Prolific master of line Vamona Navelcar breathes his last at 91

Prolific master of line Vamona Navelcar breathes his last at 91


An artist of international repute, Vamona Ananta Sinai Navelcar passed away in the early hours on Monday (October 18) at the age of 91 at a hospital in Panaji. He was hospitalised for some weeks with a severe chest infection. The Pomburpa born artist who studied and worked in Portugal, Mozambique and Goa, was active till the end.

“He was an artist still working in his early nineties. A gentle giant of the arts, a teacher in his younger days whose students from Mozambique still remember him for his gentle ways and kindness, as well as his special art that he practised right up to the very end,” said Anne Ketteringham, whose book ‘Vamona Navelcar: An artist of three continents’ has earned a place of respect in Goan literature world.

“The book took about three years to compile with many interviews every six months in the winters and the rest of the time while doing research also,” adds Ketteringham, a Britisher, now settled in Goa.

Stating that Vamona Navelcar was not only a great artist but also a great human being, historian Prof Prajal Sakhardande lamented, “However, he was largely unsung. He was humble, self-effacing. His body of work is huge. We have lost a priceless artist, leaving a vacuum in the world of art. He should be celebrated as a great Goan and a world artist, at least posthumously.”

“It is sad that such a great Goan artiste, held in the highest esteem by European Master artists, should pass away from amongst his own people, in such a low profile. His humble attitude, as were the strokes of his paintings, possibly did not attract or find value in the eyes of the Administration, and the supposed art connoisseurs in our State, to put him on a pedestal, he deserved so much,” stated heritage promoter Sanjeev Sardesai.

“Vamona was one of those artists who was loved by many but understood by very few. He was recognised globally for his work but also denied timely formal recognition by the State of Goa, which mattered most to him. He will live through his work for many years to come,” said Ashley Fernandes, a sound engineer from London whose family was lucky to have spent quality time with the great artist.

“Vamona was a mentor and a friend who would be missed dearly. We shared something quite unique. We have similar roots and have experienced life in the same three continents, and as a result, connected deeply on various levels,” stated cultural activist Marius Fernandes, hailing from the same village Pomburpa, now living at Chorao.

Born on May 5, 1930, Vamona lived in three continents where was adored by his students for the mastery of his art. However, when he returned to Goa in 1982, to find peace of mind and tranquillity, he felt lost and ignored by the public. His work is mostly abstract and he was influenced by European artists, though he admired works of Goan artists like F N Souza and Vasudeo S Gaitonde.

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