What is your source of happiness? Ask this question to 28 renowned artists who joined the upcoming art exhibition "Source Of Happiness" (Ton Tarn Haeng Kwam Suk), and their answers will vary from motherly love to artistic inspiration and dhamma.
A painting by Suwannee Sarakana.
Chalood Nimsamer said one of his sources of happiness comes from his mother: "Mother represents warmth, peace and gentleness."
Sant Sarakornborirak recalled the time he fell sick. "Flowers and my master, Silpa Bhirasri, give me joy and strength. I think I recovered from the illness after I had been working on sculpting my master's profile and drawing flowers."
Tawee Rujaneekorn reflected that during working on art, his mind was free from hatred and grief. "I live to create beauty for the world. Following the Buddha's path brings me peace and happiness, and following my duty as an artist brings me joy."
A painting by Tawee Rujaneekorn.
Other artists who joined this exhibition at the National Gallery shared similar sentiments and thoughts along with the aforementioned National Artists. And it is these kinds of reflections that the project initiator Anothai Jirastawong wished to invoke among the public.
"My wish is that this exhibition will get people contemplating their source of happiness," said Anothai, art enthusiast and insight meditation (vipassana) practitioner. "I believe that the increasing aggression people have with one another these days comes from our loss of contact with the core essence of happiness."
The exhibition features over 70 artworks from 28 local artists _ eight of which are titled National Artists, one Supreme Artist and another 20 renowned artists with local and international accolades. Those involved include Prayat Pongdam, Pichai Niran, Nonthiwan Chantanaphalin, Preecha Thaothong, Ithipol Thangchalok, Vichoke Mukdamanee, Ekachai Luadsoongnern and Suwannee Sarakana.
Some of the artworks are from the artists' previous collections and some were created for this special exhibition. Old or new, artists are sharing their work for merit. Proceeds of any sales will go to support the extension of Vipassana Meditation Centre of Wat Phra Dharmachak, a forest temple in Nakorn Nayok province.
"For vipassana meditation practice, you need a solitary and quiet environment," Anothai said, adding that currently the temple can accommodate a limited number of practitioners.
"To serve more practitioners, we need a larger area. And the extension would provide a safe and exclusive area for female practitioners."
For this fundraising mission art is a perfect means to a spiritual end.
"Since ancient times, art and dhamma have worked together to raise human consciousness. We'll see genres of art in the temple and artists dedicating their gifts for the Buddha," Anothai said.
In fact, a visit to an art gallery can be like a meditation practice or a visit to a temple. Anothai translated art appreciation to the three principles in Buddhism _ sila (precepts), samadhi (meditative state of mind) and panya (wisdom).
"When we look at an art piece, our mind is focused and inspired by the sense of awe and joy. That actually is mini meditation."
A work by Chalood Nimsamer.
Take for instance a work of 2005 National Artist Tawee Rujaneekorn, she said. The painting Motherly Love is a story of two birds and a fish.
"On the monstrous faces of the birds and the murderous act on the fish, there is love and nurture that the mother bird has for her baby. The mother bird kills for her baby to survive," said Anothai.
"Contemplating on such work got me thinking about our tendency to judge others and things on face value. Things we see are not totally right or wrong, or black and white."
Although the mental state of meditation and wisdom we may gain from viewing a piece of art is still in the worldly domain, Anothai said, it prepares the mind for a higher state of consciousness.
"When we give ourselves time to be touched by nature and art, our mind will be inclined to silence and joy, induced by aesthetics appreciation. Such quality of mind brings peace to life.
"And so I believe, a mind with peace can relate to what's happening with more conscience and react to suffering with more understanding."
The opening of "Source Of Happiness" will be held on Saturday at 4pm at the National Gallery on Chao Fah Road. The event will begin with a dhamma discussion, "Following The Path Of Vipassana Meditation Tradition From India To Suvanabhumi".
Joining the discussion are the abbot of Wat Phra Dharmachak, Phra Palad Chadchawan, Bancha Pongpanich, and Monthien Tananat.
Apart from visual and sculptural exhibits, the event will also display information on vipassana meditation and retreats in Thailand.
The opening of ‘‘Source Of Happiness’’ will be held on Saturday at 4pmat the National Gallery on Chao Fah Road. The event will begin with a dhamma discussion, ‘‘Following The Path Of Vipassana Meditation Tradition From India To Suvanabhumi’’. Joining the discussion are the abbot ofWat Phra Dharmachak, Phra Palad Chadchawan, Bancha Pongpanich, and Monthien Tananat. Apart from visual and sculptural exhibits, the event will also display information on vipassana meditation and retreats in Thailand.
About the author
- Writer: Karnjariya Sukrung