When was the last time when you tried to look at and understand the person behind the vendor? Or a local fisherman, or just anyone who is an integral part of our daily life? They are the ones who provide us with our basic amenities, but we are so consumed with our lives that we hardly notice them. If this makes you curious then head to the Salt of the Earth art exhibition by Goan artist Rudi D’Silva, which will be open to the public on August 31 at Carpe Diem Art Gallery, Majorda. This art exhibition celebrates men and women of Goa who are part of our daily lives. We may find them at markets, roadsides, selling essential goods and services to us.
An ode to tradition
“Salt of the Earth is a collection of portraits in watercolour that is an ode to the traditional down to earth simple Goan people from our daily lives, who have an inner beauty that I felt worth capturing on paper with my brush,” says the artist Rudi D’Silva. In his paintings, he has tried to capture the unique character of these hard-working individuals in their simple mundane surroundings. “I have always been fascinated not only in faces but in depicting the human form as a whole. The gestures of the hands, the various clothes people wear, collectively make a great portrait,” he adds.
Rudi who was part of the advertising world for more than a decade is now totally focused on his art. “After working on the computer and mentoring designers from different countries, the artist in me yearned to create works for myself using my heart and hands in my home place Goa,” states Rudi who recently in April was invited to exhibit at the prestigious International Watercolour Exhibition Fabriano In Acquarello in Fabriano, Italy. Other than painting full time he also conducts workshops in watercolour and acrylic painting at his art gallery, Blue Lemon, in Colva.
The exhibition has a total of 32 works, out of which more than 20 are about local men and women. The rest are Christian art based, a subject which Rudi finds deeply meditative and relaxing.
Capturing the wisdom about life
Elaborating on his theme Rudi informs that he spent a lot of time in observing these locals and made a point to document them in their true form. “I especially like portraying old people with a strong traditional touch. Be it a fisherman with a line in his hands and optimism in his wise old eyes, or the flower seller in her traditional black saree. These are the people who cannot operate a mobile phone but are filled with wisdom about life,” observes Rudi.
The interesting aspect of Rudi’s paintings is the use of watercolour as his medium. It is one of the more difficult mediums as one is not sure about its results. “Watercolours are one of the oldest mediums used by man. They are my favourite medium because they are simple and yet challenging to use. Due to their fluid nature, it’s hard to predict the outcome unless you have total mastery over the medium which is possible mainly through some practice and a lot of passion,” mentions Rudi.
For Rudi, these paintings are part of nostalgia and his way of documenting these people before they are lost forever. “I am capturing on paper not only a person but also what they stand for — strength and dignity. In the future, we may not see the same, as modernisation is influencing not only people’s dressing but also the choice of professions. Do we spot youngsters standing and fishing patiently every day at that same spot like the fisherman I found? It’s not impossible but rare. It is these people who inspired me to give the title to this exhibition, because in the Bible Jesus calls the fishermen and all simple people, “Ye are the salt of the Earth.”
For more information on ‘Salt of the Earth’ starting August 31or the Carpe Diem Art Gallery in Majorda, call 08888862462.