Stories that "Landscapes" tell

Landscape artists present their vibrant art, encouraging artistic expression in others
Artwork (L-R) by Uzma Khan, Girish Gujar and Sandesh Gaundalker
Artwork (L-R) by Uzma Khan, Girish Gujar and Sandesh GaundalkerGomantak Times

Fr Carlos Luis SAC

Art in Goa has been rendered a blow due to the pandemic. Norman Tagore Fernandes is among the few courageous artists to take on the curation of two art exhibitions during this time. One happened in July this year and the other, titled Landscapes, is taking place currently at Thomas the Potter, Fontainhas, Panaji. 

Landscapes features six prolific landscape artists: Dilesh Hazare (retired art teacher), Girish Gujar (landscape painter), Marcio Fernandes (gallery officer at the London National Museum of Science), Sandesh Gaundalkar (art lecturer), Sunil Kakodkar (physician) and Uzma Khan (pharmacist).

Norman Tagore is a figurative artist and loves to draw with black ink on paper, a quicker way of expressing oneself artistically. He considers it an act of prayer, creating a doorway to peace for the world.

He is an accomplished graffiti artist as well and has worked on several outdoor murals reflecting a strong pop art influence. After having participated in solo and collective exhibitions, Norman felt he had to carry the baton and curate an exhibition to provide an opportunity to young artists with budding careers. 

Marcio Fernandes' watercolour painting brings to mind a scenic village square.
Marcio Fernandes' watercolour painting brings to mind a scenic village square.Gomantak Times

When asked about the inspiration behind the genre selected, he says, “I used to follow the Facebook page of Dr Sunil Kakodkar called Medicine for the Soul. He used to post watercolour landscapes regularly on his page. I guess it was this page that inspired me to organise this exhibition of landscapes.” Norman loves tribal and prehistoric art and is an admirer of the photographer Larry Clark and painters Picasso, Modigliani and Manaku.

According to Dilesh Hazare, any visual, be it on canvas, paper or a striking scene in nature that pleases our eyes and evokes joy, is a beautiful piece of art. He further articulates, “Visual art is categorised in different forms such as abstract, semi-abstract, realistic portraiture, landscapes, etc.

So, accordingly, the message is delivered to the viewer through the painting. Sometimes the drawing speaks louder and sometimes the colour. It depends on the story of the artist and the interpretation of the viewer.” Dilesh is attracted to the simplicity of the artists Richard Schmid and David Leffel who use the right stroke in the right place. He states, “Simplicity is the most difficult part of a painting, which takes years to get on canvas.”

Artwork (L-R) by Uzma Khan, Girish Gujar and Sandesh Gaundalker
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If there is anyone who represents Goan culture and historical heritage, it is Girish Gujar through his inexhaustible landscape art. He says, “Everyone needs to respect our history, and all these structures, whether buildings, houses or religious places, are technically part of it.” He is fascinated by the impressionist painter John Singer Sargent, John Pike and Alvaro Castagnet for their watercolour art.

Marcio Fernandes captures the essence of monsoons in his paintings. Quite poetically, he describes his process, “Other than being an artist, I also love fitness. There were days when I used to go to Miramar bay for my cardio workout, which I used to enjoy more in the monsoons.

The trees moving with gusts of strong winds, birds hiding in the bushes, lovers taking shelter from the rain, fields soaked with rainwater and the swaying of coconut trees on my way back home provoked a feeling that enabled me to paint the experience.” He takes Francis Newton Souza and his life of struggle as his inspiration. 

Dilesh Hazare's intense encounter with nature depicted in this painting.
Dilesh Hazare's intense encounter with nature depicted in this painting.Gomantak Times

The houses painted with monochromatic colour schemes by Sandesh Gaundalkar bring forth in us nostalgic emotions. He says, “I just paint because I like it. And I am passionate about it. I paint houses because I have childhood memories of different houses.

I am attracted to old houses. Many visitors who come to the exhibition say that they remember their own house when they see my paintings.” He is inspired by the bold approach to the watercolour painting of the Dutch painter Rembrandt and the mood depicted by contemporary realist watercolour painter Joseph Zbukvic.

For Dr Sunil Kakodkar, painting is parallel to meditation. He says, “Meditation is a state of ‘no mind’. There are methods of meditation, but the main essence is being aware. When I paint with watercolours, I have to be aware all the time of the water on paper, the quantity of pigment on the brush, getting the composition right and the time frame needed. I become absorbed in the process, focused only on the painting, and that helps me calm down with nothing else going on in my mind. I feel happy and relaxed with the outcome.”

Having no professional training in fine arts, he learnt the art by reading and watching videos of famous artists and practising consistently. He narrates that he made mistakes but never became disappointed and never shied away from learning from them. 

Artwork (L-R) by Uzma Khan, Girish Gujar and Sandesh Gaundalker
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Uzma Khan believes that every landscape has a story to narrate. She states, “For me, it’s the essence of the place that matters a lot. If you see some old houses that I paint, it's because I know that there has been a past to this place, there have been memories and I wish to preserve them in the form of my paintings.” She is motivated by Milind Mulick, a Pune-based watercolour artist.

The artists exhibiting at Landscapes collectively urge up-and-coming artists to never give up and paint as their passions dictate.

The exhibition will be open till 30th September 2022, 11 am to 7 pm, at Thomas the Potter, Fontainhas, Panaji, Goa.

(The writer is a priest belonging to the Society of the Catholic Apostolate (Pallottine) and currently the Mission Secretary of the ABVM Province, Bangalore. He comments on literature and films that mirror life.)

Artwork (L-R) by Uzma Khan, Girish Gujar and Sandesh Gaundalker
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