Naguesh Rao Sardessai
Sonia Rodrigues Sabharwal’s exhibit of drawings and paintings- Amchem Sobit Ddaiz, is on display exclusively at the 46thInternational Film Festival of India, Goa and is a genuine a tribute to our forefathers.
The show has over thirty carefully executed works depicting pre Portuguese life and culture. Although a very rare attempt, she has done quite a satisfactory job of it. She has personally visited certain sites, conducted research at the museum and has spoken to folk practitioners, etc.
These works were executed a few years ago, after which they were on display at a private gallery for an extensive period of time and received rave reviews. The outset of the display has line drawings that exude an aura of an ancient era; Sonia has carefully infused hues, shades and tints that pictorially document the progression.
Acknowledging ones’ ancestor is the first step towards maturity and evolution of a human being into a cultured being. Sonia fits in well. “Long before the advent of the influence of any dynasties, the original gaunkars inhabited Goa and seeded the culture that later developed with rich traditions of sacred groves, sacred trees and the sacred anthill; which is the abode of Mother Goddess Santeri,” said Sonia, who takes pride in this reality and worked intensely to bring it to light through creative expression.
Very illustrative at times, Sonia is keen on spreading the message that was triggered almost two decades back. Working with a theatrical troupe based on the theme of displaying the glory of this land – mythological said to have been created by Lord Parshuram with a strike of an arrow – titled ‘Gomant Darshan’ that traced the history from the origin of this land to the situation then.
A dance-drama that she was a part of in the early nineties exposed her to the subject which was only expressed in this form several years later. Here, at the current show, Sonia has displayed a few of her extremely relevant works. Some pieces of work that should be viewed are her drawings of the ‘Hero-Stones’, also known as Viragals, these are a thousand-year-old repositories of information about the types of sea-going vessels that plied across the Konkan and Goan waters. These stones depict marine vessels used by the Kadambas and Shilaharas for defense and commerce and are in a way memorials of those who lost their lives. The drawings show the detailed study that Sonia has undertaken and successfully presented. Sonia excels in colours and the application of pigments. Each of her painting such as ‘Taranga’, ‘Romta Mel’, ‘Dhalo’, etc, bring her strenght to the fore. Sonia plays with picture space and dares to structure the composition with a bold approach. Large areas, at times are washed with monotones yet the space speaks a cohesive language. Primarily, each festival – Shigmo or Kaalo or Virabhadra – have been infused with rich hues and vibrant actions. Sonia has brought authenticity to each work. Sonia, a graduate in fine arts from the Goa College of Art, Altinho, has several solo shows to her credit. Her works have been diplayed at India International Centre (IIC), New Delhi; Galeria Vieira da Silva, Embassy of Portugal, New Delhi; Fundacao Oriente, Goa; Art Chamber, Goa; Ruchika Art Gallery, Goa and several others.
She has also participated in several group exhibitions and has been invited to attend art camps. Having received many state awards, fellowships and grants, Sonia is the proud recipient of ‘Yuva Srujan Puraskar’ in the field of painting from the Directorate of Art and Culture.
(The show will be on view till November 30 at ESG’s art gallery )