Discover Your Inner
Artist with Carpe
Iris C F Gomes
Situated in the scenic locale of Majorda, replete with old worldly charm that takes you back to the Portuguese era, is Carpe Diem-The Art and Learning Centre. It is far removed from other modern art galleries in the cities. The centre was the result of a thought process that sought to explore and gauge those talents and sense of adventure that often remain concealed in individuals, sometimes even for a lifetime. Daegal Godinho, who runs the centre, believes he is lucky to have been able to break out of the mould and take full advantage of his talents. He decided to institute a centre where people could engage in self-discovery and reach out to other talented persons too. He says, ‘Hence, Carpe Diem! Carpe diem, which popularly translates into “seize the day”, is exactly that. It is the place for those who need to discover, explore or exhibit their passion!’
Daegal Godinho comes from an educational background far removed from the arts. He holds a graduate degree in Microbiology and an MA in Sociology. His yearning to work with people led him to the Sangath Centre for Child Development and Family Guidance. Gradually, he added to the varied roles he had by becoming the IT guy and systems administrator. As his interest in technology grew, he shifted paths, joining a local computer solutions provider. After answering his Microsoft exams (MCSE), he relocated to Dubai and found employment in the IT department of a property development firm as a systems administrator. He returned to Goa almost six years later to follow his passion of theatre and examine the nuances of fine arts, and the performing arts.
In naming the centre he faced a dilemma. He had trouble choosing between his family name, since he has used his ancestral house as the premises, and a Konkani name, as using this would allow the centre to gain local acceptance. In the end, he was inspired by his theatrical background and the movie The Dead Poets Society which has the phrase ‘seize the day’. This was also the title of the first play he had seen in college, one that had prompted him to join The Mustard Seed Art Company. He felt a Latin name, Carpe Diem, was sufficiently alien to intrigue the population.
It has all the elements of typical Portuguese architecture with a high wooden ceiling in the main hall and balconies embellished with shell doors. The centre has over 120 feet of running wall space for exhibitions. Apart from the area that makes up the art gallery, there is ample space in the landscaped backyard to provide a suitable environment for learning experiences in creativity. There are other rooms that serve the purpose of holding workshops and housing visiting artists and faculty. The premises also include a mini-amphitheatre that has seating space for over sixty. The centre also has a café where the creative-minded can sip coffee, read a book or paint a ceramic piece to take home, and an art store carrying artwork, unique souvenirs, art material, handicrafts and accessories.
It was quite an effort setting the wheels in motion for this idea of an art centre to come to fruition. Daegal Godinho knew little about art galleries and lacked the technical know-how of running an art gallery cum learning centre. Here artist friends came to the rescue, helping out as they could. The other hurdle was making the public aware of the centre and keeping it open. It took more than a year of creating activities and workshops to stabilise the standing of the art centre. ‘We are still trying to keep the place alive with activity, but it’s getting a little easier now,’ says Daegal.
Carpe Diem has had at least eight shows since its opening in 2012. These have been solo as well as group shows that have showcased upcoming as well as renowned artists from Goa and other states. British artist Gillian Keightley, who has painted over a hundred murals, exhibited her fine work at Carpe Diem. Her collection comprised of waterscapes and landscapes inspired by her village, Frampton on Severn, and the village of Betalbatim. Gautam Benegal, whose talent was aptly recognised and utilised at age sixteen by celebrated director Satyajit Ray for his magazine, Sandesh, has exhibited his paintings here. The Calcutta born artist had a series of paintings about the soft corners and spaces of Bombay and the people who inhabit them and in a way complete the great city. Goan artist Mohan Naik enjoys acclaim on the national and international circuit. His paintings of idyllic scenes of villagers have been shown at the art gallery of Carpe Diem too. Visually impaired artist, Stacy Rodrigues is also among the artists who have presented their art here. Daegal says, ‘This event touched the hearts of all the local people around as Stacy Rodrigues is a resident of Betalbatim.’
Apart from the art exhibitions, there have been a myriad other programmes held at Carpe Diem. There was a month long summer art camp called Pencil Line, for aspiring artists, by Rajendra Usapkar. This was done to emphasise the pursuit of fine arts as a serious career. The people in South Goa were taught the basics of sketching and shading, using various media. Their dedication to learning was rewarded with a certificate and a formal exhibition of their creations. A four day ceramic workshop was held by Nandini Datta where people were introduced to pinching techniques, coiling, slab techniques, and painting and preparing the work for glazing. The participants experienced the therapeutic benefits of playing with clay. There are ongoing art classes held three times a week by commercial artist and interior designer, David Fernandes, who believes that art is an exercise for the mind. The children enjoy absorbing knowledge about drawing, sketching and crafts. A sitar recital by Ustaad Chhote Rahimat Khan and friends when Carpe Diem was barely three months old added a musical dimension to the art centre.
Besides these events, Carpe Diem has had yoga classes conducted by Seby Akkara, book reading sessions for children conducted by Jugneeta Sudan, candle making workshops by Melanie Vaz, cupcake decorations by Emily, theatre workshops by Alfwold Silveira, a broken tiles mural and cold ceramics workshop by Ramdas Gadekar, a drum and rhythm workshop by Xisto Pais, A nutrition seminar by Ryan Fernando from Qua Nutrition, a drum circle event by Music Matters, creative workshops from waste products by Tara Trust, photography sessions, a film screening, kid’s ‘art’ birthday parties where art activities are organised for the kids, graffiti and creative writing and more. The classes and workshops are especially aimed at the local people and youth.
In 2012, from the 18th of November to the 25th of November, an event called Hands for Children was held at Carpe Diem. It was an exhibition of a collection of paintings, which were the result of a workshop held at Carpe Diem in association with The Mustard Seed Art Company for their play Those Ragamuffins. These were the creative output of select Goan artists such as Rajendra Usapkar, Salvador Fernandes and Viraj Naik. The proceeds of the sale of the paintings were donated to Positive People, an NGO working for the cause of HIV+ children.
The art centre has come a long way in a short time. Carpe Diem will continue to buzz with activity during the months to come with self-defence classes for women, creative writing workshops, ceramic workshops, book reading sessions for kids and adults, candle making classes, etiquette classes, glass painting classes, cooking/ baking classes, theatre workshops, gardening workshops , seminars on fire safety, administering first aid, career guidance and motivational speaking. There will be a Christmas bazaar on 20th of December from 11 am to 4 pm, enabling the local people to display their creativity during the festive season. The centre is striving to do its best to make a difference in the lives of the people of Goa by stirring up their artistic sensibilities.
For further information, contact:
Daegal Godinho- 00 91 8888862462, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rashmi Chittal- 00 91 8888862420, email@example.com