Reliving Fonseca’s art

The artist, who Indianised Christian Art, Angelo da Fonseca, will remain in the pages of art history of not only Goa, but also of the world. The Xavier Centre of Historical Research, Alto-Porvorim, has now organised an exhibition of 40 selected paintings of eminent Goan painter, Angelo da Fonseca.

Recently the exhibition of Angelo da Fonseca’s paintings titled, “The Passion and Glory’ was inaugurated by the Consul General of Portugal in Goa, Dr António José Marques Sabido Costa. It was then followed by a panel discussion on the life and works of Angelo da Fonseca. The panelists included writers Victor Rangel-Ribeiro, Damodar Mauzo and artist Viraj Naik.Victor Rangel-Ribeiro in his address spoke that Christianity didn’t come to India because of Portuguese but was evident even before that. He also lamented the fact how the artist Jose Pereira was chased after they realised he was painting frescos in Angelo Fonseca’s style in a chapel in Mumbai.
Damodar Mauzo brought out an interesting point that Indianisation is not new to Goa. He supported this with an example of the 16th century poet, Krishnadas Shama, who wrote Ramayana and Mahabharta in Konkani. “In his Ramayana you will come across local names of villages in the Sita-abduction scene. Also when Sita drops her ornaments to form a clue trail, all ornaments were given local names. It is a way localising art and bringing it closer to the social and local culture. It also changes with time,” said Mauzo. Regarding Angelo he added that he will not term him a Christian artist but someone who belonged to humanity. He also informed that Angelo was a good friend of Goan poet, Bakibab Borkar. “They shared similar ideologies and were both nationalists,” he added.
Mauzo concluded by hoping that the State Museum at Old Secretariat will give Angelo da Fonseca due respect and space. Artist Viraj Naik then discussed Fonseca’s painting style. The event was curated by artist and writer Savia Viegas.
(The exhibition will remain open from Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. till May 10 at Xavier Centre of Historical Research, Alto-Porvorim).