Gauri Gharpure profiles five young and promising artists from Goa. You can see their works at the end of the article
Foraying into the field of arts is replete with equal amounts of creative freedom and struggle. In this article, we outline the journeys of young artists from Goa who have not only won numerous awards and exhibition participations to their credit but also dare to challenge stereotypes through their innovative interpretations.
Bhisaji Gadekar: FICA Emerging Artist Award winner
Bhisaji Gadekar has become a familiar name in the Goan art community in a relatively short period of time, thanks to his immense versatility with media as well as his prolific output. He has recently won the Emerging Artist Award from Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA) in collaboration with Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetica. A sculptor using performance arts to convey visual delights, his favorite media are clay and the human body. “In fact, one is but the other,” he says. His intimate connect with his chosen modes of expressions comes from childhood memories of playing in mud during the annual ‘Chikhal Kalo’ festival celebrated in Marcel in south Goa. What’s more, Bhisaji declares that he uses the body as his canvas in his performance pieces and this passion has clearly shown in his creations.
Akshay Chari: Showcased installation at the Kochi-Muziris Bienalle
Akshay Chari is currently pursuing his Masters in Fine Arts at Hyderabad and a significant achievement was an installation at Kochi-Muziris Biennale called ‘When the mountain falls.’ Born into a humble family of carpenters in the highly remote and southern-most tip of Goa, Canacana, one of Akshay’s favorite mediums is wood. At this stage, he says he is facing many stark realities but sometimes great ideas arise out of confusions and constraints. “Art is helping me to evolve emotionally,” he says while mentioning the financial struggles he and his family faced in the pandemic. Despite the challenges, Akshay has shown grit and has been quick to adapt; his journey is an inspiration to many young artists.
Nishant Saldanha: Working with the funny bone
Nishant Saldanha is a filmmaker, an independent comic maker, a photographer, and a fine artist and he dons all these roles with equal passion and dexterity. Mr. Good Guy, a cartoon character created by him that has gained quite some traction, evolved during his undergraduate days when he was studying filmmaking and interning with The Cartoon Network. Humour is his favorite “medium” as far as fine arts is concerned. “The message may not be funny but humour allows one to put across complex ideas,” he says. He is currently engrossed in Goa-centric work that allows him to better explore and understand his roots. As part of several projects to build archives in Goa, he has most notably photographed old shops in Panjim and has documented the artefacts of Museum of Christian Art.
Diptej Vernekar: Found a place in Forbes under-30 artists list
Listed in Forbes 30 under 30 of the artistic community, 1991-born Diptej Vernekar is not shy about exploring different media and loves to collaborate. He sees his current work as a Masters’ student in Hyderabad as an experiment to gain perspectives and to sharpen his learning curve. Rather than one defining moment that shaped his approach, he shares that a series of experiences, including ups and downs, influenced his style and choice of subjects. He keeps going back to his Goan roots; decorative floats paraded during the carnival constitute his major inspiration. “Always look at your past and find pieces of you again because the only thing unique is you,” he says.
Gaurang Naik: From still life to weathered tiles
Gaurang Naik used to focus on still life during his undergrad days in Goa but his choices have evolved to landscape and the interplay between humans and nature during his current Masters’ programme in Baroda. For the past six months, he has been working with weathered Manglorean tiles to depict the issue of rampant mining in Goa. “There is a certain algae that grows on these tiles and when it dries, it has the look and feel of coal. I am etching drawings on these tiles to relate to the crisis back home,” Gaurang says. He is planning to showcase this work for the Annual Masters’ Display coming up in two months.