Giving Navelcar’s work its due place



Fundação Oriente and The Al-Zulaij Collective will be holding an exhibition titled Goa/Lisbon/Mozambique: The Many Lives of Vamona Navelcar from December 12 to January 12, 2018. A book with the same title will also be released and several of its contributors will present aspects of the artist’s life and work.

This exhibition displays 16 pieces that speak of the life and legacy one of the most prolific and important contemporary Goan artists, whose studies and career took him to various locations in the Lusophone world, namely Goa, Portugal, and Mozambique. Vamona Ananta Sinai Navelcar´s life was impacted by a larger circuit of cultural, political, social and economic influences which in turn is a perfect example of the complexity of Goan identity. In this sense Navelcar’s art is representative not only of his personal genius, but also of a larger Goan reality.

Too often, Goans of note are celebrated only in retrospect, but not within their lifetimes. It is important that such genius be critically studied and analysed, and this ideally should happen from within Goa. It is with this intention that The Al-Zulaij Collective (AZC) conceived of this exhibition and the companion book Goa/Lisbon/Mozambique: The Many Lives of Vamona Navelcar, edited by R Benedito Ferrão. The book contains a series of essays on the works to be displayed at Fundação Oriente in Panaji, as well as articles previously published. This edition intends to provide new light on the artist’s fascinating life and work and its similarities with a wider Goan identity so often forgotten.

The opening event will include the participation of some of the contributors to the book and researchers who study Navelcar’s work. Apurva Kulkarni, Jessica Faleiro, Karishma D’Souza, R Benedito Ferrão and Savia Viegas are a few among them.

The Al-Zulaij Collective are a group of scholars and professionals who believe that Goa has been a part of many ‘worlds’, and that these culturally enriching encounters are now being deliberately forgotten. ‘Project Vamona’, of which this exhibition and book are a part, is an effort by AZC to recover this heritage.

The present exhibition and companion book are part of a wider project that seeks to archive and preserve the work of the Goan artist Vamona Ananta Sinai Navelcar. His art not only chronicles history, but also serves as commentary on Goa’s complex identity. The importance of preserving and exhibiting this artist’s work resides in the general lack of recognition of Goan art in the South Asian canon. While it is clear that such prominent painters as FN Souza and VS Gaitonde are heralded in India, one must note that such attention has not only come posthumously, but invariably as a means to fold their contributions into a homogenizing Indian art history. The Al-Zulaij Collective hopes that this project will reverse this tendency and give Navelcar’s work its due place.


(The exhibition ‘Goa/Lisbon/Mozambique: The Many Lives of Vamona Navelcar’ will be held from December 12 to January 12, 2018 at Fundação Oriente in Panaji.)