Goan portrait artist and sculptor Sanjay Harmalkar maintains that colours on the palette and the songs of noted playback singer, Mukesh, are his two passions. And these two things will reflect prominently during a special function to be held at the Institute Menezes Braganza (IMB) hall on August 27, to celebrate the 60th birthday of this artist.
Harmalkar, who is also the chairman of the IMB has done many portraits of prominent people including Goans, which number over 2,000. A special three-day exhibition of his portraits will be inaugurated on August 27, which will display 40 to 45 of such creations. In addition, ‘Vyaktirang’, a coffee table book including 71 pictures of his portraits and around 40 articles on him will also be released on the occasion.
Senior artist and former principal of the Goa College of Art, Datta Navelkar and the present principal of the institution, Mahesh Vengurlekar will also be present for this special function.
A special attraction of the function will be musical tribute to Mukesh, organised by Golden Touch, Ribandar, wherein Harmalkar will himself sing five songs – two duets and three solos – of the celebrated singer, followed by presentation of Mukesh melodies by other singers. “Mukesh is my favourite singer and he died on my 17th birthday,” said Harmalkar, recalling the day in the year 1976, when Mukesh had passed away in the US.
Reminiscent of his childhood, Harmalkar stated that his father, who made Ganesh idols during Ganesh Chaturthi, was his primary inspiration. “And then when I went to New Goa School in Mapusa, the drawing teacher called Sutar inspired me to progress in my field,” he said.
“When I decided to seek admission at the Goa College of Art, which was then located at Miramar, the first person I met outside the college premises was the then principal of the institution, Laxman Pai,” said Harmalkar, adding that Pai inquired with him, if he had the fee for the college. “I said yes to him, but then I needed `3,000 to get admitted to the institution,” he said.
As luck would have it, the chapel in his village needed ‘The Last Supper’ mural at its altar, and the work came to Harmalkar. “I agreed to complete the mural for `3,000 and straight away brought paints and brushes from the Mapusa market,” he recalled, adding that during the second year in the college, he lost his father and had to work on part-time basis as a painter to complete his education.
“Today, I want to see the Goan artists rising to the highest level and am making all efforts for it through the Institute Menezes Braganza,” Harmalkar said, while also informing that since the last seven years, he conducts painting workshops at the IMB, twice a month, with live models for the artists.
The accomplished portrait artist till now has made portraits of many well-known personalities including Lokmanya Tilak, Bal Thackeray, Atal Behari Vajpayee, Bakibab Borkar, Prasad Sawkar, Sharada Sawaikar, and Suresh Amonkar among others. He has also donated many of such portraits to the IMB.
“Presently, I have 40 eminent Goan personalities on my list,” said Harmalkar, adding that he has to complete their portraits as soon as possible. “For me, time is running out and I have to catch the moments, which are still with me,” he said.