Goa to have country's first 'Beer Museum'

Panjim, Mar 3 (IANS): India’s first ‘Beer Museum’, spread across 6.000 square meters, is all set to open its doors in six months in Goa.

Being set up by artist Subodh Kerkar, the man behind the Museum of Goa (MOG), the new space will house works of contemporary art in response to beer history, not to mention 365 days of beer festivals while connecting bars and restaurants.

“I have created a new methodology for museums. I have been working on this project for the last 10-15 years. Normally, any museum has old artefacts with labels, sculptures, and weapons, used to narrate the history. But in my museums, nothing is old. It is just contemporary art in response to Goa’s history and culture and even the 'Beer Museum' is a response to it. It has a very interesting history,” he says.

Kerkar, who participated in the recently concluded Goa Open Arts festival, emphasises on the importance of holding more such festivals.

Stressing that most people continue to feel that contemporary art is for the rich, considering many of them are in five-star spaces.

“They are essentially business spaces, thus not interested in getting school kids and non-buyers. Common people are scared to press the bell of a gallery. So, it is paramount that people get a chance to connect with art, and the Goa Open Arts festival which is about contemporary art facilitates that.”

Agreeing that it is tough to financially sustain independent festivals, the artist says it has always been a challenge.

“A lot of things keep happening in Goa, which is a positive sign. Artists do get approached for participation. I recently got a call from someone who wanted me to participate in an exhibition related to astrology, imagine!”

Talk to him about new developments at MOG, and he says it is constantly changing and has been conceived not as a storehouse but as a laboratory of experiences.

“We are always adding and subtracting works. It is a hybrid of a gallery and museum, and there are also works for sale. We also buy artwork and have kept a budget for that each month. Although I founded it, but it is now run by my daughter," he says.

Even as there is a constant exodus of artists from across the country to the coastal state, Kerkar asserts that it is not just artists who are settling there in huge numbers.

“Goa is basically inside every Indian. I went to Calcutta recently and on the Hooghly River, I heard someone announcing - this is almost like a Goan cruise. This place has always been equated with fun and frolic. Someone was asking me about Portuguese houses here, and I told them they are Goan ones. Eventually, you can call them Delhi houses,” smiles the artist.

Feeling that a massive number of people from other areas has enhanced the culture of Goa, like all cultures, Kerkar points out, “There is nothing called pure culture, and they are in a constant state of migration. They will continue to change, globalisation started long ago and there has always been an exchange happening. So much of what we eat today has come from somewhere else. In my lecture, ‘Food against Fanaticism; I argue that foods cooked by our great ancestors were ‘foreign’."

Pleased to observe a boom in art and literature festivals across the country, he feels there is no overdose. “Art must be an important part of life. That is what makes us human. We must always fight for civilisation and that is born from the womb of art. And there is right or wrong in art -- art takes you beyond that realm,” concluded the doctor-turned-artist.



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