BY AUGUSTO RODRIGUES
Twenty-five odd monsoons back, when Dr Subodh Kerkar had lost his first son, the artist experienced catharsis through his paintings. Today, when he creates art, he says, ‘Art is the function of the brain, not a skill. You need to conceptualise.’
Subodh is one of the few artists from Goa, who while respecting the artistic space, is exploring its realms on a different plane. Each stroke produced by him tells a story of a life lived with joy and fulfilment.
‘For two years, I could not utter the name of my son without crying, and my way of coming out of this loss was to create new ideas and new art. At sixty-three I am of the firm conviction that learning never ends, and hence have been creating new kinds of work,’ says Subodh, as he is asked to take a walk down memory lane.
Brilliant in academics, Subodh moved from medicine to painting. He claims he ‘stopped painting because I realised they were average paintings,’ not sufficient enough to awaken the artist in him.
‘To be an artist, you have to shed old skin and develop new skin. One has to evolve and become a missionary of art,’ says Subodh, who founded the Museum of Goa (MOG) in Pilerne after he sold his art gallery in Candolim.
Like many artists, Subodh began as an atheist but has through his experiences with the nuances of life accepted the oneness of life with self and goodness.
‘Spirituality has disappeared and what remains is ritual. The whole world is one, and I am against the idea of “nation”. The idea of “nation” is barbaric,’ thinks Subodh, as he relays innocence through his smile.
‘The instinct to kill is criminal, and it is after reading the works of Mahatma Gandhi that I now know that I will oppose Modi and never hate him. We have to fight sin and not the sinner,’ expresses Subodh, while believing that there is ‘a lot of divinity in each individual’.
‘From an atheist, I have become a big believer. But, it is different from organised religion. God is a principle, not a person. I go to religious places to admire the architecture,’ avers Subodh, as he sips juice at the cafeteria in his museum.
‘Every human is a fellow traveller in this cosmic picnic where love is centric. I call myself a universal lover, through which brotherhood can be spread,’ elaborates Subodh, through whose museum the essence of Goa is captured.
‘Art is liberal thought,’ thinks Subodh, and it was this thought that drew him to politics or was instrumental in him joining the BJP at some stage of his life.
‘To be apolitical, is to surrender to power,’ explains Subodh, when explaining his tryst with politics.
‘Financial corruption started with the Congress, and it has been carried forward since. Corruption of the mind is something harmful, and trying to attack the constitution of India, frightfully explains this corruption,’ which is unacceptable to Subodh.
Subodh briefly describes his journey from medicine to art, ‘To empathise is the most important aspect of medicine. Eliminating suffering is part of God’s work and so is art. Life is given to us, and so we belong to us, and to internalise it is the function of art.’
‘My father was a sad man, but he showed me happiness; he had no dreams, but he made me dream; he was sick, but he made me healthy,’ says Subodh, describing the bond he sees between his past and the future for all children.
‘To be happy is the only purpose of life, and there is no other purpose. The money that I earn is the by-product of my passion,’ says Subodh, who after being appointed to the Chair of Mario Miranda at Goa University has begun translating his art through words.
‘Initially, I wanted to be the greatest artist in the world. Today, I have realised there is nothing about the greatest. You cannot give what you don’t have,’ opines Subodh, as he confesses his joy at seeing his new Beer Museum get ready in Parra.
‘There are many beer museums all over the world, but the one in Parra is going to be of contemporary art. It’s just that it has been called a beer museum,’ says Subodh.
‘I have dreams of having many more museums… an art and architecture university. I have many dreams, and it is through these dreams that I want to leave a legacy,’ says Subodh, whose motto in life is about surmounting all hurdles to achieve that ever-elusive emotional state called happiness.