Exploring Goan heritage

Published By: 
The Navhind Times
Dated On: 
14th July 2019
Exploring Goan heritage

If you are an art lover, get to witness two unique exhibitions titled 'Unraveling Stories' and 'Layers' which will open on July 14 at Carpe Diem Gallery and Goa China Museum, respectively. The exhibitions organised by Indian Foundation for the Arts (IFA) in collaboration with Goa Chitra Museum will give viewers a chance to experience the museum's collection from new perspectives.

The two exhibitions ale a result of the IFA Archival Museum Fellowships received by curators Lina Vincent and Aparajita Bhasin, and which were introduced to enhance the capacity of the museum to reach out to an audience as well as to theorise the collections already existing. The fellowships were made possible with from Tata Trusts.

Unravelling Stories

Vincent, the curator of 'Unravel Stories,' has been working with engaged with researching their Goan roots and the context of preservation of material culture and social history. For instance, she has worked on exhibitions like 'Morphology of Archive' - connected histories of Goa, an international exhibition exploring the varied histories of Goa at MOG,
co-curated with Sabitha Sachi along with Subodh Kerkar (2016). She also
curated an exhibition for the Goenchi Mati Movement, with several artists showcasing work on the mining situation and its aftermath in Goa.

As part of this fellowship, she had to familiarise herself with Victor Hugo Gomes’ collection at Goa Chitra Museum, develop a plan for outreach events and workshops, and also actively engage the material so as to introduce it to other participants, like the artists invited to be part of the exhibition.

The exhibition 'Unravelling Stories; brings together the artworks of 12 artists who were invited by Vincent to engage with the Goa Chitra collection. The artworks are a result of their multilayered exploration of varied aspects of the material culture of the objects. While some artists have connected with experiences of identity and belonging, others have interpreted personal and collective memory, or developed commentaries on heritage, its loss and preservation.

Artists like Gadekar and Rajaram Naik have explored the notion of time and the living empathy of objects, while John A Pereira, Kalpit Gaonkar, and Clarice Vaz have explored collective memory and the loss of heritage. Kausalya Gadekar and Antara Mukherji identify with gender roles in the kitchen, and bring about different viewpoints on the aspects of cooking implements; Ramdas Gadekar, Sachin Naik, and Pritesh Naik mull on nostalgia and technological changes in our times, while the works of Yolanda Desousa,
Mekhlla Harrison, Inretti Pinto, Anjum Chaturvedi and Ekatelina Abramova (from the Goa Chitra Collection) elucidate notions of belonging and displacement, ecological grief, oral histories, philosophical connections of time and space.

Vincent has been interacting and working with many of the artists in the exhibition over the past years and is familiar with their work and their concerns - many of them are keen on the preservation of Goan heritage and communicate it through their works. Thus, she that it was a natural process to invite some of these artists to be part of this exhibition. "Secondly, a lot of them had never visited this museum, and it was a good way to connect them with the path breaking work that Victor has done over the last two decades in collecting objects and setting up the space," adds Vincent.

The presentation of the exhibition includes drawings and paintings, photography, multimedia installations, and documentation of the workshop engagements that took place at Goa Chitra. The exhibition also showcases works from three workshop s that Vincent had with students over the fellowship period.

In unravelling multiple stories, the artists and Vincent together have tried to draw attention to Goan identity: the land, her people, and a sense
of belonging that comes from learning to love her history and culture.

"The fellowship with Goa Chitra gave me the opportunity to further my explorations of local history and cultural practices," says Vincent, who
believes that contemporary art practices should go hand in hand with tradition and should feed off each other, as evolving creative systems. "Unfortunately we have a severe of categorisation and segregation that prevents the symbiosis, and alienates one from the other. The exhibition is a small attempt to bring together these ideas, for a public, that are already very much pan of the ecosystem," she says.

Vincent further states that in a way this particular project continues in some ways what Victor has already begun by inviting artists to residencies where they observe and create from experiences in rural Goa. A few of the artist’s work his collection are also part of the show like Mekhlla Harrison and Loretti Pinto.

(Unravelling Stories' will open onJuly 14 at Carpe Diem, Majorda and wul be display from July 16 to 19from 10 a.m. 7 p.m. 'Layers' will open on July 14 at Goa Chitra, and will be display from July 15 to 17from 9 a.m. to 6 pm.)


Curator of 'Layers’, Aparajita Bhasin, who works with Quicksand Design Studio and Unbox Cultural Futures Society, came across a shout out by the IFA for their Archival and Museum Fellowships in Goa with the Goa Chitra Museum late last year. Having heard a lot about the museum, Bhasin decided to visit it and understand the vast collection that was on display. “With my interest in visitor interaction and IFA's focus on public engagement this fellowship, it was an ideal combination to see if technological interventions in the museum would enhance the experience of the visitors" she says.

Over the course of the nine month fellowship period, Bhasin collaborated with Krishnan Ghosh from Quicksand Design Studio's Games lab and he created 3D models of select objects from the museum which then developed into a Virtual Reality (VR) experience and an Augmented Reality (AR) experience. 'Layers thus harnesses Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality to tell the story of the museums' artefacts with the intent to create interactive engagements with the Goa Chitra Museum's collection. Visitors to the museum will also have the opportunity to view a VR film which contextualises from
the museum in a surreal virtual world, and can play the AR mobile game set within the museum which intends to spark the curiosity of the onlooker.

"Tue exhibition will include a Virtual Reality experience, which can be viewed through the headsets on display, an AR based mobile game that will encourage the visitors to go on a treasure hunt of sons to find objects across Goa Chakra Museum and a compilation of the Zines created by children during the worW10ps that were organised with Samarpan Foundation for children from difficult backgrounds" she says.

As pan of Quicksand and Unbox Cultural Futures Society, Bhasin has previously worked on a project called Goa Heritage Project to explore Goan Heritage through immersive media. This project was supported by the Prince Claus Fund and the British Council. For this project, they developed Muse de Goa (mobile game), Panjim 175, a walking tour of Panjim (app) AR Architecture (Goan Architecture in AR), Narkasur VR, and water conservation comics. All these have been on display at the Serendipity Arts Festival 2018, Unbox Festival 2019, Museum of Goa, 2019 and at the British Council Library in Bengaluru, June 2019.