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Vamona Navelcar, Wikimedia

Panaji, April 30, 2017: Popular but reclusive Goan artist Vamona Navelcar’s painting of Portugal’s most popular poet Fernando Pessoa, will be Goa’s gift to Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa when he graces the 30th-anniversary celebrations of Lisbon’s Casa de Goa.

Navelcar and the Portuguese Premier’s father Orlando, an accomplished writer and poet himself, have shared a common passion for Pessoa, says Goa-based Marius Fernandes who is organising an art festival to celebrate the works of the 87-year-old Goan artist.

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“Orlando once came to Vamona’s house in Pomburpa (a riverside village in North Goa). And there he did a portrait of the Portuguese Prime Minister’s father, with the latter’s back to the front. His father loved it and took it back to Portugal with him,” says Fernandes, who is also in charge of facilitating the transportation of the Pessoa painting to Lisbon.

Fernandes said that apart from the painting, Costa would also be presented with a Goan ghumot — an earthen percussion instrument with stretched hide on one end — which is unique to Goa.

“Two things are going to the Portuguse PM on May 6. Pessoa and the Goan ghumot,” Fernandes said.

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Costa during his visit to Goa in January this year had said that he felt “proud visiting my father’s land”.

“This visit is strongly emotional for me. My father went to Lisbon but never left Goa because Goa never left him,” Costa had said then during a civic reception accorded to him in Panaji.

The painting will be formally presented to Antonio Costa on May 6, during the 30th anniversary celebrations of the Lisbon-based Casa de Goa, a cultural centre which has been promoting ties between Goa and Portugal for the last three decades.

Portugal colonised the western Indian state for 451 years, before Goa was liberated by the Indian armed forces in 1961.

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Navelcar, one of the few artists across the globe, whose body of work has been influenced by his experiences in Goa, Africa and Portugal, will also be publicly feted on May 1 at the Great Goan Art Festival scheduled to be held in Panaji.

Known for his pencil, water-colour and charcoal paintings, Navelcar has been exhibiting his works from 1962.

His first exhibition was held at the Palacio Foz in Lisbon before he participated in solo and group exhibitions in other parts of Europe, Africa and India. During his stint in Africa, Navelcar also undertook a teaching assignment.

Virtually living a reclusive life in the serene Pomburpa village, Navelcar has twice received the Gulbenkian fellowship in his early days as an artist and his famous painting ‘Angoch Woman’ has received an award at the International Exhibition of Art in Monte Carlo.

“Strangely, despite his accomplishment abroad, very little is known about Navelcar’s life in Goa. The aim of the festival is to create a sense of awareness about the great artist, who has preferred to live the life of a recluse in Goa,” Fernandes said.

A short film on the life of Navelcar will also be released during the Goa event, and an open painting competition will be held. (IANS)


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