A painting is like a book, says Goan artist Nirupa Naik

Nirupa Naik was the only female in the first batch of students of the Goa College of Arts, Panjim, in 1984
Artist Nirupa Naik's painting was unveiled at this year's Goa Art & Lit Fest (GALF)
Artist Nirupa Naik's painting was unveiled at this year's Goa Art & Lit Fest (GALF)Gomantak Times

After a hiatus of two years, the Goa Art & Lit Fest (GALF), at the International Centre Goa, Dona Paula, was a low key event. At the well-attended inaugural of the fest, among the luminaries on the dais were, well-known Konkani novelist, Damodar Mauzo – who was awarded of the 57th Janpaith Award, India’s highest literary honour, in 2022, and also the coordinator of the festival.

General Ian Cardozo, the hero of many battles, whose experience and narration of the achievements of the Gurkha Regiment he belonged to during the wars, was insightful.

Artist Nirupa Naik at work
Artist Nirupa Naik at workGomantak Times

The General concluded his narrations with, “No one understands the value of life, unless you have lived in the shadow of death” which was thought-provoking.

Nobel prize winner, Abhijit Banerjeewho researched on why the poor remain poor, in five countries including cities in India, and finding solutions for this malady, was also present.


Many authors and poets, who I have written about and interviewed in yesteryears, were conspicuous by their absence, as was the general norm of the artists of Goa displaying their paintings. However, artist Nirupa Naik, composed the painting unveiled at the inaugural ceremony.

Nirupa was the only female, among the first batch of students when the Goa College of Arts, Panjim, was incepted in 1984. Over the years, her oeuvre has been inspired by childhood memories and decorative elements.

She is a much sought-after artist, with numerous solo and group shows around the country to her credit. 

Artists are inspired by numerous personal experiences – social, political and environmental issues – and it was a Sanskrit sloka (translated to ‘Knowledge makes a man humble; from humility comes success; and success generates wealth and happiness to human beings’ – that inspired her to compose this painting.

“Painting is like a book, it extends knowledge, provokes various thoughts and perspectives for the viewer,” says this versatile artist.

The faces of children strategically superimposed, is a message of the importance of imparting knowledge from childhood. The mukut (crown) on top of the picture of a white figure, signifies success and respect from society that knowledge will give them.

The white figure is Saraswati (the goddess of knowledge), the diya (oil lamp) in her palms, the light of knowledge.

There are many symbolic references in the composition of the painting, in soft pastel shades and bright colour palettes of blue, interspersed with pink on the border. Intense textures and detailing signify literature, which covers all forms of still and performing arts, poetry etc.

The superimposed script on the right in English, is self-explanatory, while a poem composed by Nirupa in Konkani on the left translates to:

Draw the picture draw the picture.

Colour it with humility.

We toil and cover our hands with paint and soil of the earth.

We don’t get too excited, but keep the smile line on our face.

We don’t judge people who are rich or poor, big or small in social status.

We are artists; we keep drawing, keep painting.

The above mentioned inspirations are forms and crisp sounds to the expression of her painting.

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