Tuesday, July 25, 2023

"A Postcolonialist in Colonial Williamsburg" in eTropic (July 2023)

A Postcolonialist Walks into a (Low) Bar

I can only describe the person I saw on the other side of the street as being straight out of Dickens, his long nightshirt unmistakably at odds with the broad daylight. His ensemble was completed by a nightcap that drooped sadly to one side, slumpy like his gait and the workworn expression on his face. It had already been a challenging first day on the job. Surely, I must still be jetlagged I thought to myself, having only recently decamped from the settler-colony of Australia for the eastern shores of settler-colonial America as a then-itinerant postdoctoral scholar of postcolonial literature. Nevertheless, a fortnight hence, I saw the man again, this time propping up the bar at the pub a colleague had invited me to for an after-work drink. It was light outside, but the glum chap was still wearing the aforementioned nighttime garb and, on this occasion, his floppy cap—echoing his lethargy—threatened to fall into his beer.

Concerned about why this apparition continued to be visited upon me (surely I could not still be jetlagged!), I whispered to my new workmate: “Please tell me you also see the strange man at the bar?” He took a quick look and shrugged. “Probably works down the street.”


“You know, at Colonial Williamsburg. They do reenactments of the old times. You know, early America…”

No, I did not know.

They had left that part out during the video interview. Undoubtedly, this is something a postcolonialist should have been made aware of before they took the job. But then why had said postcolonialist not been clued in from the name of the town: Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia?

(Re)Colonial Williamsburg

While the question above is central to my pedagogy and scholarship, it also informs (as it is informed by) my own residence in the American South. New to the region, I continually ask myself what it means to be in the midst of a settler-colonialist project (as I will explain) while being a postcolonialist with investments in transoceanic/continental literary and cultural studies. In what follows, I aim to demonstrate how these various vantage points bear continuities. Likewise, in participating in this special journal issue, it is with the view that the present decolonial turn cannot be construed as a new phenomenon. Rather, postcoloniality’s reading of anti/coloniality must be seen as the elements from which a contemporary decolonial stance in the study of the tropics can be evinced.   

Of Williamsburg, its use of colonial drag/cosplay (as evidenced by my encounters with the bedgown-wearing Dickensian character), and the re-enactment of a supposed history of the beginnings of white(ned) America, its British origins are what are best known. Both named for English monarchs, the city of Jamestown in the state of Virginia (which commemorates Elizabeth I, known as the Virgin Queen) was America’s first British settlement, created in 1607. Later in the seventeenth century, Williamsburg (also christened for an English ruler) would take over as Virginia’s capital. Apart from claiming these lands for England, such naming practices also contributed to erasing Indigenous histories.

However, the town bore the destructive wrath of the divisive Civil War of the 1860s. Famously funded by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Williamsburg’s reconstruction in the 1920s would bring about the Disneyland-like version that exists today. In part an effort to promote the republic, the repairs were also likely aimed at salving the wounds of the internal war. In Creating Colonial Williamsburg: The Restoration of Virginia’s Eighteenth-Century Capital, Anders Greenspan describes the “restoration [as representing] the glorious antebellum period that many Southerners longed to revive [, even if] … it might have been a ‘Yankee reconstruction’” (2009, p. 38). Similarly, for the rest of America, Colonial Williamsburg “would be preserving the values of the colonial era and with it the lure of the antebellum South” (Greenspan, 2009, p. 39).

This vision of a nation united, predicated on the simulacra of a re-enlivened past, is also markedly the coherence of an American identity that is white. Dependent on a remaking of the antebellum period, such nostalgia produces whiteness by investing in what makes that moment of American history distinct, and that is the ownership of enslaved Black people. Reenacting white supremacy as Americana, Colonial Williamsburg may gloss over the harshest aspects of the lives of the enslaved, but is still a tourist destination seeking to profit from parlaying some version of the pre-Civil Rights past. “The means and modes of Black subjection may have changed,” Christina Sharpe notes in In the Wake: On Blackness and Being, “but the fact and structure of that subjection remain” (2016, p. 12).

Yet, this is not to suggest that no resistance is sounded within Colonial Williamsburg itself. At this site and other historically sentimental ones, Native American, Black, and other “interpreters” of colour (as historical reenactors are known), attempt to reveal little know stories while “walk[ing] a corset lace-thin line between informing audiences and alienating them; between self-preservation and showcasing the vulnerable lives of minorities” (Barger & Davis, 2020, par. 16).

American Tropics

What I have offered so far is a decolonial reading of Colonial Williamsburg, one that surfaces the white supremacist engendering of the site via its links to a history of British settlerism. Even so, Virginia has an even older colonial history, and a pre-British one at that. Placing the region within a hemispheric nexus of trade, weather patterns, and geopolitical entanglements of the early modern period, one that involved the tropicsIberia, the Caribbean, and Latin AmericaAnna Brickhouse

[draws] from a series of Spanish colonial writings about a sixteenth-century Jesuit settlement on the Chesapeake Bay that was established in preparation for a Spanish attempt at colonization of the area. The archival record of this Jesuit mission exposes the fictionality of Virginia as the site of what the English themselves, first in Roanoke and then in Jamestown, often imagined as an originary moment of European-indigenous encounter. (2007, p. 19)

In identifying non-Anglo-American/non-English sources that narrate how Indigenous peoples resisted colonialism, Brickhouse challenges “the United States as the default center of the scholarly narratives we create” about the making of the nation (2007, p. 32).

By unsituating the United States as solely being bred of (and severed from) England, then additionally locates it within its tropical entanglements across oceans and continents. In other words, to tell America’s story postcolonially, what is required is a greater panoply of colonial-era sources, linguistically and geographically diverse ones. This work is incomplete without considering different forms of storytelling, oral and otherwise, carried by the marginalized. What are the overlaps, and schisms, between these chronicles? The work of decoloniality can be done more effectively in tandem with post/(anti)colonial legacies, ones that are as varied as they are illuminative.


Barger, J. and Davis, H. G. (2020, September 25). “Historical Interpreters Share their Side of the Story.” National Geographic. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/article/historic-interpreters-changing-the-conversation-about-race

Brickhouse, A. (2007). “Hemispheric Jamestown.” In C. F. Levander and R. S. Levine (Eds.), Hemispheric American Studies (pp. 18-35). Rutgers University Press.

Greenspan, A. (2009). Creating Colonial Williamsburg: The Restoration of Virginia’s Eighteenth-Century Capital. University of North Carolina Press.

Sharpe, C. (2016). In the Wake: On Blackness and Being. Duke University Press.

From eTropic: Decoloniality and Tropicality.

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

"Goa, the Tropical Lusosphere, or (De)Constructing Portugeseness Elsewhere" in eTropic (July 2023)

Signs of the Portuguese

It had not been the first time that Chief Minister Pramod Sawant had called attention to what he deemed the deleterious effects of colonialism in Goa. One of the longest held European colonies in the world, Goa was under the Portuguese from 1510 to 1961; the region’s violent annexation by post-British India may have ousted the Portuguese but also circumvented and denied Goan self-emancipation, resulting in an ongoing colonialism. Strikingly, in 2021, Sawant declared that it was necessary to rebuild temples allegedly destroyed by the Portuguese, so as to “preserve Hindu Sanskriti and Mandir Sanskriti (Hindu culture and temple culture)” (Express New Service, 2021, par. 6). Yet, a year later, despite exhortations by Sawant’s administration to “citizens, NGOs, and historians” to provide evidence of the destruction of temples so they could be reconstructed, Goa’s Department of Archaeology reported that none had been forthcoming (Kamat, 2022, pars. 3-5). Not to be undone by this lack of corroboration, this year, Sawant stepped up his belated anticolonial rhetoric. Again linking his retributive aspirations to his belief that the colonizers had destroyed Hindu temples, the politician declared at a public event that 60 years after their departure, “the time had come to wipe out signs of the Portuguese” in totality (TNN, 2023, pars. 1-2).

As someone with a Portuguese name from a Goan family, this gives me pause. Lusophonic familial appellations mark Goans of Catholic heritage, who are a minority.  The Chief Minister’s statement is chilling, because there is no mistaking what the postcolonial remnant “signs of the Portuguese” are: it is us. In what follows, I seek to demonstrate the political purpose of constructing Goan Catholic identity as “other” in the contemporary moment while also considering how Portugueseness, as it develops beyond the metropole and in the tropical lusosphere, is an explicitly Goan identity.

The Crossing by R. Benedito Ferrão, 2023.


The Postcolonial Other

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to which Sawant and his administration belong, is also the one currently at the helm of the Indian nation-state. Presently run by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the party’s Hindu-supremacist and right-wing authoritarian fundamentalist (or Hindutva) praxis has escalated in the first decades of the 21st century across India (Kalhan, 2023, 379). Resolved to establish a Hindu Rashtra (or state) in India (which already has a Hindu-majority population), India’s Hindu right has been supported financially by the diaspora (Kalhan, 2023, 338). In the meanwhile, contemporary postcolonial India, which is the world’s largest democracy ironically, has seen a rise in the persecution of minorities, including (but not limited to) Muslims, Dalits, members of tribal communities, and Christians (Hassan 2023). These subjects are regarded as impediments to the making of the Hindu Rashtra because of their identitarian divergence. As Saba Mahmood articulates it, minorities are those whose “difference (religious, racial, ethnic) poses an incipient threat to the identity of the nation that is grounded in the religious, linguistic, and cultural norms of the majority” (2015, 32).

Aligning himself with his party’s national politics around the creation of a Hindu Rashtra by advocating for “Hindu Sanskriti and Mandir Sanskriti (Hindu culture and temple culture),” Sawant’s crusade against remainders of colonial history execrates Goan Catholics, defined as they are by their Portuguese names. Simultaneously, such malignment of minorities has as much to do with religious chauvinism as it does with statecraft (or, perhaps, the deflection of its actual practice). As Vivek Menezes apprehends, the bogeyman of the Portuguese past is a “[distraction] in [Goa,] India’s smallest state, where governance has effectively collapsed ... Unemployment crested to nearly 17% in January [2023], and … remains double the rate of the rest of the country” (2023, par. 1). Evidently, the conflation of Iberian colonialism and Catholic identity in Goa functions as a convenient scapegoat. When Goan Catholicism is simply viewed as a product of Portuguese colonialism, one in which early converts are thought to have expressed no agency or choice, then Goan Catholics who continue to be of the faith postcolonially are easily construed as, both, colonial remnants (even apologists) and the other to a once-secular state that now hurtles towards exclusionary religious monolithicism.

Portugueseness in the Tropics, or Goan if in Goa

Although the roots of Catholicism in Goa may be pinned to the arrival of the Portuguese in South Asia a half-millennium ago, the religion has developed into a distinct regional form, one akin to, yet cleaved from, its Iberian likeness. Nowhere is this more tangible than in the construction of early churches in Goa by Goans. Builders of these churches imbibed European aesthetics from the sixteenth century on but remade them to employ locally sourced materials and for the edifices to endure tropical climatic conditions (Kandolkar, 2021). Moreover, such architectural developments were not solely discernable in Catholic church design, as domesticated European Renaissance influences even featured in Goa’s Brahmanical temple forms in the seventeenth century (Kanekar, 2018, 254). One wonders what Sawant might make of these signs of Portugueseness. In the case of churches, their displays of Goan domestications and reworkings of European built forms serve as indices of the localization of the faith and the instantiation of new ideas. Not just simulacra of Portuguese culture, they exist as their own manifestations of Goan ingenuity and agency within a colonial milieu. To state this differently, nothing in Goa, even if inspired by or contributed to by Portuguese colonialism, is Portuguese. In its tropical lusopheric form, it was and always will be Goan.


Express News Service. (2021, December 22). “Goa CM Pramod Sawant: Temples Destroyed by Portuguese Need to be Rebuilt to Preserve Hindu Culture.” The Indian Express. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/goa/goa-temples-destroyed-portugese-hindu-culture-pramod-sawant-7684509/

Hassan, Tirana. (2023). “World Report 2023: India.” Human Rights Watch. https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2023/country-chapters/india

Kalhan, A. (2023). Tipping Point: A Short Political History of India. Routledge.

Kandolkar, V. P. (2021). “Rain in the Basilica: Protecting Goa’s Bom Jesus from the Ravages of Climate Change.” ETropic: Electronic Journal of Studies in the Tropics, 20(2), 95–113. https://doi.org/10.25120/etropic.20.2.2021.3814

Kanekar, A. (2018). “The Politics of Renovation: The Disappearing Architecture of Goa’s Brahmanical Temples.” In Joaquim Rodrigues dos Santos (Ed.), Preserving Transcultural Heritage: Your Way or My Way? Questions on Authenticity, Identity and Patrimonial Proceedings in the Safeguarding of Architectural Heritage Created in the Meetings of Cultures (pp. 253-263). Caleidoscópio

Mahmood, Saba. (2015). Religious Difference in a Secular Age: A Minority Report. Princeton University Press

Menezes, V. (2023, June 25). “Hidden Truths.” O Heraldo. https://www.heraldgoa.in/Edit/By-invitation/Hidden-Truths/206619

Shweta, K. (2022, December 6). “There’s Still no Data or Inputs on Temples Destroyed during the Portuguese Regime.” O Heraldo. https://www.heraldgoa.in/Goa/There%E2%80%99s-still-no-data-or-inputs-on-temples-destroyed-during-the-Portuguese-regime/197734

TNN. (2023, June 8). “Time to Wipe out Goa’s Portuguese Signs: CM Pramod Sawant.” The Times of India. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/time-to-wipe-out-goas-portuguese-signs-cm-pramod-sawant/articleshow/100832346.cms?from=mdr

From eTropic: Decolonizing the Tropics.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

"The South Asian Catholic Aesthetic of Artist Angelo da Fonseca's Indian Madonnas" in Scroll (18 December 2022)

This year marks the 120th birth anniversary of Goan artist, Angelo da Fonseca (1902-1967). To commemorate the occasion, Savia Viegas has curated an exhibition titled Angelo da Fonseca’s Indian Madonna, which can be viewed at Goa’s Xavier Center of Historical Research (XCHR) between December 2022 and March 2023 (the exhibition is open from Monday to Friday between the hours of 10AM to 1PM).

In this interview, Viegas speaks to the themes of her exhibition, reflecting upon how Angelo da Fonseca created a South Asian Catholic aesthetic in his numerous depictions of the Madonna. His work, as Viegas notes, also bears the imprint of the social, political, and cultural influences of his contemporary moment, a time when Goa and India were going through much change at the end of European colonialism.

Savia Viegas is an academic, fiction writer, and artist who resides in Carmona, Goa. She has exhibited her work in India and Portugal. In 2003-2004, she was a Senior Fulbright Fellow. Her novels, Tales from the Attic (2007) and Let me tell you about Quinta (2011) have been taught in postcolonial studies courses at the University of Lisbon (MA in Translation) and William & Mary in Virginia, USA. Her research on artist Angelo da Fonseca was supported by a grant from India Foundation for the Arts in 2010-11. Subsequently, a Fundação Oriente travel grant to Portugal supported further research in 2017. The life and work of Angelo da Fonseca is the subject of her forthcoming book, which will be published in 2023.

RBF: This is the first time in several years that the works of Angelo da Fonseca have been exhibited publicly in his homeland after you had last curated shows of his art at the same venue (XCHR) between 2011 and 2015. Apart from the fact that this year marks the artist’s 120th birth anniversary, what led to this new exhibition on the theme of the Indian Madonna and the idea to pair the opening with a children’s art competition?

SV:  My journey into understanding the oeuvre of Angelo da Fonseca pitted me into several cul-de-sacs. But finally last year, the pieces began to fit together coherently, allowing me to understand his art and also how to stitch it into the larger quilt of nation, religion, and the world. Goa’s conservatism has had an inbuilt antipathy towards anyone who breaks the doxa of the habitus. Such individuals are branded as “fanfaraos” (braggarts) and often banished into exile.

Angelo da Fonseca had a penchant for the Madonna iconography. Depicting her in a sari after his return
from Calcutta, he relocated to Poona, pursued by an uproar of conservatism and fear that he would not be able to paint his choice of subjects in Goa. Most of his paintings are of the Madonna and of women.

For me, the borrowing, the variety and the specificity of this theme was really kaleidoscoping itself into an exhibition even before we began to move the frames.

His contribution to the Madonna iconography was most intense and ruled by many factors. Ivy Muriel da Fonseca (1928-2015), wife of the artist, said that Angelo was the last of seventeen children and lost his mother within a few years of his birth. Having been raised by his older sisters he had a special love for painting the mother figure. “I have painted the Virgin Mary in all her aspects,” he wrote, “from being the daughter of Santana to being the mother in Nativity and the Pieta as well as the Mediatrix of all Graces.”

I felt that the only way young people could absorb and absorb Angelo da Fonseca, was to engage them with ideas the artist worked with and so an art competition was decided on. It would help create a generation of children that were familiar with the work of Angelo da Fonseca. I must say the idea caught on very well among them.

RBF: At the exhibition, I was struck by a piece I had not seen before: Presentation of Mary in the Temple (1954) In it, a young Mary, draped in a ghagra choli (to show her unmarried status) and with a halo around her head, is seen on the steps of a temple, being gently thrust forward by her beatific looking mother, who is sari-clad. Speaking very much to the exhibition’s theme of the Indian Madonna, the painting brings together a confluence of religious and regional representations. How might we think of this and other works by Angelo da Fonseca as his contemplation of Goa, which was then still ruled by the Portuguese, as being on the edge of (and perhaps soon to be annexed by) newly independent India?

SV:  Angelo da Fonseca lived in various regions of colonial India for his schooling, right from the early years, exposing him to its cultural diversity and the rising ferment against colonialism.  He painted the joyful, sorrowful and glorious mysteries of Christianity, setting them in an Indian cultural landscape. Christian saints he depicted with Asiatic skin tones, but also clearly visible in many of these works was the political subtexts of events driving the polity and State in the contemporary moment of his work.

In Presentation of Mary in the Temple, an elderly Santana is leading Mary into the precincts of a temple. One sees the rope attached to the bell which announces the presence of the worshipper to the sacred place. The subtext clearly signifies Mother India leading Goa back into the fold of Indian culture. It is an uncanny parallel. The painting had been created in connection with the International Marian Year (1954) as his work was in great demand abroad. The dateline also coincides with the time of the tabling of the Indian Constitution in 1950 and the formation of states on a linguistic basis, as well as Goa’s own complex colonial status. 

Goa stood excluded from this great reunion and yet uncovered by the Constitution. It was only after 1961 and the liberation of Goa that the tiny enclave was able to be part of the Indian Union of States and Territories. Several cultural artistes had played around with this idea, albeit in differing ways.

For example, in 1964, Asif Currimbhoy wrote a play which was never performed in India at the time. The
play, titled Goa, deals with the Indian takeover of its namesake. The preface to the play references an encounter between the playwright and his friend Mario, the local Portuguese administrator who is proud of Goa and who praises a Goan village “nestling amidst green hills and valleys.” Then, the play opens on an evening setting where village “regulars” meet at the outdoor “patio” benches. Senhora Miranda, a fair-skinned woman of about forty, enters the scene, splendidly dressed in the latest Portuguese fashion with a colourful parasol in hand. She is accompanied by her nubile daughter who is both blind and deaf. The daughter is described as being “dark looking and about fourteen with a beautiful innocent face and a strange voice.” Intertwined in the personas of the mother-daughter duo are Goa of the colonial past and the liberated present.

RBF: Who is Angelo da Fonseca’s Indian Madonna? Is she a consistently represented icon throughout the works on display in this exhibition?

SV: No. A stylistic India-trotting best describes Angelo da Fonseca’s approach. His Madonna is an elite maiden in Annunciation (1954), but she is also an Andhraite working class girl in another work from the mid-1950s. These images, reflecting both the elite and the poor, in a sense address, both, rich and poor viewers.

His icons he posits onto the fertile cultural landscapes of Goa, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra, absorbing their cultural specificity and infusing it into his figures to create a new indigenous narrative for Christian worshippers in India. The Hindu, the Muslim, and the Catholic he absorbs in equal measure for, to him, they represent the diversity of India.

RBF: Stepping away from the specificity of this exhibition for a moment, could you comment on the artist’s place in the realm of modern art both in India and internationally?

SV: As a researcher I am loathe to take any positions that do not fit into my immediate research paradigm. I am just a researcher on the work of the artist. It is now for others to extend the frontiers of the debate. Angelo da Fonseca shied away from the term “modernist” and called himself “an iconographer” or “a practitioner of the Bengal school,” which was a revivalist school. Also, many of India’s art historians date modernism to the post-1960s.

Modernism is an art movement that critics and historians have identified, beginning with the realism of Gustave Courbet (1819-1877) and culminating in individualist and abstract art. It essentially has reference to the fragmentation of the human form in art with the rise of the new schools of dadaism and surrealism. The development of flight in 1903 and the invention of the atom bomb had also changed perspectives and ways of narration in art. The Vatican think tank did not want Christian images to be fragmented. After two World Wars, Europe had been totally devastated. 

Newspaper reports covering Angelo da Fonseca’s exhibitions in 1948-50 in England and Ireland reveal that Catholics expressed hope that Asia which would keep alive the sublime art of Christianity through its images. However, as Paulo Varela Gomes points out, in Portugal, his art was poorly received as Angelo da Fonseca had declared himself an “Indian artist” although he was actually born and raised as a Portuguese subject.

This was also the time when India was having acrimonious relations with Portugal over Goa.  Correspondence between Angelo da Fonseca and Fr. Henry Heras, S.J., and other important sources at the Vatican, show how they found it necessary to guide the artist to paint in the manner of Fra Angelico who carried on the tradition of the early iconographers. 

After he meets Fr. Heras, Angelo da Fonseca’s images undergo a transition and begin to look more and more like icons – images that are ethereal and not weightbearing and by the light of their features reveal that they mediate between the Earth and the heavens.

RBF: There is something to be said about the intersection of the theme of this exhibition, centered as it is on the iconicity of Mary, and the women in da Fonseca’s life, many of whom come to be represented in his oeuvre. What role did his late wife, Ivy Muriel da Fonseca, play in his legacy?

SV: Having known Angelo da Fonseca’s extended family in my childhood put me in a privileged position to make these connections of intersecting bonds between the iconicity of Mary, the women in his life, as well as the flow of events that finally resulted in the birth of the sovereign democratic republic of India. In Angelo da Fonseca’s oeuvre, the iconography of the Madonna varies from her as the daughter of Santana, as a young woman in Annunciation (1954), in Visitation (1954), in Flight into Egypt (1942), and as a mother in representations of the Nativity and the Epiphany.

Like Fra Angelico who inspired him, Angelo da Fonseca declared that he prayed before starting a painting. The artist often declared that he did not allow secular paintings or models to disturb his concentration of the holies. At another point he declared that it was not important who inspired the painting if the end result was to serve the purpose it was painted for. 

Right from his first watercolour of Guita Roy to numerous sketches of family members – nieces, cousins and friends, or working women from the street cultures of Poona – he worked incessantly, sketching and absorbing ideas. But he did also paint from memory for features of his family members in their young avatars, which appear in his works of the 1950s when these figures are already old. He paints an Irish woman Eillish Killean during his sojourn abroad.  Later, she appears as Mary Magdalene in his sorrowful mysteries series.

After his marriage in 1951, the long-haired sari-wearing Ivy Muriel became the perfect muse.  But we
have to keep in mind here that his journey to create a Madonna begins in the 1930s and he keeps adding and chipping away at the early configurations that he creates with the single-minded purpose akin to a sculptor with a piece of marble. 

His superb coloration and Botticelli lines would have augured him success even in secular salons, but he continues to paint Christian narratives and exhibit in humble quasi-religious settings. “Are these images for worship?” disgruntled friends ask. “How can we worship your wife as Mother Mary?’ To this he had a stock reply. “Do you think artists before me really painted the divine Mother?”

RBF: To date, there is no state-sponsored repository of Goan art available where the public can view the work of Goan artists in their own home state. How has this impacted the reception and legacy of Goan artists and how might efforts like this present exhibition remedy such a situation if at all?

SV: Yes, I agree about the lack of such spaces in Goa. When I was researching on Goa’s artists and writers
for a poster I was commissioned to do for the Goa Arts and Literature Festival in 2018, it was shocking to discover that several noted Goa-born artists spent most of their active professional lives in exile in other lands. Take the example of a few, such as
Francis Newton Souza, Angelo da Fonseca, Angela Trindade – the list, however, is longer!

On the other hand, Vamona Navelcar returned to India and to his natal abode in Pomburpa in Goa after several years abroad. He lived to regret his decision for he spent the remainder of his life as a prolific artist but somehow lived exiled in his red Matisse-ish home by the river.

More than a repository, there is an urgent need for an art- and literature-critiquing culture where, presently, the State as well as the education system both fail and fall short. As there is no demand, there is no repository and, hence, the legacy of Goan artists languishes in this limbo of neglect. In many ways, the role of Ivy Muriel da Fonseca to consolidate a public archive of her late husband’s works and keep it together is a brilliant example of how Goan artists’ works can be brought together, exhibited and, in doing so, it can enrich the understanding of Goa’s visual patrimony hereafter. I hope someone is listening!

From Scroll.