For the past decade, I have been engaged with histories of Goa. Goa has had a very tumultuous past, with different empires presiding over her destiny, each leaving a mark on her chequered history. Though the influences of 450 years of Portuguese rule are most visible, many previous influences have survived the onslaught of time and can be traced to antiquity.
The ocean has also played an important role in Goa’s history. The waves that unfurl across the one hundred kilometres of Goa’s coast have not just carved and shaped rocks, but also ideas, dreams and narratives.
I became so fascinated with all these forces, as well as the stories that connected them, that unknowingly, history became a footnote to almost every work I created.
I decided to work on sculptures, drawings, paintings, installations, videos and documentaries in response to Goa’s histories.
Instead of presenting only my own works, I spoke to other artists and requested them to explore histories through their own works as well.
‘Gopakapattanam’, is the fruit of this collective endeavour. Apart from being an artistic exercise, it is also a unique pedagogical experiment of narrating history through a contemporary idiom.
The aim of the exhibition is to stir up histories, to dig into the recesses of historical archives, memory and celebrate the ‘connectedness’ of cultures.
I decided also to include paintings by my father, Chandrakant Kerkar, depictions of everyday life in the Goa of his youth. His work is a perfect documentation of the bygone days.
I am extremely grateful to all the artists who have agreed to be a part of this unique exhibition.