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Goa Through The Eyes Of Cartoonist Mario Miranda

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On the lanes at Candolim, Goa amongst the array of shacks selling cheap beach wear, sea shell trinkets and frilly sun-hats, what stands apart are three larger than life pot bellied fishermen riding cycles outside a brightly lit store’s glass façade. The three gentlemen that greet me as I walk through the glass door are but Mario Miranda’s cartoon characters with their large bulging eyes, blob of a nose and large hands.

Mario's cartoons

Cartoons as street installations at Candolim, Goa

Goa has six such art-gallery-shops dedicated to the celebrated and decorated cartoonist Mario Miranda. Architect Gerard da Cunha who considers Mario a ‘versatile’ artist took upon himself to curate the works of the cartoonist over the years. He sourced the art from Mario’s friends and family and some that were already sold. The six galleries now house the reprints of Mario’s most of the work.

Mario Miranda

Born in 1926 in Daman, Mario Miranda grew up in Portuguese dominated Goa. Though he was never trained formally in art but his acute sense of observation since childhood saw him illustrating everyday life as he saw of Portuguese people around him in his ‘diaries’.

mario self cartoon

Later his cartoons appeared in The Illustrated Weekly, Times of India, Economic Times and Femina. He got a big break when he was invited to USA for his art. In USA, he interacted and worked with creator of cartoon ‘Peanuts’ Charles Schulz.

The conventional artists were vary of his art but that did not stop him. He was awarded with Padm Shri, Padm Bhushan and Padm Vibhushan(posthumously) by Indian government in recognition of his contributions. He was conferred with highest civilian honour of Spain ‘Cross of the Order Of Isabel The Catholic’ and by Portugal as ‘Commander of the Order Of Prince Henry’.

He had exhibited his art in 22 countries in solo exhibitions.

Galleries

Of the six galleries in Goa, the gallery at Porvorim in a modest two storied house has largest collection of his art. The gallery is a treasure. Mario’s cartoons pop out from reprints of his popular drawings, tiny moulded figurines, variety of décor items and other curios.

At the entrance of gallery at Porvorim, an installation of man with bass and a dog sits greeting the visitors.

Goa Through The Cartoonist’s Eyes

Mario Miranda captured the essence of Goa in his cartoons. Subtle humor finds its way in depiction of mundane activities of people around him. Characters inspired by fishermen, musicians, bars, ferry rides, fish markets and fruit vendors all command attention. His drawings  depicting ‘beatas’, the local gossipers meeting in balcaos and Goan houses of Fontainhas illustrate his astute observations of life in Goa in Portuguese era.

Portuguese Goa in cartoons

Beatas chatting in balcaos

Goan transportation in Portuguese era

Palaquin or Machila used during Portuguese era of Goa

Ferry ride in Goa

Ferry ride at Zuari, Goa…Can you find the subtle humor? Look closely at the boat tying rope or the fish basket or the flags!!

Quirky Facts Of Mario’s Cartoons

A closer look reveals some interesting quirks of the cartoonist.

  • Look closely and in each of his drawing, you will find a cartoon of a dog somewhere. Mario had a great fondness towards the canine and always inserted a  cartoon in such a way that it fit in seamlessly in the whole scene.
  • The most enchanting characters of Mario were the secretary, Ms Fonseca, the film actress Ms Rajani Nimboopani, minister Bundaldass and the Boss
  • Its amazing that no two drawings of his had the cartoons with same facial expression.
  • He has chronicled his travel to 22 countries in his cartoons.
  • His cartoons also find home in ‘Houses Of Goa’ museum in Porvorim.
  • One of his popular works are the cartoons on walls of Cafe Mondegar in Colaba, Mumbai.
  • Streets in Goa have murals and street installations of the cartoons created by Mario Miranda.
  • His cartoons of Mumbai capture the bonhomie, the chaos and overcrowded streets very aptly.

Mario Miranda left behind a rich art legacy that finds lighter moments in everyday struggles of cities that are overflowing with people and desperately seeking happier times.

If you are in Goa, go beyond beaches and booze and take a slice of art for your homes to smile. Goa is much more than ‘feni‘ and bikini and Mario Miranda’s art says it all.

More Of His Art:

 

Shivaji and his entourage

Maratha King Shivaji’s entourage

Marios diary from younger age

Mario’s diary of childhood

Timings:

  • Goans observe siesta period during afternoons. The galleries close at 1300 hrs in noon and open only at 4pm.
  • The curios are priced affordably and it does not cost a bomb to buy the reprints. If you want to have a slice of goa at your home, these are a must buy.
  • Porvorim gallery is tucked little inside the street. The “Houses Of Goa” museum is a major landmark of area which is across the street from the gallery.

 

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