Christian Art Museum – Old Goa
We had all been invited to see the Christian Art Museum. The current curator Natasha was expecting us with a painting of Christ donated by a benefactor which is unfortunately badly flaking and we which we will try to stabilize it before we leave. The Museum is situated at the back of the convent of Santa Monica. Coming in through beautiful thick walls and facing us in the Museum is the Church of Santa Monica which features as a backdrop, it really takes you aback.
The Museum is not big and each item is displayed expertly to give you space to walk around most of them. I can truly say that I had never seen any of the works of art before. We all knew where the inspiration came from, but they all had an Indian element that made them unique and interesting. Silver crosses with a sun acting as a parasol but also as a Hindu element; wooden column that came from a local church with nag (the cobra) as a base – an ornament that reoccurs frequentl; Christ on the cross with nails in both feet that makes us understand that many of these artefacts were made from non Christians; a wine and water set made in silver where the handles are snakes, and when the lids are up you can see the head of the cobra!
We all stayed well beyond our expected time as we enjoyed it all so much. The visit ended with a visit to the Church of Santa Monica which is undergoing a complete transformation. The curator of the Museum is also in charge of this restoration project which comprises the reconstruction of some wooden altars (3), and complete regilding and cleaning of the main altar with 9 full size figures. It is only by coming here that you understand the enormity of the help needed to secure this heritage and how stretched the very few knowledgeable people are.
The week has come to an end and we have to say goodbye to Joanna and Jenny, both leaving on Monday. Joanna has been with us from the beginning, although a first year student, she has worked like a true professional, and has been invaluable helping and mentoring the students from Goa. We will miss her company and help, and wish her a safe return to the UK.