Anthony Rodrigues, better known as Anthony De Agassaim, has the distinction of having earned himself the epithet of ‘Star Man of Goa’. The 67-year-old artist from Agassaim has been making cane (bamboo) stars for the last 16 years.
Christmas season in the locality becomes all the more vibrant because of Anthony’s decorative stars. He puts his handmade cane stars on display in a lane next to his house during the season.
Gomantak Times Digital met the Star Man Anthony and learnt about his journey in cane star-making hobby which has garnered him popularity and appreciation from other parts of the world too.
Anthony recalls that somewhere in the year 2007 he bought some stars in the market for Christmas, but sudden rainfall destroyed his stars. This incident forced him to make a cane (konde) star on his own.
Anthony, who made a special mention of Gomantak Times for highlighting his talent in the past, initially made 100 cane stars by hand and gradually increased the number over the years to 300 and more.
Tourists and locals alike come along to appreciate the craftsmanship of the Star Man. He tells us that many college students have met him in person and learnt the nuances of cane star-making craft in a one-day workshop, which was held a few years back. Students of all faiths come and learn this art from him.
Anthony’s main objective behind displaying his stars in large numbers, he revealed, is that the local youth should learn the craft of cane star-making and keep the tradition of displaying stars during festivities in Goa alive.
The Star Man said that this year he has been approached by Jesuit priests from Old Goa to make around 27 big cane stars by mid-November before the novena to St Francis Xavier begins. He has already completed 30 cane stars.
Anthony has three large books filled with comments and appreciation poured by visitors. And the plaudits seem to see no end.
This year he has decided to make some additional cane stars and set up a decorated crib next to the lane where he displays cane stars. Anthony told GT that his stars lane has been featured in several music videos and even in a Hollywood movie.
All over the world, he has received a good response to his art. There are non-resident Goans from Italy, Germany, the UK, Portugal and the US, who appreciate and share pictures of the lane fully lit with the cane stars in Agassaim.
People from various parts of the state visit the site and do photo shoots. Anthony the Star Man takes great pleasure in seeing the happy faces that result from viewing his art.