There is a popular Konkani saying that Goans are born with music and football in their blood, visible especially at a host of festivals. But the Goa-paintings of Francis Newton Souza offer us a glimpse into a different side of India’s beach capital. In his early works (1940s), Souza, as Goa’s native, has portrayed the coastal landscapes and life of Goans. Amidst his thought-provoking, bold and powerful paintings, you’d find his illustrations to mostly reflect the poor : women walking to work, Goan Rains, a harbour. One such compelling painting from this time is ‘Indian Family’.
In collaboration with Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi, we bring you the masterpiece : ‘Indian Family’ by the legendary artist F.N. Souza.
Can you piece this masterpiece together?
# puzzle pieces might just be on top of each other – look carefully!
# make sure you have observed the painting before you start. In case you need to see the image again, scroll down or hit the picture icon on the bottom left
# hint: we found it easy to piece the face of the lady together at the beginning!
# Share your finished piece with us using #MuseumJigsaw and tag @theheritagelab & @KNMAIndia on Instagram/Twitter!
About the painting : Indian Family
On the surface, this might come across to you as a painting of a happy family enjoying some good old verandah-time after a hard day’s work. But look closer (through the window), and you’d start to notice the contrast: the table inside has bottles of wine and bowls with fish and fruit (suggestive of luxury); while outside, the family shares a humble meal. A toad, smiles at you, the viewer, mockingly.
This painting was made in 1947, when the Progressive Arts Group was formed by Souza with Tyeb Mehta, M.F Husain and others – pushing the boundaries of expression, and content and moving away from the very lyrical art of the Bengal school – which was all very beautiful and didn’t really reflect the political turmoil of the time.
Fun Fact: Souza considered two alternative titles for the painting : ‘After Working in the Field All Day We Have No Rice to Eat’ and ‘The Proletariat and the Plutocrat’s Dinner’.
Francis Newton Souza
F.N Souza, born in Goa was being raised to become a priest – but life had other plans for him. Often tagged as a ‘rebel’ (the spirit spurred by a bout of small pox), he made headlines right from the start of his career – which probably can be traced back to his secondary school days. He was expelled for making erotic doodles on the wall of the boys room; at 16 when he joined the J.J School of Art, he was suspended for his involvement with the Quit India Movement protests.
In 1949, he set sail for London, but his career only took off after he published his first autobiographical essay, Nirvana of a Maggot.