First and foremost, Richard Buxani is an architect. He earned his degree from the Royal and Pontifical Catholic University of Santo Tomas in Manila, whose historic buildings are concrete proof that great architectural design will withstand the tests of time and even the cruelty of Mother Nature (torrential rains, earthquake, flooding, and droughts). This also makes sense to good art. Even if time has passed, its essence and its beauty won’t fade; in fact, the brilliance of the genius of its creator will shine even more brightly as generation after generation appreciates the picture that he painted, or the figure that he sculpted.
His learning as an architect has transformed this Filipino-Indian artist into a “deva,” with the power to transform hard materials such as iron and brass, mostly salvaged from a nearby scrapyard, into figures with crudely beautiful form, not replete with balance, harmony, and unity—things that are very important in creating something sturdy and beautiful. He does this as if without any difficulty as the finished product will always catches the audience in awe.
Growing up with two cultures running in his veins—the mysticism of India and the resilient and prayerful spirit of the inhabitants of the Philippine archipelago—Buxani has been able to combine the spirituality, myths, customs, beliefs, and character of these two countries (which actually are closely knit to each other as the relationship between India and the Philippines can be traced back to the pre-Hispanic times), in his works. But of course, Buxani’s works are not only limited to these cultures. As an artist, he was able to transcend racial and cultural boundaries, having been able to add the elements of pop culture, popular icons, and architectural sensibilities in his works.
But unknown to many people, he didn’t started up as a sculptor. He started up as a painter. He confessed: “It was a natural progression for me to go back again to art, and in 2008, after a trip to Singapore; I started to paint and have never stopped since. My discipline has always been Architecture, so it naturally is a source of inspiration. I have taken to using Acrylics as a medium since I like to work fast. I want to hold the spur of the moment and translate it to the canvass as quickly as possible.” Not until he met his mentor, Ronald Castrillo in 2009. After that meeting, he has been sculpting ever since with iron and brass, primarily, as his medium.
One of his most popular works that captured the hearts and the imagination of many is his “Samurai Warrior,” where he started to work on since 2009. In 2017, a series of these sculptures was showcased in public, which was warmly welcomed, especially by collectors and critics.
A year later, he became a finalist in the GSIS (a Philippine national government agency) nationwide competition for sculpture with his entry,” re-imagining St. George and the Dragon”. But this has nothing to do with the religious man, but rather depicting St. George as a soldier, a tactician.
Most of his works are done by bending and welding—a method that is tedious. However, for Buxani, it is the best method for him, as it poses a challenge. In a statement he wrote: “I was taught in the bend and weld method, and I always liked the challenge of willing the metal to images I have in my mind by direct interaction with the material and seeing to fruition those concept. I have since called this process of mine “MateRealization”.”
He’s had numerous group shows, a two-man show and 4 major solo exhibits to his credit, with 2-3 more solo shows slated from mid- to later part of 2019. He will also participate this year in several shows in the U.S., Hong Kong and South Korea.