A Tribute to Quadriplegic Kuniko Uyeno
By Cyndia Cole, Vancouver
Kuniko Uyeno has lived with happiness and hope for over 50 years since becoming quadriplegic. On April 10, at Launch Open Mic at Vancouver's Roundhouse Community Centre "A Living Rainbow" slideshow examining the life of this pioneer SGI Canada practitioner was presented. This work is the second collaboration between artists Val Innes and Cyndia Cole that illuminates a life of challenge and fulfillment. An audience of 40 attended the public showing.
In addition to this slideshow as the featured presentation, the evening included performances of poetry, science fiction, original vocal music and a harp and violin duo. The diverse audience of youth and elders viewed impressive samples of Kuniko's 250 paintings. They also learned about Daisaku Ikeda's encouragement to Kuniko and all people with disabilities in his 2003 essay “Canada: A Caring Place.”
“It is a mistake to regard those with disabilities as being somehow diminished as people; in fact they are true champions at rising to life’s challenges. From a Buddhist perspective, they are even more: they are teachers, people who have made a vow to show their fellow human beings that those with so called disabilities can attain happiness without fail. We need to be grateful for them, respect them, and learn from them!”
One audience member said, "I was moved to tears. Kuniko Uyeno has inspired so many people!"