Gomant Vibhushan Award 2015-2016, the highest civilian award in the state was presented by the Directorate of Art and Culture to veteran artist Laxman Pai for his contribution in the field of art on Friday at Dinanath Mangeshkar Kala Mandir, Kala Academy, Panaji. The award was presented to Laxman Pai by Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar in the presence of minister for Art and Culture, Dayanand Mandrekar; leader of opposition, Pratapsingh Rane; director Art and Culture, Prasad Lolayekar; and secretary Art and Culture, Daulat Hawaldar. Prior to the award presentation ceremony an exhibition of painting titled the ‘Tree of Life’ was inaugurated at the Kala Academy Art Gallery followed by an audio visual documentary on the life of Laxman Pai. The documentary traced back the journey of Pai from his birth to when he became a full-fledged artist.
The citation by the Directorate of Art and Culture signed by Chief Minster was presented at the ceremony by art critic Naguesh Rao Sardessai followed by the release of the brochure that narrates the life of Laxman Pai.
There is a saying that actions speak louder than words and synonymous to the phrase Pai too said a simple self explanatory sentence: “Life is like a flowing river.” He further thanked all the people who have been a part of his journey: “I would like to thank my uncle from Mumbai, Ramnath Mauzo from whom I refined my artistic skills, and he was a born artist and a musician. I would also like to thank Shaistah Thapar who identified my work and gave due recognition to my artwork. Finally I would like to thank Government of Goa and Directorate of Art and Culture for presenting me with this award.”
Speaking about how Goa although being small in size has produced many famous personalities, Parsekar said: “Each and every child is born with a talent/skill and once you identify and work towards making it your strength you can become successful. Such people have not only brought a matter of prestige for themselves but have also brought the nation international acclaim.” He also spoke about the works of Pai and about his contribution in raising the standards of Goa College of Art, Panaji in its pioneering years. “Pai has been successful in producing many artists as he was part of the Goa College of Art for ten long years,” said Parsekar.
Rane in his address expressed his gratitude and congratulated Pai for his contribution, he said: “I have known Laxman Pai since the time he was associated with the Goa College of Art. While Goa cannot forget the sons of the soil as they have contributed in making Goa known, we have to remember these people.” He further spoke about the project wherein the Adil Shah Palace at Panaji has been proposed to be converted into a museum of contemporary art. “The Adil Shah Palace can be used to showcase artistic works by the artists so that people can remember the sons of the soil,” he said.
Mandrekar in his address said that Pai has been presented with the highest state award for any civilian and is the fifth person to receive this award. He further expressed his joy over how the number of students interested in fine arts has increased over the years. “In the present times children have taken keen interest in fine arts and other forms of art which was not the case earlier,” he said.
(Exhibition of painting titled the ‘Tree of Life’ by Laxman Pai will be open for public viewing at the Kala Academy Art Gallery till December 11 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.)