Buddha in canvas, Buddha in soul

 

Buddha is my soul, my guru, says Hyderabad-based artist Kappari Kishan. And, that’s what precisely is being reflected in his paintings. Not surprisingly, it was at a tender age that Kishan drew his first Buddha. Encouraged by the appreciation received by his science teacher, Mrs. Shyamala Devi, in fifth grade, Kishan decided to paint the Buddha in poster colours. His teacher was so awed by the painting, that she framed it and adorned it in her drawing room, which is still there, three decades later!

Reminiscing about the incident, Kishan recalls, “At that time, I didn’t know that I had drawn a Buddha. All I knew was that the Buddha’s beautiful and meditative face attracted me, and I represented it through colours.”

Undoubtedly, it is not a matter of chance, but of choice that the images of the Buddha are at the core of Kishan’s work, as he aspires to achieve inner peace and harmony through his paintings. Some of the major themes and aspects of the Buddha’s life that Kishan enumerates through his paintings are Dhyani Buddha and Maha Parinirvana. And of course, the association of Buddhism with the spirit of nature, flora and fauna find prominent place in the artist’s works.

Kishan also likes to experiment with different media, and has specifically taken painting on wooden structures to a new high. Using wooden cuboids, the artist provides a unique perspective to his paintings on the 3D surface, helping his audience align with his vision.

Kishan’s emotional connect with the Buddha is evident in his passion for holding a Buddha-themed exhibition every year for the last seven years around the time of Buddha Purnima. This year as well, the exhibition was on display at Banjara Hills, Hyderabad Talking about his exhibition, Kishan says, “I feel a special connection with the Buddha. When I read about the Buddha’s philosophy, it often seems as if the Buddha himself is giving the discourse in front of me. Although, my exhibitions had mostly been solo, last year, I showcased my paintings along with 45 other artists of national and international repute. It was our collective way of spreading the message of peace and non-violence in the world.

 

For this year’s edition, Kishan is collaborating with national artists such as Bengaluru-based Shivanand Basavanthappa—who is also his guru—Chennai-based Uday Shanker, Pondicherry-based Raja Perumal, Chennai-based Darshan Murugan, Assam-based Gunindro Singh, and Gulbarga-based Sudhir Phadnis, and Delhi-based Siddharth Bete Jewarji.

Talking about his connect with Sakyamuni, Kishan gets emotional. He finds his inspiration from visiting various Buddhist places. Sharing one such incident, Kishan talked about how his visit to Amaravathi helped him connect with the various Jataka tales, sculpted in white stones and inspired him to paint life stories of the Buddha. He also draws motivation from books written on the Buddha.

With bold strokes and bright colours on the canvas, which is also his signature style, Kishan juxtaposes the Buddha’s images and his life stories with that of his plaited Telugu women. Interestingly, in most of his works, women with long plaits are shown with their back towards the viewers.Kishan says, “I depict the beauty of our collective way of spreading the message of peace and non-violence in  the world.” For this year’s edition, Kishan is collaborating with national artists such as Bengaluru-based Shivanan Basavanthappa—who is also his guru—Chennai-based Uday Shanker, Pondicherry-based Raja Perumal, Chennai-based Darshan Murugan, Assam-based Gunindro Singh, and Gulbarga-based Sudhir Phadnis, and Delhi-based Siddharth Bete Jewarji.Talking about his connect with Sakyamun, Kishan gets emotional. He finds his inspiration from visiting various Buddhist places. Sharing one such incident, Kishan talked about how his visit to Amaravathi helped him connect with the various Jataka tales,sculpted in white stones and inspired him to paint life stories of the Buddha. He also draws motivation from books written on the Buddha. With bold strokes and bright colours on the canvas, which is also his signature style, Kishan juxtaposes the Buddha’s images and his life storieswith that of his plaited Telugu women.

Interestingly, in most of his works, women with long plaits are shown with their back towards the viewers. Kishan says, “I depict the beauty of Indian women by making them look away. I want to focus on the fact tha Indian women can also inspire and intrigue with their beauty, even when they are depicted through their back posture and long plaits.”

However, in some of his paintings, Kishan does render a beautiful mystic face of a woman, where she is mostl gazing at the Buddha or painting the Buddha or talking with other women.

In conclusion, Kishan says, “Buddha found a perfect system of peace forthe world. After experimenting with Madhye Marga and Astanga Margas, he rightly expounded them as the easy ways to get to nirvana for every human being.”

About Kappari Kishan: An acclaimed artist, Kappari Kishan has been working as a senior art instructor with Jawahar Bal Bhavan, Hyderabad, for the last 23 years, teaching painting to children. The core theme of his paintings remains the Buddha, and he has organised exclusive shows, for Buddha paintings over the years.

An exhibition of painting of Goutham Buddha, by Kappari Kishan and Group, was on display at Banjara Hills Hyderabad. For his next project, Kishan plans to organise an international show on the Buddha. His works on the Buddha is being sold to collectors from all over India as well as overseas, such as art aficionados from theUS, Canada, Germany, Japan, Singaporeand other countries. Interested patrons and painters may write to editorial@wisdomwinds.com.

 

 

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