The Giver: A Call to Preserve Nature

Iris C F Gomes

The Giver is an art exhibition that will be held from the 16th to the 18th of March at Kala Academy, showcasing choice works by artists Clarice Vaz and Stacy Fernandes. The exhibition is a statement on the environmental exploitation that is rampant in these times, especially in Goa – we should be giving back to nature since she is the mother whose unconditional love nourishes us in a myriad ways. The paintings and charcoal sketches on display reflect the self-taught artists’ love for nature. The exhibition will be graced with the presence of cartoonist Alexyz as the guest of honour and Governor Mridula Sinha as the chief guest. Part of the proceeds will benefit the National Association for the Blind-Goa (NAB).

Stacy Rodrigues has proved her mettle as an artist who has overcome her battle with Stargardt disease, or juvenile macular degeneration, which causes progressive vision loss, to achieve the status of Goa’s only visually impaired artist, and presently, after the demise of Binod Behari Mukerjee (1904–1980), India’s only known visually impaired artist. She has come a long way from her first exhibition, Into the Light, which was held at Carpe Diem, Majorda in 2013. The multitalented Stacy is a poet as well, who has had a book of poems called Reflections published. She has represented Goa at the National Association for the Blind beauty pageant Princess of India (2017) and was crowned with the title of Miss Cordial.

Explaining the basis of the exhibition, Stacy says, ‘I’ve grown up with nature, and since technology and ‘development’ has taken over everything, I just do not feel the pureness of the air any longer. Nature has always been my greatest inspiration, for my art and my poetry. I wanted to give back something. That is what brought the thought of The Giver into existence’. Stacy will be singing one of her own compositions ‘Let’s Take a Call’ at the exhibition on the 16th of March. With her mellifluous voice, she will be rendering the message of halting the damage we are inflicting on the environment because in the end we will bear the brunt of our own destructiveness, as the lyrics state: ‘Before we fall/Let’s take a call’.

Stacy’s artwork, which comprises of charcoal sketches and some paintings, carries the same message of respecting and protecting nature lest we forgo her gift of vibrant blues skies, clean rivers, streams and lakes, lush greenery and a wealth of pure air. Of Stacy’s sketches, Abundance denotes the strength of Mother Nature who carries us in her womb each day and yet we reciprocate with callousness; Oceans Meet, in this case the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans, offers the lesson of living in harmony with nature and each other; and The Wonderland warns us of having recourse to the beauty of nature only through stories in the future.

Clarice Vaz has been noted as a wizard with paint, creating syringe, fluid, and spin art paintings that have the potency of holding you spellbound. ‘For this exhibition I have concentrated on syringe painting, and I will be presenting ten paintings made using this technique,’ says Clarice. The syringe technique quite suits the professional nurse who sometimes takes weeks to produce an artwork through this tedious process.

The Source is a painting that Clarice produced after being touched by the Salmona Spring in Saligao where she lives. She says, ‘The sacredness, beauty, stillness and dignity just captured my imagination.’ Other paintings that depict nature in all her glory and show the caring, motherly attributes of Mother Nature are Full Moon RiseArabian Sunset, Evening Countryside, Moon River, and so on. (Follow the link to watch Clarice at work with her syringe

Since the National Association for the Blind is partnering in this exhibition, the organisation’s presence will be felt with the recitation of Stacy’s poem ‘The Giver’ by one of NAB’s students while the compering will be done by Tessy Gomes, also from NAB.

An excerpt from the poem ‘The Giver’ reads: ‘Dazed by the power of/ wealth and technology/they have forgotten/ they begin and end in me’. Seeing nature in her pristine beauty through The Giver, will hopefully call people to make better decisions for their own future and that of Goa and the world.