Ecclesiastical Goa: 16th and 17th Century Churches An exhibition of photographs by Payal Kakkar





Goa Khabar:Self-taught photographer Payal Kakkar is gearing up for her fine arts documentary photography exhibition of the 16th and 17th Century Churches of Goa. Titled ‘Ecclesiastical Goa: 16th and 17th Century Churches’, it will be inaugurated on December 5, 2018 at 4p.m. at the Church of Francis of Assisi, Old Goa. The images highlight Indo-Portuguese architecture.

Hosted by Se Cathedral, this exhibition is Kakkar’s humble attempt in bringing out the beauty of these exquisite structures that dot the landscapes of Goa like ‘White Mantle of Churches’.

For Kakkar, who lives in Corlim, these images are more of a language, a conversation of geometric lines and shapes creating a harmonious balance within the frame. “Each and every work tells a story of its glorious past and its grandeur,” she says.

Her photographs accentuate or at times exaggerate the compositional elements to create depth, volume and balance. They reveal an emotional landscape, a psychological dimension that is beyond the stone reality. Through digital manipulation Kakkar has worked on the images, and the result is a vision of the monument that stops just short of being psychedelic. The images bring out more of the artist’s perception and emotions which is further felt by the viewers.

The exhibit showcases the legacy of a global architecture that evolved into a blend of Western and Asian traits. Kakkar’s images attempt to channelize the essential vision of the monuments to invoke an emotional response in the viewer and convey a personal impression of not just what she saw but of how she felt during the whole process of producing her works.

Payal believes that Goa is a spiritual destination with over 400 churches that dot the landscapes of Goa like ‘White Mantle of Churches’ that are built on spectacular locations building a theatrical impact on the viewer. “Large expanses of paddy fields (Church of St Michael, Orlim), built on river banks (Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, Moira), and atop of hill with the enchanting view of the entire valley (Church of Our Lady of Piety, Piedade) can set anyone into a meditative mood,” she says.

The Catholics of Goa and the Portuguese created Churches very unique in the world history of architecture. In the 17th Century, the first elements of Indian Catholic architecture began to appear in Goa. The architecture of Goan Churches after the 16th Century is far less Portuguese influenced. Certain styles suggest influence from Northern and Central Italy. Goan Churches are an affirmative artist statement of a cultural position.

Kakkar gives a new dimension to architecture within the documentary genre. Shooting in ambient light, she firmly believes it helps reflect the true character of the design. The images are a documentation of Goa’s rich heritage and culture – of a time that once had confluence of the west and the east, a blend unique to the state – weaving together communities, land, art and trade.

“Spending time with Goan Christians, understanding their customs and practices, captivated by the beauty of the churches and my constant quest for understanding the culture and history of places made me read the works of Paulo Varela Gomes and Jose Pereira,” says Kakkar, talking about how she was led into this photography project that she will now take across to several other countries.

The exhibition will remain open for public viewing until December 14, 2018; from 9a.m. to 5:30p.m. Payal Kakkar will also be a speaker at the prestigious Goa Arts and Literature Festival (GALF) on the 7th of December, 2018 at Abolim Hall, ICG from 2:00p.m. to 2:40p.m. Here she will be delivering a presentation about her photography project ‘Ecclesiastical Goa: 16th and 17th Century Churches’.

About Payal Kakkar

With a background in Indian classical dance, Environmental Protection and Dietics, Kakkar has, for the last six years, focused on the practice of photography, having produced bodies of work in Italy and Cambodia.

Her passion for photography led her to travel the world exploring sacred architectural spaces. Instantly she was drawn to angles, spaces and structures and the stories they tell. The photographs are a result of images that arise in her mind and are subjectively experienced reality of the architectural form and its appearance.