BY NAGUESH RAO SARDESSAI
“The artist must train not only his eye but also his soul”, thus said the influential Russian painter and art theorist, Wassily Kandinsky.
For Shivanand Pandurang Khedekar, coming from a priestly family from Savoi Verem and settled at Harvalem much before the Liberation of Goa from the Portuguese, training the soul was a genetic trait he inherited.
His recently concluded one-man show, organised by Aastha, at the Ravindra Bhavan, Sanquelim, exhibited this trait putting across the amazing oeuvre he is capable of.
Academically trained in the execution and appreciation of art from the Goa College of Art, Shivanand was inculcated in the art of seeing through his soul since his childhood. Soaked in the family tradition of mastering the ancient omnipotent knowledge of the Vedas and the Upanishads, Shivanand’s taste in the arts developed whilst observing his mother scribble various rangolis and religious drawings and patterns on walls and floors during various festivals.
Goa Art College equipped him with technical skills, which made him an artist to reckon with, even though he remained largely incognito and deliberately shunned publicity. Consistently practicing art with passionate enthusiasm, alongside his priestly callings that consumed a lot of his time, Shivanand never lost focus.
He paints with charismatic zeal at the call of his subconscious. Spiritually oriented, he admits to being guided by higher forces during his creative process. A chance meeting with an unknown devotee at the entrance of a temple at Mangaon in Maharashtra, who referred to him as an artist, triggered a wave of creative surge that led him to paint Lord Datta Maharaj in multiple forms and moods.
The show at Sanquelim had over fifty works of his art on display that was executed in acrylics, oils, fiberglass and other mediums. A large fiberglass mural denoting the Sun God formed out of cascading waves and sinewy fishes overwhelmed and pulled one into the exhibition hall.
A great believer in fulfilling his social obligations, he identifies young talent and nurtures their creativity. A set of six prints of one of his single painting have received a coat of paint from a collective of school students, giving his original art piece a child-centric character besides boosting the morale of those aspiring artists.
A voracious painter, art for Shivanand is ‘sadhana’ or meditation that he is ever immersed in. Art for him is the medium to spread the message of universal brotherhood. Every creative process of his is an attempt to explore the force of life that is assimilated in the five basic elements – earth, water, fire, air, and space. The Hindu’s propitiate these elements and several mantras are incanted as a form of offering. For Shivanand, these are a constant source of energy and inspiration. Obviously, each of his paintings are peppered with mantras and inscribed with ritualistic symbols. Several of his works are a series of a single religious icon draped in multiple forms and developed into an independent imagery.
Proficient in different genre, Shivanand enjoys dabbling in crafts as well. Shivanand worked in Government of Goa’s Design and Development Center as a technical assistant before quitting it to carry on his father’s legacy of priesthood. Besides showing his works through several group shows at noted art galleries, Shivanand has been instrumental in designing for tableaux representing Goa for the Republic Day parade in New Delhi for which he has received awards.