Mario Miranda's Gallery, Calangute, Goa

Mario Miranda's Gallery, Calangute, Goa
“Let’s go to Mario’s gallery on the main Calangute road,” I said while we spent five days in Goa with my son and family from the UK. My DIL and Mum are not Goan, so showing them Goa’s iconic spaces was what I was keen to do. I also wanted them to know more about the lovely framed reproductions, I had carried to the UK and US, to their homes. I was keen that they could know more about Mario Miranda, the man.

He had been my Dad’s classmate in St. Joseph’s European High School, as it was called at the time. Dad always told us that he was a quiet, nerdy guy, who sketched and drew on every available space on any paper he had. Even in the margins of his text books!

Reading up on him, we learned that Mario de Miranda had not formally studied Art and began his career as a Cartoonist for the Times of India Group in 1953. He later moved into illustration and fine art. He had illustrated numerous books including Inside Goa by Manohar Malgonkar, A family in Goa and The Open Eyes by Dom Moraes. The names of his own books are Goa with Love, A little World of Humor, Sketch book, Germany in Wintertime, Impression of Paris and Mario de Miranda. He had been invited to sketch and exhibit in many countries including U.S.A., Japan, Germany, Spain and France, and the recipient of many National and International honours.

I remember writing about him, a sort of eulogy for the Sunday Herald when he died in his sleep on 11th December, 2011 in his ancestral house in Loutolim – Goa. He is survived by his wife Habiba and two sons Rishaad and Raul.

Ignoring the heavy rain, we drove our self drive taxis down the crowded Calangute road and luckily found great parking, right infront of the gallery. Just outside the store, they have changing, humourous art installations made of fibre glass. This time it had the Poder ( bread man) dressed in colourful local garb in bright and eye-catching colours. They also had a lot of different funny cut outs, like the village drunk, a fat lady and her thin consort, among others. Patrons could stand and stick their heads out of the cut outs to get hilarious pictures which could be saved in their travel pictures. Ofcourse they were immediately shared on whatsapp and FB!

Inside the store there seemed to be a far huger eclectic collection of fabulous merchandise, including the regular prints of his famous art. The Gallery is dedicated to the works of the late legendary artist. It boasts of the legendary works of the artist and a wide number of products including his cartoons, caricatures, and paintings made by the late artist. Apart from his books of cartoons, original paintings, prints etc. you can find a jaw dropping a collection of cool T-shirts, bags, key-chains, chic crockeries, mobile covers, fridge magnets, badges and many more collectibles to add to your personal collection.

There were funny little statues and mugs, key chains and bags, post - cards etc etc. And ofcourse in the discounted section Steve found a shot glass for his collection, even though he is a teetotaler. We found everything had shot up in price, compared to the earlier years when we purchased a lot of his prints to carry abroad for the boys homes.

But then, Goa is a popular beach destination of our country and witnesses thousands of people visiting it every year. If we wander about streets of Goa we would find every third wall painted in some form of contemporary art or modern graffiti, which clearly reveals the fact that Goa also boasts of a much lively and happening cultural scene.

You can find his paintings upon the walls of one of South Mumbai's most famous cafés in Colaba called the Café Mondegar. But right in Goa, Mario Miranda's caricatures are also seen in the municipal market of Panjim. I spent my time staring at them rather than at the fresh produce on sale.

Mario was also instrumental in restoring the Reis Magos Fort, and opened it to the public in 2012. There is a permanent display there of his work, which my Dad took us to view the year it opened. It is a large property and it may take you about 1.5 to 2 hours to complete the visit. It includes a solid walk and climb, so do keep a bottle of water with you.

The Fort gives one a very good view from the top of the surrounding sea. There is a large gallery with a collection of his best cartoons. While leaving, at the exit, there is also a gallery on history of Goa, which is very beautifully laid out in the places where they previously put cannons for defense. Tell your friends about the place when they are visiting Goa.

Mario’s Gallery has 5 stores situated at different areas in Goa and they also have one store in Mumbai. Drop by the gallery to see amazing works of art by Mario, or maybe swing by just to buy a little piece of art for you to bring back home. Be it for any reason, the gallery dedicated to Mario is sure to leave you entranced with his phenomenal talent.

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