History Hour 45 – “My Experiments with land art and public art in Goan context” by Dr. Subodh Kerkar held on Friday, August 22, 2008.

Dr Kerkar writes: “My journey as an arist began with painting classical watercolours of traditional canoes on Goan beaches. The realistic watercolours led to creating painting of small portions of the surfaces of boats with their divine textures. Then after that I  involved myself in exploring just the elliptical form of the boat and then one day I broke the walls of my studio, went down to the beach and started using the boat itself as my medium and the beach as my canvas”.

Dr. Subodh Kerkar (b. 1959) is a major contemporary artist in Goa. For the past 20 years he has experimented with different media espedially in the field of land art and conceptional art. Subodh gave up his medical profession to pursue his passion, visual art. At this point I would like to recall and compare with Subodh another outstanding Goan artist whose paintings you can see in the Museum of the XCHR after this History Hour. He is Angelo da Fonseca and the XC is planning an exhibition with Fonseca’s paintings in November/ December this year. Fonseca, described as “the towering lost modernist” also gave up a promising career in Medicine. Angelo da Fonseca left Goa to study art at the feet of Abindranath Tagore and his associates at Shantiniketan in the first part of the 1930 whereas Subodh never left Goa to study art but in spite of this fact he gained an international profile and became rich and famous.

Dr Kerkar began with paintings in water colours of traditional canoes on Goan beaches. One day, after his extensive experiments with the elliptical form of the boat, he decided to break the walls of his studio, and to go down to the beach and started using the boat itself as his medium and the beach as his canvas.” The walls of his studio and the border of his canvas could not restrict his creativity. Subhod’s creative spirit could be matched only by the nobility and dynamism of the sea. The sea became the theme in his paintings and sculptures.

His art work reflects Goa and he been deeply affected by Goa. Candolim beach is reflected in his work – it pebbles, shells, etc. His fascination for the sea has given birth to hundreds of paintings in oils and watercolours. His paintings invite the views to become part of creation and of humanity.

Subodh’s  installations invite the viewer to enter into a deep relationship with nature. His installations in Goa, Mumbai and abroad made him famous. He created amazing installation on the beach with great light and shade effects. But his installations invite us also to be more humane and compassionate. One of his installations paid tribute to the victims of he Tsunami. A huge number of used footwear was scattered along the shoreline to elicit solidarity and empathy towards the victims of the Tsunami. We are aware of he growing importance and attraction for installation art.

He is the most democratically appreciated artist and thousand come to see his installations and there is even a permanent installation by him at Campal. He is identified with Goa and is admired by many.

What is the highest price for a Kerkar’s paintings? Kerkar says: “There is no harm in commercialisation since for an artist it is the only means. It should be considered as any other profession. But the art should not lose it dignity” (Herald newspaper, Insight 4-03-2005, p.1)

He is also involved in the restoration of the Secretariat building, Panaji.

He lives and works in Goa and is the Founder of the Kerkar Art Complex, Calangute, founded in 1992. Dr Subodh Kerkar has more than 25 major shows to his credit. He is recipient of several awards.

Mr Subodh Kerkar
P.C. Wikicommons

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