Goan fishermen at the oldest exhibition in the world
Subodh Kerkar reinvented himself from a doctor to an artist, 27 years ago. After making a glowing name for himself in the world of art in Goa and India, the recent feather in his cap is the selection of his work for the 250th edition of London’s Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. Café chats with Subodh about the selected work, a photograph ‘Keel’, from his series ‘Fishermen and the Ocean
Artist Subodh Kerkar has been selected to exhibit his work, photograph ‘Keel’, from his series ‘Fishermen and the Ocean’, at London’s Royal Academy of Art Summer Exhibition. The work was formally selected by a panel of twelve Royal Academicians for the world’s oldest and largest open exhibition since 1769. The exhibition receives 12,000 entries from which works are selected.
Speaking about the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition, Subodh says, “The Royal Academy is going on for many years and it is the longest exhibition. Though Britain was involved in the two world wars and yet the exhibition didn’t stop during the world wars. During the Second World War, there was a proposal in the Parliament to cut funding to the arts in order to support the war effort and Winston Churchill was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom responded ‘Then what would we be fighting for?’. This shows the dedication for the arts. Art is a civilization and it is not just paintings and portraits. All art forms including dance, theatre, and sculpture have an impact. Art is what makes human civilisation.” “It is lovely to have an exposure and every important art collector visits this exhibition. For me, this is too late in my life as nothing makes me too happy or too sad. The Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition is an open call to anybody who would like to apply. You have to pay a nominal fee of £50 to enter the competition with one work. This was the first time I applied as I have previously been selected for the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition in Sydney and Perth which is Australia’s largest annual outdoor sculpture exhibition. I feel Goan artists should have an open mind at world events. Your works should speak for themselves,” he adds. ‘Fishermen and the Ocean’ is a photographic series through which Subodh explores the relationship between the fishermen of Goa and the sea. “In my childhood, I accompanied my father, Chandrakant Kerkar for walks on the seashore and enjoyed the sea. I used to see the fishermen and women who were part of the Goan ethos and our culture. I believe that the State of Goa without fish is like fish without water, it is ingrained with the Goan psych. It is the inseparability of the lives of the fishermen and the ocean that inspired me. I feel that the sweat of the fishermen makes the sea salty,” he says. “I have heard that the fishermen when they head out for fishing in the sea, carry a piece of flat metal. Once they get a good catch, they roast the fish on the metal plate and dip it in the water to add the salt of the sea. It is said to be the tastiest fish in the world and I dream of being among the fishermen to eat that fish,” adds Subodh. The photograph ‘Keel’, from his series ‘Fishermen and the Ocean’, was clicked by Subodh himself. “The photograph was clicked of the fishermen at Morjim beach. I climbed on a five metres tall ladder to click the photograph. Usually, I get scared of heights and I get very uncomfortable but for this shoot I was on the ladder with the camera and without any support. I was too passionate about art that fear of heights didn’t bother me,” he shares. The initial selection of the work was held two months ago and on May 26, 2018, Subodh received the final confirmation that the work is shortlisted for the exhibition. “The artwork has to be framed and personally delivered for the exhibition. I am grateful to my friend Annett Krumrey who framed the work and delivered it. I met Annett when she visited Museum of Goa with her husband and son. She was living in London and had done her PhD on Oscar Wilde, an Irish poet and playwright and one of my favourite. We got talking and became good friends and now she helped me to get the work personally delivered,” says Subodh. Subodh will be attending the opening of the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition and the selected work will be on June 12 to August 19, 2018.
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