Goa is not a small place.
Viraj Naik curates a collection from India’s most loved state that exudes laissez faire living. Where the air is ever so balmy and life is mostly about breathing. Also known as the party capital of the country apart from being endowed with spectacular natural beauty. The place maketh the man, quite popularly and Goans, much like Goa carry the reputation with great aplomb.
Kalakriti Art Gallery, synonymous with great art curation from Hyderabad, launched the collection showcasing artists from across Goa. Some artists are sons of the land, while others decided to base themselves out of India’s smallest state while becoming eventually champions of the land. Galleried in the Trident hotel, the 2015 art show curated by Naik displays works of the ever popular Mario Miranda, VS Gaitonde, Walter D’souza, Sonia Rodrigues Sabharwal, Rajeshree Takkar, Kedar Dhondu, Pradeep Naik, FN Souza and fourteen others.
Borrowing the title of the exhibition from Estado Novo, articulated by the Portuguese who ran the state from the 1930s to 1974, Naik insists that Goa’s smallest territory does not by any measure restrict it’s diversity. A fact clearly seen and felt at the exhibition. The artworks cumulatively essay various perspectives and insights that is observed within the precincts. Visual art of all kinds, including photography, video and sculpture are included in addition to the traditional categories of paint on canvas, pen and ink and the likes.
Artists are rightly said to know no religion beyond art. Naik affirms that they are positively never divorced from politics much against the romanticist notion of artists standing apart from society. Pradeep Naik presents his work as a protest against the devastating effects of iron-ore mining in the state during the 1940s. Kedar Dhondu’s video installation screams, “Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; it only leads to evil”. While Krishna Divkar’s photograph, “Sao Joao-A Perilous Leap of Faith” showcases a cultural sentiment of flower-crowned Catholics jumping into a well in the monsoon, Asmani Kamat’s “Memory that Scandalous Lies” eschews any valorisation of the past. In sculpture Karl Anto’s “Minds Eye” catches one’s eye.
Sonia Rodrigues Sabharwal’s “Divine Journey” was a magnet at the show, attracting passer-bys encompassing fascinating vibrancy through mix media on canvas. Sabharwal cleverly reworks the Catholic icon of the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt while in concurrence also engaging Puranic deities and Hindu festivity. My personal favorite at the exhibition however is Walter D’souza’s pen and ink composition titled, “The Great Indian Rope trick”, that to me expressed the effervescent human brain, sometimes left and mostly right!
Patronizing art for over a decade, Kalakriti is constantly catalyzing artists and art-lovers into an ever invigorating and productive synergy. The gallery also provides art prints of the collection through humbler reproductions on mugs, calendars and other paraphernalia for that ever so curious, art-lover. They do the same for this collection too at a fraction of the value. One could buy a vivid painting or a print cause after all everyone deserves a little bit of Goa in their homes!