Creativity, connections, conversations: How artists collaborate and share perspectives on diaspora identity
Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 670 posts, we featured art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festival, telecom expo, millets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.
The Museum of Goa recently wrapped up a month-long exhibition titled '0832', which celebrates the creative spirit of the Goan diaspora (see Part I and Part II of our coverage). The museum also hosted a children’s art exhibition, A World Of My Own.
In our third photo essay, we showcase highlights from these exhibitions and other works in the museum. See our earlier coverage of the Goa Affordable Art Festival here and photo essays on the 2022 and 2019 editions of the Serendipity Arts Festival in Goa.
For centuries, the Goan diaspora has made its presence felt across India, the Middle East, Europe, and other parts of the world. Visions of the homeland, culture, and even the chances of return are part of diaspora identities.
These are some of the themes underlying the recent exhibition '0832' at the Museum of Goa. The exhibition opens a portal for self- and collective exploration, and invites larger conversation inspired by the personal and collaborative works of the artists, according to curator Wendy Amanda Coutinho.
Such diaspora identities are continually negotiated, developed, and evolved over generations and geographies. Families and communities have reflected on what it means to be Goan–back home and in their new adopted homelands. Technologies like the internet and social media have built online communities for the diaspora and the artist community as well.
“My favourite international art festivals are, undoubtedly, Documenta and Venice Biennale! The sheer scale and setting are what make them so special,” Wendy says, in a chat with YourStory.
In terms of international art fairs, she cites Art Basel and Art Basel Hong Kong. “It is an opportunity for galleries and institutions not only to represent talent but also to represent a culture,” she describes.
“We don't have to look that far as well, with Kochi Biennale and India Art Fair that attract numerous art enthusiasts and collectors from all over the world,” Wendy adds. See YourStory’s earlier coverage of the Kochi Biennale, India Art Fair, Bangkok Biennale, and India Art Festival.
The artistic journey is full of ups and downs, setbacks and comebacks. “As in any field, within your journey, you need to remember that you're allowed to fail. There's beauty in failing and not getting it right; and sometimes, there is also beauty in letting it be,” Wendy explains.
She adds: “Art and life are very similar. Imagine not having learned any lessons at all if you get it right all the time. So be open to failing–failing forward!”
Wendy is also part of several simultaneous discussions around other curatorial proposals. “I am waiting for these conversations to fructify in terms of artists, dates, and locations,” she says.
Wendy offers a number of tips for aspiring artists. “To be able to create is a privilege and is bestowed on very few capable shoulders. Carrying the creativity baton is not easy but it is fulfilling,” she describes.
“We all need constant reminders, don't we? So practise, practise, practise. Focus. Be honest. Never give up on art even on the days when you are extremely unsure,” she urges.
Many artists have had a rough journey in their creative pursuit. “Your ancestors didn't have it easy, and neither will you. But I promise art will make it worth your while,” Wendy advises.
“It is also important to remember that commercial success is a by-product and not the end goal. Don't be afraid to share your journey with everyone,” she suggests.
Wendy signs off: “You don't know how many people you inspire simply by choosing art as your way of life!”
Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and find new avenues to apply your creativity?
(All photographs were taken by Madanmohan Rao on location at the museum.)
Edited by Swetha Kannan