Last day as students

10 o’clock and the studio is empty apart from Georgina who greets me cheerfully, she looks at home and she is getting a very slight colour. The students have been told very clearly to bring their last core unit project and finish all the restoration on the statues and tidy up all the loose ends.

By 10.30 the clock is ticking and the students trickle in one by one, not even two by two. Milena is looking gorgeous in one of her bright outfits and is already telling us what needs to be done on all her projects, she seems to have brought half  of Goa’s heritage which has been lying I am not quite sure where – but neither a dry nor a clean place in one of her outbuildings. She informs us that her ivory/wood polychrome statue needs to be gilded, her 18th century Madonna and child painting surface dirt remove and so on. I see that it is going to be going another very busy day.

By lunch time the paintings have all been varnished and are looking splendid. The students have not all appeared as they are busy finishing their core unit although no creative piece for the core unit has materialized. Clearly ‘Houston’ is not receiving the messages (think space programme and messages from the moon)! Elizabeth has gone to see Rita who is a conservator specializing in polychrome statues. She saw what problems she had to battle with (extreme overpaint, limited resources, high humidity and heat among other things).

Sebastian appears having spotted a copperhead barbet and a lesser goldenback, it is their last day. We go and have lunch at our favourite cafe, Sensorium and the boys decide to show off on the scooter together for a last time.

The students still have NOT produced their artwork but are all here smiling and busy showing each other what they have worked on. Houston is asleep I am afraid. I am now threatening them. I know how exhausted they are, how they work at night on other jobs and on their projects, but I need to push them a little further.

At 3 we meet the Archbishop His Grace Felipe Neri, his secretary our angel Father Loiola, Father Valerian and Father Manuel to discuss our achievements and how to go forward. This includes how to create an inventory, a guide to conservation/preservation of Churches and our future commitment. Elizabeth and Sebastian have a few minutes to meet the Archbishop and leave to catch their plane. The meeting was essential and fruitful to the future of Goa’s heritage.

The project in Panjim has come an end. The paintings of the first 7 Archbishops of Goa are ready to go back on the wall above the throne. My students are no longer just students but young conservators ready to help preserve and start the basic conservation of their heritage. Tomorrow they will start their new journey with a test clean of some art work in the Seminary of Rachol.