Curated by Ranjit Hoskoté, an ongoing exhibition of contemporary Goan art is one of the finest in living memory, says Sonia Faleiro
But for how long will these children of Goa remain at home, their state of ironies, where people come to retire from work but not to work; a place to which strands of contemporary Indian art are traced but whose influence on the national art scene appears non-existent? Much has to be done: an active gallery system is necessary, as is curatorial involvement, so young artists can feel mentored while remaining independent of the throng of their metro counterparts, whose submergence in Page 3 culture is financially advantageous but inevitably encroaches on the isolation serious artists cherish. Unless these talents are nurtured, Goa will continue witnessing its migrations, and this will impact not just its contemporary culture but also those who desperately wish to shape it. Shrugs Gosavi, whom Parthan sees as a rising star along with Viraj Naik: “The transition from Goa to Mumbai or Delhi will be a natural one. The Goan art scene is changing, but slowly.”
by Vidya Kamat
Just how slowly is summed up by Mayenkar Naik, who says that before meeting Hoskoté she didn’t know what a curator was. B. Naik, who won the Goa State Art Award in 2006, points out that it took Aparantã for gallery owners outside Goa to recognise his work. Viraj Naik, however, isn’t waiting around. The most prominent of the young artists — with multiple state awards, shows in Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata, and a solo show scheduled for Mumbai this June — he has, along with a few friends, started an artists’ collective in the industrial town of Vasco. “There are no government facilities for artists, or studio spaces available in Goa,” he explains. “One can’t always travel to another state. It’s so important for me to educate myself in universal art trends and to be aware of my artistic environment, so it made sense to create a space where artists work and interact, and can meet their counterparts from across India who stop by when they’re holidaying in Goa.”
Naik’s is the sort of initiative Sanjit Rodrigues, md, Goa Tourism Development Corporation — who conceived of what will now be seen as a landmark art camp — can relate to. “Art is an important cultural aspect of Goa,” he says. “But it took Aparantã to show Goans what a top-notch art show is; to explain the need for a quality catalogue, lighting and curatorship. People asked me when I’ll be taking Aparantã out of Goa. But artists like Viraj Naik, Pradeep Naik and Siddharth Gosavi now have gallery owners coming to them at home, in the state.”
And that’s something Hoskoté can certainly take credit for.