20 Sep 2022  |   05:49am IST

The glory of Goan women in sarees

Subodh Kerkar has an undeniable presence of artworks across the state using elements that are used in the day-to-day Goan life. For his next performance installation, Goan women wearing colourful sarees can participate in the project, ‘Naari in Saree’
The glory of Goan women in sarees

Dolcy D’Cruz


hen Subodh Kerkar creates a piece of work, there is a deeper meaning to it with which evoke different emotions. A conceptual sculpture artist and the founder of Museum of Goa, Pilerne he creates work that can be conversation starters. His latest idea for a performance installation is centred on women and the sari. Titled as ‘Naari in Saree’, Kerkar and his team are planning to create a performance installation working with over a hundred women in sarees on Morjim Beach on September 25 at 4 pm.

Ten years ago, he created another performance installation on the beach with fishermen. The works of that installation are now displayed at various venues including the Dabolim Airport in Goa and the Adani Head Office in Ahmedabad. The photograph ‘Keel’, from his series ‘Fishermen and the Ocean’, which was clicked by Kerkar himself, was selected by a panel of twelve Royal Academicians for the world’s oldest and largest open exhibition since 1769, London’s Royal Academy of Art Summer Exhibition.

‘Fishermen and the Ocean’ is a photographic series through which Kerkar explores the relationship between the fishermen of Goa and the sea. “I believe that the State of Goa without fish is like fish without water. It is the inseparability of the lives of the fishermen and the ocean that inspired me. I wanted fishermen to be a part of the installation, unfortunately, it was not possible to get them ready for the shoot as they go for fishing every day without fail. I had used labourers who were dressed as fishermen and I worked for the whole day with them. I wanted to show the connection that the lives of the fishermen have with the ocean,” says Kerkar, who has been in the art scene for over 37 years.

Kerkar has also worked on an installation on sarees in the past. “Twenty five years back, I saw a group of around 100 women wearing sarees and sitting on the roadside with sickles in their hand. I spoke to them and found out that they were from the border area of the state and every year in the month of October, they travelled to Goa to harvest the fields before heading back home and reaping their own crops. They travelled from the Ghats from the neighbouring states of Maharashtra and Karnataka. My spontaneous response was to photograph them,” reminisces Kerkar.

He further adds, “I bought a hundred Ilkal sarees from Belgaum and hung them from the palm trees which showcased the celebration of labour. A noted photographer asked me whether I was selling sarees.”

Morjim is the place to be for this upcoming performance installation. Those who want to participate have to fill in an online registration Google form. They should arrive at the venue in a saree and wear footwear suitable for walking on the beach. The performance will be recorded with cameras and drones. Each participant will receive a photograph of the installation signed by the artist.

“There is no age group for the women participating in the installation. However, there will be certain movements which will be performed according to their age groups. We are hoping to get at least 4-5 choreography movements like the form of an eye representing the ogling of women. So, I’ll need women to walk in a circle to give the shape of the eye. Morjim was the best beach in North Goa as it was conducive for this activity. When there is low tide, there are large patches of wet sand which creates good reflections. I am hoping to get at least three hours of good photography depending on the weather and lighting,” explains Kerkar.

Gunjan Mitra is the coordinator and the social media consultant for the installation and she is working closely with Kerkar for the execution of the project. “There are over a 100 women who have registered for the performance and they are many more who are enquiring about it. We also have women who are promoting saree on Instagram like Nari in Saree and Saree Speak who will be joining us. There are also women who are travelling to Goa from other parts of the country to participate in the performance,” says Mitra.

Who knows, you might be in the next photograph that you see in a prominent place in the state and you can point and say what a lovely time you had at the Morjim beach in a saree.


Idhar Udhar