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Goa: Artist Subodh Kerkar's Latest Offering to the Sea

Report and pics from daijiworld's special correspondent
with additional inputs and pics from official website

Panaji, May 3: Dr Subodh Kerkar from Goa has established himself as one of the most talented, internationally-acclaimed artist, painter, sculptor and photo installer.

The above are his latest installations at Majorda. The following are some of his earlier offerings.

His latest installations on Majorda beach are attracting a lot of people, providing them an opportunity to appreciate his creative ideas.

Kerkar says," I would like to think of myself as an ocean artist. Once I open up the space I work in and take my studio to the beach; the sea becomes both my muse and my medium. I am then one with the sea, the creator and the created, the mentor and the disciple."

When he digs trenches in the sand and light up the mussel shells on their edges, he feels he is offering homage to the sea. Whne he mixes glass with carts of used boats, he tires to evoke the boats' 'memory of the sea'.

"Glass, when lit, becomes water, solid turns into liquid, and within the womb of the boat, glass in turn remembers sand," he explains.

He uses very little man-made material in his installations. He uses them only so long as they evoke more primal forms and elements - the boat and water, glass and sand, metal and earth.

"In a sense, I paint my installations onto to the canvas - basic geometric forms and patterns: how the earth appears from a satellite, reduced to its essence - the dots and lines of human settlements, water and earth," he adds.

He is of the firm opinion that as the saint-poets once brought art to the people, away from the courts and made art of the people, today's artist too must create art in the world of the people, away from the galleries. His work must talk to them and their lives and memories must speak through his work.

To substantiate his philosophy, Kerkar concludes by saying, "My boat must remember the perilous journeys it has made, the carpenter's hands, the fishermen's songs, the impressions of their bodies on it surfaces. It must remember life in the sea and lives around the sea. My art then becomes a mnemonic device and through it I give back to the sea what is has given me."

What he further says about his installations:

My installations are my creations in partnership with the sea. The sea has always been my friend, my teacher ever since I was a little boy. The receding waves tickled my soles, and leaping waves made my mind burst out into numerous ideas. The playfulness of the waves and the mysteries of its depths nourished my thoughts.

The vastness of the sea permeates into my whole being. The greatest light effects are presented by great sunsets. The sunlight playing on the heart of the sea, creating dazzling ripples of ultimate caress. The seashore is the venue for the divine romance of the land and the sea. The sea is the greatest poet writing its poetry on the sand endlessly and as Tagore puts it, "Wiping it off over and over again".

As a little boy I built many sand castles and collected treasures of shells and pebbles. My installations originate in those activities. Every time I do an installation on the beach my bonds with the sea are reconfirmed, consolidated. The ocean has always been my theme in my paintings and sculptures. But it did not stop there. The sea dissolved the walls of my studio and the borders of my canvas. The sand, the shells and the pebbles became my medium. My installations are ephemeral like the writing of the sea on the sand.

The temporary nature of the installations gives them a playful character, a certain spontaneity. The installations present a continuous change, especially the ones with sand and light. Like the continuous change that I observe in the sea itself. The change in its colour, its tides.

The installation with mussel shells has a wonderful dynamism. You walk around it and it changes colours like a silk carpet. I am fascinated when I watch the constant change in my sand and light installations as the evening gets darker. The brownish shadows turn blue and as it gets completely dark one sees floating objects in a dark space. My installations continue to surprise me. I learnt to create installations on the seashore. Unknowingly like a Dronacharya, the sea has been my Guru. I offer my installations to the sea as a 'Gurudakshina'.

About the artist

Subodh Kerkar, born in Goa in 1959, received his initial art education from his artist father, Chandrakant Kerkar. By the time he was 15 years old, Subodh could paint masterly watercolour landscapes, which he exhibited in local galleries in Goa.

Subodh was student of merit throughout his high school education and took admission at the medical school at the age of 18. As a student, he was a regular illustrator and cartoonist for local and national newspapers. After completing his medical studies in 1983, Subodh ran his own hospital for six years in Goa before giving up his medical profession for his passion, visual art.

For the last 20 years, Subodh Kerkar has been a full-time practising artist experimenting with different media. He lives and works in Goa and is a founder and director of the Kerkar Art Complex, founded in 1992.

(Report coordinated by Richie Lasrado from Mangalore)

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