have worked with Morgan on five mural projects at our house over the past six years. I love her work and she is a pleasure to work with. Once you see how transformed your space is by the first mural, it is easy to start seeing other rooms that could benefit from a “Morgan”.

Susan Wojicki
CEO, YouTube

Mural Painter Review by Susan Wojicki

Morgan’s work is exquisite. She loves what she does, works extremely fast, and is a true pleasure to work with.

David DaPonte
Architect, HKS

Mural Painter Review by David DaPonte

Without fail, anytime someone comes to our house who hasn’t seen the painting, they comment on it and how much they like it.

Adam King
Director, Intel Corporation

 

Mural Painter Review by Adam King