Back On the Job

It doesn’t feel as if an entire year has gone by, but here we are in 2018 back in Panjim both happy and excited. We are here to continue our much needed collaboration which we started back in 2016. All the familiar faces at the Archbishop’s Palace greet us warmly and back we go in our favourite room named after our protector St Francis Xavier. It was after visiting his tomb that we felt the need to stop in Goa and try to provide much needed help and conservation for the works of art in the Palace, Seminary of Rachol and various Churches.

Christopher and I entered the studio and proceeded to pull out all the materials stored for us by the Goan group who have looked after them beautifully. I had almost forgotten how much we brought here and what a comprehensive studio we have created. One by one all the students appeared except Rhea who is out of state but will be with us tomorrow.

The previously restored paintings were examined from a distance, and we were reasonably happy with their appearance although the tension was quite slack on some. The intense humidity plays a role in this location which cannot be ignored and is impossible to control. Later on we shall examine some products which we tested to counterbalance the effects of the extreme humidity and analyse the results.

As we started examining the next four paintings to continue the conservation of the collection we had an unusual interruption for us Europeans. Caetano had received a phone call from home telling him there was a snake in the kitchen and his presence was required. He departed rather promptly with no further explanation! Tomorrow undoubtedly we shall hear the rest of this gripping story.

Back to our paintings – the students after measuring the ph factor of the surface of the painting made some solutions to test for the removal of the dirt. We have also been looking at the surface of the paintings using a high powered electronic microscope to get a better idea of a whitish haze which has developed into the paint surface.

We had arrived late on Saturday and spent yesterday settling iSandesh Naik - Gaur-nican, but were thrilled to be able to go and see an exhibition of paintings yesterday evening which was part of the Serendipity Arts Festival. The exhibition was in Miguel House and included this amazing painting by Sandesh Naik, one of our students. We will talk more to him about the painting in a future post, but it reflects what he sees as the reality of Goa. The painting is called Gaur-nica, the gaur being a wild Indian bison, a very fierce animal which is also the state symbol for Goa. Nica means truth, but the title also hints back to Picasso’s Guernica and the invisible war that is happening in these days between commerce and big business and the people.