On Buddha Purnima, artists explain why Buddha is their guiding light

In one, there is an image of the Buddha in a meditative state, done in acrylic; in another, his compassionate gaze mesmerises the onlooker. If one work showcases Buddha lost in thoughts, another frame depicts his awakening. It is a play of perspective and a celebration of Buddha’s journey to enlightenment through works. Buddha has been a popular subject in the art circuit with his story narrated in myriad ways on canvas, and Buddha Purnima commemorating the birth, enlightenment, and death of the Buddha assumes significance as artists pay tribute through strokes and colours.

For artist Anisha Tandon, Buddha is a power to connect within oneself. Her solo show revolved around Buddha’s journey from emptiness to enlightenment. For the trained Ikebana artist and MBA graduate, the inspiration to draw Buddha came when she visited Kamakura in Japan which has the second largest Buddha statue. “Buddha showed us how one can transform from within and seek peace. It is very easy to blame the external forces but he showed us that the path to enlightenment is internal,” she states.

If some artists showcase Buddha’s different moods and his spiritual journey, artist Vikram Ch’s ‘Buddha’ transcends religious barriers. “When you paint Buddha, there is serenity all over. People from all walks of life look up to him and he is not associated with any religion,” he says. His creation is part of an exhibition titled ‘Taamara’ at Rainbow Art Gallery is done in relief works. His wife Vani has been painting Buddha for three years now and calls Buddha as her guiding light. She considers Buddha a constant source of inspiration and her works, also a part of the display, focus on his teachings. She works as a user interaction designer and paints in her free time. “His teachings inspire me. I want to spread his teachings among common people through my works,” she notes. Her ‘Tree of Life’ follows Buddha’s footsteps and showcases the wisdom of light through fauna. “He shunned riches and walked his way to enlightenment,” he says.

Freelance-artist-cum-curator Mareedu Ramu’s works at the gallery are a reflection of his trips to Buddhist sites like Amaravati that have also inspired him to create his own style. “The face of Buddha is mesmerizing. When you see a Buddha on canvas, you can’t take your eyes off it,” he smiles. Till now he has drawn around 200 Buddha paintings and each work feels a different one, he says. The paintings symbolise peace and artists have chosen colours accordingly. At Ginger Lily art gallery, Kappari Kishan’s works on the Buddha convey tranquillity and energy. Artist Makarand Jadhav’s Buddha images evoke positivity. Be it the texture, colour or features, his works focus on Buddha’s meditative face and showcases Buddha as a teacher. “Unless artists are inspired from within, one cannot draw a serene Buddha,” he says. Artists say their inspiration to draw Buddha comes from within and when they look at Buddha’s life, their thoughts take a form on canvas. Anisha has the parting shot: “In these stressful times, Buddha’s life paves the path to peace. One can easily connect with his teachings that show how one can experience contentment from within.”