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Painting India

Everything is an inspiration in India, believes Portuguese artist Miguel Barros whose exhibition ‘India in my Dreams’ is currently on display at Camões – Centro de Língua Portuguesa, Panaji



Miguel Barros may have travelled around the world. But it was his visit to India 31 years ago, that truly moved the Portuguese artist. “It changed the rest of my life. It worked in me like an awakening of my spirit and mind, and like a magical source of inspiration to develop and improve myself. The impact of this trip was so deep in my soul in an extraordinary and positive perspective, that I really think that I got a different vision about life and the meaning of all of it,” he explains.

Since then, he has done many projects and exhibits about India in Portugal. “India is something that I am always returning to in my work, born out of the desire to be close to the source that really changed my life,” he says. Twenty-three years ago, he had his first exhibition in Goa, and now he has returned with his new exhibition ‘India in My Dreams’. “Through my paintings, it is possible for me to materialise my dreams, and through colours, shapes, I am able to share my intimate view and feelings about India,” he says. Having first been showcased in Delhi, the exhibition is now currently on view at Camões – Centro de Língua Portuguesa, Panaji (Camoes –CLP) till March 16. It is jointly organised by Camões – CLP and Camões Portuguese Embassy Cultural Centre, New Delhi.

Women seem to make a regular appearance in many of his works. “Every time I think about India, the image in my mind and spirit is always a woman, a mother, a princess. Everything, even the views, the mountains, the forests, the rivers, the nature, it all feels feminine, magic, subtly, pure!” he says.

Although most of the works are done in vivid colours, Barros has also done a few in shades of blue and black thus introducing darkness to the frame. “This represents the two faces of life. We can only appreciate colours and vibrant energy if we know the other side, the darker side,” he says.

Barros has also worked with Indian textiles and mirror work in some of his works. “I think it’s always an interesting challenge to use materials which belong to the cultures and places where my project is based. It is like a skin surface that I have the privilege to paint on, and through the light and reflections build my colours and shapes,” he says.

While most of his works are done on canvas, Barros has also done a few paintings on tin plates. “Art should be served to everyone, just like a good meal. Art is a universal language and through art it is possible to reach each one. From my experience everyone can understand the message, even different cultures or languages. I believe that through art, we can reach all without frontiers or obstacles,” he elaborates on the idea behind using this surface.

Post the Goa show, Barros hopes to take the exhibition to Kolkata, Portugal, and Canada.


(‘India in My Dreams’ will be on view at Camões- Centro de Língua Portuguesa, Panaji till March 16. It is open to all.)

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