Worariddh Riddhagni is an artist who has long since dedicated himself to meditation and to creating art as a means to relieve spiritual suffering. His paintings are also known for a joyous visual rhetoric. While ideas of contemporary art encourage artists to explore their creativity through mixed media, innovative methods and a concern with social contexts, Riddhagni allows Dharma to direct his art.
But while Riddhagni’s artworks may be distinguished from the methods and concerns of much contemporary art practice, he nevertheless enriches our ideas of what contemporary art is and can be.
Riddhagni graduated in fine arts from Shang-Silp School and Silpakorn University. He also studied in Germany, where he met a professor who taught him to draw with pens or pencils by making minute dots. These dots integrated and became small masses which grew into larger masses. This process encouraged an understanding of analogues with Buddhist teaching on the idea that every entity is an amalgam of smaller components.
After Germany, Riddhagni began to paint from his analysis and research on Buddhist teachings. This crystallized into a formulated creative concept, which is centered on regular meditation; but, of course, his paintings are not intended to preach Buddhism to the viewers.
Riddhagni switched from oil to acrylic paint because insects tended to end their lives on his early unfinished paintings! His practice reminds us of the lifestyle of Jainists; people who abstain from killing animals to the point that they cover their noses to protect insects from flying into their airways accidentally.
Elements in his paintings are not realistic even though they are rooted in natural forms. Riddhagni simplifies natural forms mainly to communicate states of clarity, beauty, and psychological depth. His paintings are imaginative, free from realistic constraints. In some paintings, Riddhagni captures an image of a rice field filled with warm light, a field so wide it extends to infinity. The colors of the field can soothe the viewer’s mind with peace and delight and this is the result of his own special technique, in which he layers tiny dots and sharp lines of paints with small brush strokes; again, the realization of the concept that small masses can gather to create a larger and more powerful mass and therefore create infinite space. Through the artist creates familiar images, Riddhagni’s paintings manage to bring us to great states of mind.
In much the same way poets’ use words to conjure the extraordinary, his compositions read as dances of light that lead us to a secret empire of the imagination.
Riddhagni’s art is singular in the contemporary world. Meditation is the basis of peace and can free the self from the demands of the external world.
Whilst prizes or honors have never been Riddhagni’s interest, his work has undeniably influenced many famous young Thai artists. Worariddh Riddhagni’s paintings demonstrate the power of art to steer our mind to Buddhism’s Right View, leading to peace for all.