Top Draws

Samira Sheth lists 5 must-visit galleries on Goa’s burgeoning contemporary art map.

  1. Sunaparanta, Goa Centre for the Arts, Altinho

Perched on a hill in Altinho, Sunaparanta stands tall as the graceful custodian of the arts in Goa. The beautiful bungalow will charm you with its insight into Indo-Portuguese architecture and if browsing through the exhibition galleries or catching a scholarly workshop is not enough, you can just relax at the courtyard café Bodega and spot an artist or two.

Sunaparanta is a not for profit art centre, established through the beneficence of Goan industrialist Dattaraj V. Salgaocar. A little over five years old now, the Centre has firmly rooted itself in Goa’s art consciousness. Apart from an interesting selection of shows through the year, Sunaparanta’s annual show, reinvented this year as the sensational exhibition Sensorium, is also a highly anticipated event.

While the galleries are at the heart of the Centre, its expanding scope has created a fine network of artists, collectors, critics, students, curators and art lovers. Weekly film clubs and drama classes; art classes for kids, occasional Art Salons run by the author Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi, pottery at the ceramics studio, varied interesting workshops – there is always something happening here. Drop by for an immersive experience in art.

Top Draw: Widely recognized for its interdisciplinary approach to culturally inclusive art – Sunaparanta appeals to both the layperson and the scholarly.

  1. Gallery Gitanjali, Fontainhas

Raghu Rai’s works have been exhibited here among other famous names as well as a host of lesser known emerging artists. Gallery Director Miriam Koshy Sukhija is dedicated to promoting the arts in Goa. She has a good eye, an instinctive sense of what appeals to art lovers and is not afraid to take a chance on a new artist. She is also big on creating awareness about and demystifying art through a series of workshops, talks and interactions with artists and art lovers. Watch this space for some very engaging exhibitions. This is not your typical art gallery. Instead, you will find exhibition galleries sprawled across three heritage hotels – the Gitanjali in Panjim Inn and then across to the Panjim People’s and the Panjim Pousada. Be charmed by the gallery’s location in the midst of picturesque Fontainhas, Goa’s Latin Quarter. A wide variety of shows are on view – by independent artists as well as some produced and sponsored by the Gallery itself. A monthly Book Club and Film Club, a series of Art Appreciation courses, art tours for kids and even a recent evening of Indian classical music – the space welcomes artistic activity. Gallery Gitanjali is worth marking on your cultural itinerary in Goa.

Top Draw: A top notch reputation and sincere effort to promote artists across the board makes Gitanjali magnetically attract creative people.

  1. The Cube, Moira

When Sonny Singh opened The Cube last year all he had in mind was creating an appealing art space. A year and a bit later, he has transformed himself into a committed gallerist cum mentor; revitalized the sleepy village of Moira with his contemporary design of The Cube and brought an extremely professional hand to the somewhat lackadaisical business of showing art in Goa. Now, we have a planned annual calendar of shows; a dynamic art space that changes with every exhibition and an interesting inventory of catalogued artworks for buyers to browse. And of course, one of the most fundamental aspects all galleries must have but sadly ignore– professional lighting that allows each work to truly bask in its display. There is a studio available for artists to create work on site so that artist and viewer feel more connected to the space. The Cube carefully chooses and cultivates a roster of fresh talent and encourages the use of new and diverse media. An artist and architect himself Sonny says, “I want to bring in more new art, old art is boring.” And so the gallery presents a dynamic program of innovative art as well as a film program during the monsoon when the art shows are still under production. A small café is in the planning stages. The Cube has transformed itself into a place for creative athering where people can come in, linger and fully experience the space.

Top Draw: A cutting edge world class gallery committed to fostering new talent in art and design – The Cube has quickly become a hub for fresh creative thinking.

  1. Subodh Kerkar’s Museum of Goa, Pilerne

Prominent artist Subodh Kerkar has injected new life into the Pilerne Industrial Estate with the bright, vast industrial chic Museum of Goa or MOG, which means love in Konkani. Subodh has been working for the last six years on a subject close to his heart – Goa’s history. These years of painstaking work culminate in the opening show at MOG in September 2015. Goa’s Histories is a major two-part show which presents works by Subodh and a curated exhibition of works connected to Goa’s history by about 30 artists. With his finger on the global art pulse, Kerkar has often rued the lack of a museum of contemporary art in Goa. He says, “Goa is such a major tourist state and we don’t have enough art activity. There are so many museums all over the world but not in Goa where one can view works of contemporary artists. Contemporary art is the new Gothic, the new language of the world. I want a space where works of Indian artists are presented to the curators of the world. There is also almost no public art. What is there is of very poor quality like at Goa’s airport for instance. I call that ‘garbage art’. Engagement of art should be taken to the common man.” MOG’s huge interiors encourage the creation of stunning large format works and installations. The Museum combines a program of curated art shows and a permanent gallery of noted artist Chandrakant Kerkar’s works with documentary screenings, performances, lectures, art tours, residencies, retreats, workshops and more. Viewers will be charged a small entrance fee to gain access to the multi-storied space that also boasts an Art Museum shop and a sculpture garden.

Top Draw: Practically the only place to gain an insight into Goa’s history through contemporary art – MOG is love personified – love for the arts and love for Goa.

  1. Carpe Diem, Majorda

Carpe Diem was born of the desire to have more creative activity in Goa. Tired of people only looking at standard career options young Goan Daegal Godinho seized the day to found an art centre in his ancestral property in South Goa.

Carpe Diem has slowly evolved into a centre abuzz with cultural activities serving the community. The art gallery has held a number of successful exhibitions including the largely sold out show of established artist Mohan Naik as well as those of Suhas Shilker, Viraj Naik and more. Something of an artistic coup was Carpe Diem hosting an exhibition of blockbuster international artist Hesham Malik, who has occasionally sold for as much as 1.2 USD million in the international market!

The ambitious gallery now seeks more national recognition by organizing art auctions across the country in Mumbai, Pune and Delhi. A café and an art store keep people walking in to see what’s on next whether it be an exhibition, a workshop, a performance or a class. A new ceramic studio, bigger exhibitions and unusual art courses and workshops are being planned so watch this space and seize your artistic day!

Top Draw: A gorgeous heritage space, a well curated fun art store, wholesome café and an exciting line-up of events, exhibitions and activities for all ages.

Text: Samira Sheth

Pics courtesy: The Cube Gallery

For us at Planet-Goa, our team is driven by that feeling of exhilaration that one gets when discovering that something ‘unique’ and ‘new’ about Goa for our ever-so-discerning readers.

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Author: Planet Goa Team
For us at Planet-Goa, our team is driven by that feeling of exhilaration that one gets when discovering that something ‘unique’ and ‘new’ about Goa for our ever-so-discerning readers.

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