Do you know who is Goa's forgotten painter?

A book entitled 'Fonseca' and an art exhibition intend to throw some light on Goa's forgotten artist, Angelo da Fonseca, his life, work and alienation
Artworks by Angelo da Fonseca
Artworks by Angelo da FonsecaPICTURE COURTESY: Xavier Centre of Historical Research

Born in St Estevam in Goa, Angelo da Fonseca was not merely a painter, but a creator of native Christian iconography. He was said to be the pioneer of the Christian cultural renaissance in India. Over the years, the contributions of the great painter have been largely forgotten.

This year, as we commemorate the 120th birth anniversary of Angelo da Fonseca, a book entitled Fonseca will be launched. Exhibitions of his work will be held at various places across Goa.

Artworks by Angelo da Fonseca
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Book launch & exhibition

Architecture Autonomous and Gerard Da Cunha will unveil a dummy of the book Fonseca by Délio Mendonça. It will be unveiled at the hands of the Archbishop of Goa and Daman, Filipe Neri Ferrao on June 10, 2022 at Club Harmonia, Margao from 6.30 pm onwards.

And, On August 6, 2022 it will be released at the hands of Yesonda Dalton at Central Library, Panjim from 6.30pm onwards.

The exhibition will feature 126 prints, in actual size, of Fonseca’s work, which are featured in the upcoming book. The originals of the prints displayed belong to the Xavier Centre of Historical Research Goa, Porvorim, and the ‘Jesuitenmission’ Nurnberg, Germany.

About the book

The book Fonseca has been authored by Délio Mendonça, a priest born in Beira, Mozambique. He is also the author of the seminal Conversions and Citizenry: Goa under Portugal 1510-1610 and currently teaches History of the Church at Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome. He talks about Angelo da Fonseca's contribution to art and religion.

At the same time, he delves into the life and art of the master modernist, how the artist brought in a blend of the East and West in his work, along with the Goan style, can also be traced in the book which Mendonça has written.

The book is a journey of the artist, and brings forth the reasons for his themes, skill and technique, while focusing on colonial rule in the background; the rule which changed various dynamics of the political, social and cultural scenario of the country.

We also get to learn how this artist got internationally acclaimed, and at the same time, began to be marginalized, in the country, from art history and modernism as critics focused on the subject matter, rather than the formal elements and social message.

One can glance through photographs of his work in order to understand the paintings and the artist's mindset.

Artworks by Angelo da Fonseca
Goa's Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao to receive the prestigious red hat

About the painter

Fonseca was born in the year 1910 into a well-to-do agriculturist family. He left a prestigious grant of Medical College, Bombay, to pursue his passion and love for art.

He went on to study at the college of JJ School of Art, Bombay, and then moved to Bengal, where he received guidance from Rabindranath, Abhanindranath and Nandalal Bose. He gained skills and made his way to Goa.

Later on, his paintings got introduced to Herr Sepp Schuller, conservator of the Catholic Museum at Aachen, Germany, who acquired some of his famous paintings.

He has painted a series of canvases on religious themes. The series includes the Creed, life of Christ and His Mother Mary.

Angelo is known to paint Passion scenes, descent from the Cross, etc.

Exhibition Details

Club Harmonia, Margao: June 10 - July 2, 2022, 10.00am to 8.00pm

Central Library, Panjim: July 8 - August 6, 2022, 10:00am to 8:00pm

Artworks by Angelo da Fonseca
Want to know how artists interpret the Covid-19 pandemic? Find out here

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