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To infinity and beyond

‘Beyond the Horizon’, an exhibition of recent works by artist, activist,and writer, Clarice Vaz is being organised by Xavier Centre for Historical Research and Goa Heritage Action Group. NT BUZZ gets more details about the art show


Having done a number of group and solo exhibitions, artist, activist, and writer, Clarice Vaz is back with her fourth solo show titled ‘Beyond the Horizon’, an art exhibition of her recent works. The exhibition will be inaugurated today, January 23, 5:30 p.m. at the hands of the chief guest Fr Joaquim Loiola Pereira at the Xavier Centre for Historical Research, Alto Porvorim.

Elaborating on what ‘Beyond the Horizon’ is all about, Vaz says that the horizon is the farthest limit of vision – the longest range where we can see. “We tend to think that nothing lies beyond. But then you move to the next point and you wonder if there is more and you start to imagine. As humans however, we all know that the horizon is not the limit or end to as far as one can see,” she says. Similarly, on a personal level, says Vaz, we think that the range of our interests, knowledge, experiences are all visible. “We get drawn into believing that these horizons in our lives are the end (an illusion). But all one needs to do is to walk over to the horizon and explore the unknown of what lies beyond,” she says, adding that our inner landscape is so vast and here we can latch on to new ideas until a whole new fresh vision unfolds – taking us on that journey to infinity.

And being a Christian, Vaz says that she was driven to paint a series of artworks to express her thoughts that in Christ there is no horizon, no range, just fullness, and this is the invisible boundary that reaches back and forth to infinity, or in other words eternity. “All things are created in Him and through Him we live. This is the basic message of my exhibition. In Christ there is no death but life – for our creator and creation unify. When you have died, after this death of ‘self’ you feel liberated, you express no fear, and enjoy the freedom which comes from beyond the cross and living fully in Christ through faith,” says the  Saligao-based artist.

All the new images for her exhibition are in the fluid painting style. “While doing a fluid painting I paint not only to create but to feel life itself. The ability to survive the obstacles in real life itself is equal to the ability to survive the challenges on canvas and that’s why when I’m done with a fluid painting I feel as if I’ve given birth, it is such exhilarating joy,” she says. And being a nurse by profession, she says she feels more comfortable using a syringe then a brush. “It’s a technique I’m perfecting and almost all my syringe works are bought.”

And for Vaz, nature is one of her favourite subjects to paint on canvas, and she derives lessons from it. “Watch a plant, animal or even the ocean and allow it to teach you acceptance and surrender and the meaning of living in the present moment. Nature itself suggests death (to self) as a condition to life. A forest is full of dead plants and leaves yet it is teeming with life. It just lives in the present moment,” says Vaz.

Curated by Lina Vincent, ‘Beyond the Horizon’ will have over 40 works on display and part of the proceeds of the sale of the artworks will go to the Xavier Centre as well as the Goa Heritage Action Group.

The inaugural of the exhibition will also see the release of Vaz’s book titled, ‘A Song for Saligao’, a visual story book (photographs with a story wrapped around it) and 95 per cent of the photos are taken by Vaz through her mobile phone or iPad. The book, which was first launched at the Goa Arts and Literature Festival 2019, is about the disappearing heritage and culture of her village – Saligao. It documents how Goa has changed especially in the last decade. And Vaz has already sold 250 copies of the book. “I do not have any academic credentials to flaunt. I’m a registered nurse/midwife by profession but as an artist at heart, I love to express my voice through writing short stories using simple language that comes straight from my heart, I sometimes write and realise it borders on poetry,” she says. “I’m enjoying expressing myself- chaotically.”

(‘Beyond the Horizon’ will remain open for public viewing from 10:30  a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. until January 26, Sunday at the Gallery, Xavier Centre for Historical Research, Porvorim)

“Clarice is a constant seeker”

In her new series of paintings, Clarice Vaz continues her investigation of life’s deepest philosophies and the mysteries of existence. Referring to the scriptures and the teachings of Christ, Clarice reaffirms her faith through the narratives she builds into her paintings. The imagery symbolises a fine distillation of concepts, as in ‘Genesis’, the multilayered dark universe opening up to reveal the organic burst of life; or in ‘Inner Flame’ that encapsulates the all-pervading omnipotent force of the Spirit through form and colour.

Frequently employing a language of abstraction, she encapsulates vast stories through swift portrayals in colour. Having developed a mastery over mixing hues both prior to and during application, she builds the canvas surface through rhythmic gestures of brush and tool, developing complex textures and grains. The techniques she uses also spring from a wide range of experiments that connect to her past profession as a nurse. In a work like ‘The Sanctuary’, meticulously constructed textures build dynamic movement into the central shape that radiates outward; while in ‘Canticle of Light’ a smooth finish refracts the light in a play of the glowing colours. ‘The Congregation’ reveals a device of representing multiple figures through strokes of paint, their differences blurred into unity; ‘Mirror Reflection’ casts the vividly coloured landscape against the purity of white, drawing the mind to contemplation on social and spiritual realities.

Clarice possesses a distinctive way of seeing and experiencing the world that is passed on to a viewer through encounters with her art. As perhaps described in the painting ‘The open door’, that signifies a bridge between the internal and external, the microcosm and macrocosm, the earthly and the divine – Clarice presents herself as a constant seeker, ever following the truths that lead her beyond the horizon.

-Lina Vincent, curator

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