Currently down in Goa, Solomon Souza, grandson of Goan modernist painter, late FN Souza, is all set to create murals of Goan icons as part of the Mundo Goa project for Serendipity Arts Festival 2019. NT BUZZ spoke to the artist
RAMANDEEP KAUR | NT BUZZ
Art is something he grew up surrounded by. Indeed, as a child, Solomon Souza saw his mother (FN Souza’s daughter Keren) and grandfather (late FN Souza) painting and thus, Solomon says that “art engulfed him and there was no escape”.
Born and raised in London, the 25-year-old has been living in Israel for the past 15 years and for the first time ever he is in Goa to paint around 30 Goan icons as part of the Mundo Goa project for Serendipity Arts Festival 2019 which will be held in December.
The artist has been invited by the curator of the project Vivek Menzes and over the weeks will paint murals on walls across Panaji and neighbouring villages, to honour unsung heroes of Goa from the past (starting with his own grandfather) and the present. “The idea behind honouring unsung heroes of Goa is that just like many things, the passage of time buries many important stories and lessons that we must learn. If we don’t shine light on them and shake off the dirt to reveal them, we may be unlucky to repeat mistakes or not learn important lessons that must be learned,” says Solomon.
Research for the project began as soon as he decided to come to Goa. “I started investigating a little bit but now that I am here I can fully immerse myself in the history and stories that we want to tell through the project. There are many people that need portraying so we are open to suggestions,” he says.
And Goa, being his ancestral homeland, Solomon says that everything about this land is fascinating to him. “I felt right at home when I stepped out of the plane. I felt that I have walked this road before many times. Everything about here is beautiful, the colours and flavours, the architecture and the people,” he says.
Having lived in Israel for many years, his art, he says, is more influenced by Israel than London. “I used to do spray painting earlier since I grew up in East London in Hackney Wick which is full of graffiti art and abandoned buildings. So I took graffiti aspects from London but I am sure a lot more influence in my art is from Israel,” says Solomon. And while he loves to paint on “anything and everything”, Solomon is partial to murals and canvas painting and prefers spray paints, rollers and oil paints.
“My grandfather is a major artistic role model in my life and he paved the way for me becoming a modernist painter,” says Solomon, who has fond memories of the late artist. Sharing one such instance, Solomon recollects: “I was around seven or eight years old when after one of his successful shows, he took us out to a French restaurant. I had difficulty eating a snail in a shell. I remember him laughing and helping me open it up so I could eat it.”
And Solomon feels it’s a great responsibility to continue the Souza legacy and accepts that he has a lot of family pressure to live up to. However, he says that it seems to be clicking together in its own time and pace and it feels right. “It is my honour and my privilege to carry his name and his paint brush,” he says.
(Those interested in offering their walls or space in public areas for the paintings or suggesting icons who deserve to be featured, can contact email@example.com.)