What People Are Saying

Reinterpreting materiality
Clarice Vaz – Memory. Place. People

In the short span of a decade as a practicing artist, Clarice Vaz has explored and showcased several strong bodies of work that traversed both abstract and figurative aesthetics, representing spiritual and secular subjects, and using varied processes and mediums while employing especially, the painterly function of tools from her previous profession, that of nursing.

She is a carer, a documenter, heritage advocate; a custodian of oral histories, an artist and writer, a story-teller. All these, as well as other facets of her life and work interact and overlap continually, having resulted in multilayered projects that she has developed in the form of books, community events, exhibitions and shared platforms. Her practise is positioned at an intersection between past and present; memory and reality, with a deep investment in what future generations will receive in the aftermath of a speedily transforming culture. For decades, she has been deeply connected to the tangible and intangible history that surrounds her. She is thoroughly rooted in the Goan ethos, carrying with her an intense respect for her origins even while being connected to the African continent by birth, and having lived and worked in various other cities.

Clarice Vaz came to her art practice at a mature point in her life, encountering the cathartic qualities of paint as a response to the loss and void that she was overcoming personally during that period. The painted surfaces became a way for her to enter into a space of silent meditation, and yet feel and become one with the underlying power of nature and all its layers. Her paintings connected to the personal and local, even as they communicated in a universal language. Along the way, she found artistic and emotional solace in the rhythmic ‘injection’ of pigments over the surface, with her syringes. The unique and intricate process allows her to create complex textures and layering that reflect an experimentation with colour and light as much as line and form.

A champion of untold stories, Vaz examines social history in great depth, studying intersections of identity and belonging (her own and those of others), power structures and ownership, and the sharing of culture. Deeply activist in some senses, she has raised her voice whether it concerned calls for action towards nature conservation, the protection of mother earth against rampant industrial consumption, or highlighting neglected community histories and traditional systems. The ‘KunBi’ series came to life through several years of engagement with the little-known history of this indigenous community in Goa, and thus she began her visual interaction with their chequered saree weave, that literally became her canvas to tell their stories.

Kunbi relates to a distinct population of people in the hinterland of Goa, believed to be descendants of the earliest settlers of the land. The term is also applied to several castes of traditional farmers across Western India. As with many of the tribal communities, they live hard lives, but are close to nature and the forests, and their song, dance and ritual connects with this. Clarice Vaz became fascinated with the warp and weft of the fabric, the harmony of lines, checks and colours that she felt was deeply embedded in the culture and history of the land.

She challenged herself to create the intricate patterns, of the body of the fabric and its decorative borders, through her intrinsic medium and technique, syringe painting. It was her way of engaging with, and reinterpreting the essence of a human legacy that has been carried forward over generations.

The subject transitions from a malleable fabric to a visual landscape, created in a relief process. The meditatively developed criss-crossing linear rhythms become the background for narratives from the kunbi’s existence, their work and preoccupations, their dance, celebrations and everyday life. Planting paddy, toddy tapping or grinding spices, swaying to their earthy beats – the figures are picked out in delicate lines of syringed pigment, allowing a certain transparency of the imagery. They are made without distinctive facial features, a commentary by the artist to represent their muteness, and the kind of anonymity and negligence the community faces in current times. The difficult reality of indigenous peoples’ lives is often left out of mainstream policy and public discussion.

Along with the elements of lived observation, Vaz began to reinterpret the materiality of the cloth, with its straight lines that curve when wrapped around the soft contours of a body. Painstakingly, she reconstructed the traditional colours of the fabric, leaving the mistakes (when they occurred) in place, as existing in organically woven cloth. Rather than simply using the sarees themselves as backgrounds, her process has been about sharing in their toil as she meditatively drew line after line- over months and years - making the rectangular pieces as though she was a weaver.

The external simplicity and brightness of the work has a tremendous reach, yet each painting conceptually represents a commentary on socio-cultural conditions and a narrative of hierarchies that have left certain communities at a disadvantage. Goa has a unique (colonial and other) history and has been witness to shifts and intersections of cultural and political structures, making strong impact on collective heritage and identity. At this contemporary moment in time, one can be connected with a globalised (and privileged) worldview, and at the same time dig deep into ancient human traditions that are on the brink of erasure.

The Kunbi series represents an amalgamation of several different streams of understanding that the artist has developed over the years. It reflects her love for researching and documenting histories and material culture; it represents her deep connection with her environment and the fight for preserving all that lives in harmony with it; it speaks of her pride in collective Goan identity, as a citizen, as a human; and more than anything, it demonstrates her understanding of ecofeminism – carrying forward a feminine perspective of healing, nurturing, tending and bringing together, building solutions for a more equitable society, and world.
Clarice Vaz is an unstoppable force of nature, whose artworks and life’s work have come together in unique and beautiful ways to culminate in this remarkable exhibition in tribute to the original inhabitants of Amchem Bhangarachem Goem, the indigenous peoples of the golden land between the Ghats and the Arabian Sea that is India’s smallest state.

It has been less than ten years since this nurse-turned-cultural-dynamo made her formal debut in the art world, by showcasing an exceptionally heartfelt oeuvre that was born from deep personal anguish. At that time, in her first exhibition catalogue, I observed that “it is not a secret that Craig Vaz was felled by a congenital heart ailment that his mother also carries. To help stabilize the problem, she has been recommended to install a battery-powered defibrillator. But Clarice refused that treatment, and instead paints for hours every day. She feels the difference when she has skipped working, the practice of deep meditation with her artistic tools and innovative mediums is – quite literally – a virtual defibrillator that preserves her health. Thus, it is no surprise that this “self-trained” and “outsider” artist nonetheless produces paintings that truly matter, full of vitality and energy. After all, they are paintings that actually give life.”

Over the decade since then, it has been an astonishing privilege to observe this irrepressible, unpretentious artistic and cultural powerhouse rise from strength to strength, in her own painting practice and as an encouragement and inspiration to many others. There is a rare sincerity to everything she does, to which Clarice’s deep love and commitment for Goa add another layer of meaning that is decidedly devotional. Thus, to me, the works in Ancestral Weave are distinctly reminiscent of many different aspects of the great Shantiniketan-trained early-20th-century modernist Angelo da Fonseca, and they also evoke the emotional timbre and imagery in Words & Lines by Francis Newton Souza and Go Away Closer from Dayanita Singh, two power-packed little books that emerged – just like Clarice’s paintings – from profoundly rich engagement with the cultural topography of Saligao.

Looking back to where Clarice began her public artistic journey, Ancestral Weave now seems an inevitability. Paring down to the warp and weft of her – and Goa’s – identity, this sensitive artist has paid tribute to the first of all the many layers that have come together in our culture: the original Goans. There are many wonderful works here, dwelling on different aspects of the joy, toil, exuberance and daily existence of the indigenous peoples, and it’s wonderful to see those ideas expanded throughout the rest of this festival. I do hope the artist and organizers make it an annual event in this beautiful location. Congratulations to all of them. Deu borem korum.
Clarice Vaz is a volcano of creativity. This passionate artist can be fiery when she wants you to fall in line, or do things just right. It comes with years of experience as a nurse. Ask the village ladies she banded together for a market, or the young novice nuns she mentors. But she also has the soft touch of a healer, when encouraging young insecure artists, or soothing the sick and dying village elders. Like molten lava she crackles, singes, simmers and cools down to lay new grounds.

I met Clarice in 2014. ThinkBig, the ad agency in Goa I was consulting for, while working for Disney in Mumbai, asked me to “Please come to Goa. We have this artist client, her work is lovely, but we don’t understand it.” I was asked to design a catalogue for her first solo exhibition in Kala Academy. And so I met her first in the agency office, and then at her home studio in Saligao. What I saw, blew my mind.

But it is not just her work, or her talent- it is the whole package that is Clarice Vaz. A nurse who paints with syringes, cannulas and other implements of the medical profession. In those days, she did fluid and spin paintings too, and she proudly showed me a contraption made with a motor and a spinning plate- which she forced a nephew or a relative to make! “Damn, an engineer too?” I said to myself.

Over the years, we worked together on two books- I, merely as a designer, while she photographed, wrote, marketed and publicised her books. Here is a trained nurse with better marketing sense and ideas than most seasoned professionals. Her two books- A Song for Saligao and Romalina would have been impossible for someone else. Clarice has documented the fast disappearing traditions and life in Goa in her first book. In her second, she has documented her family history against the backdrop of Portuguese Goa and world history. Both books were possible because of her connections and her reputation. Let me explain! She was allowed access into the lives and homes of so many senior citizens, who lived in crumbling or well-maintained mansions and villas. This was because of the trust and fan following she has over her years of being an ‘unpaid nurse’ and health worker. Every child and every elder (and people in between too) have had Clarice administer something or the other. I see the gratitude the village feels for her in the gifts of fruits and farm produce she receives. Someone else would have put up a posro! How many kilos of organic brown rice, millets and alsaande can a family of 3 people and 2 dogs eat? Clarice passes it on to friends like me!

So when this lady decides to have an art exhibition, be prepared to be dazzled.

On 9th February, Clarice Vaz showcases her latest works in an exhibition titled, ‘Ancestral weaves’. This crazy lady has sat down hunched, and woven kunbi saris with injection needles and paint onto canvas! A back breaking technique if there ever was one. A homage to the hard, back breaking work the kunbis do. While everyone will talk of the beauty and the intricacy of her strokes, how it looks like a kunbi sari has been stretched on the canvas- instead of being painted on… I want to point out the physical toll it has taken on her to create this body of work. The price she pays to churn out every piece of art. Because that is Clarice for me. Pouring herself, body and soul into her work. Getting destroyed in the process of creation. For me, she is the definition of a true artist.
Book Review ROMALINA (Goodbye Africa, Adeus Portugal, Namaste Goa!) by Vivek Menezes ( widely published photographer and writer. Co-founder/ co-curator of the Goa Arts + Literature Festival).

The upcoming issue of London Review of Books will be remembered for its landmark essay by Mahmood Mamdani, in which the highly regarded 76-year-old Indian-Ugandan academic – he was at Columbia University in New York and is now the Chancellor at Kampala International University – directly addresses some of the myths and blind spots that continue to prevail about the rollercoaster history of migrants from the subcontinent to colonial states in Africa. The Asian Question begins with the paradox he encountered during research amongst people like himself, who had been abruptly expelled from Uganda in November 1972.

“I made a point of asking most of the Ugandans I met to share their thoughts about the expulsion,” says Mamdani. “For most of them, it wasn’t the decision to expel the Asian population that was troubling, but the way the expulsion had been carried out: this was the beginning of wisdom for me. Ten years later, whether we met in Uganda or in Britain, I put the same question to friends, former neighbours and schoolmates of Asian heritage from the pre-1972 period. To my surprise, more than 90 per cent of them said they would not want to return to the years before Amin ordered them out: whatever they experienced at the time, they – like the ‘indigenous’ Ugandans I’d been questioning since 1980 – had nothing against the expulsion. Why did an overwhelming majority of current or former residents in Uganda, brown or black, feel this way?”

Mamdani explains: “At the heart of the problem were Uganda’s citizenship laws, drawn up when Britain relinquished its protectorate. A clause in the Independence Constitution of 1962 restricted citizenship by birth to those born of Ugandan parents, one of whose grandparents must also have been born in Uganda. My guess is that no more than 10 per cent of Ugandan Asians would have qualified for citizenship under this clause at the time of independence. Six years later, Britain added an ‘indigenous’ ingredient to its own citizenship laws, and another layer to the complexities facing Uganda’s Asians. As Ian Sanjay Patel argues in We’re Here because You Were There, the 1968 Commonwealth Immigrant Act ‘was the first immigration law specifically designed to target non-white British citizens not resident or born in Britain.”

This, then, is the nitty gritty of why so many Indians – including tens of thousands of Goans – bounced far from Africa in waves of exodus that are still reverberating. It wasn’t any fanciful “winds of change”. Instead, as Mamdani expounds in his 2020 Neither Settler nor Native: The Making and Unmaking of Permanent Minorities (Harvard University Press) “the political effect of colonialism was not limited to the loss of external independence, to the drawing of external borders that demarcated the colony from the outside. More importantly colonial governance drew borders inside the colony.” Thus, “two sets of citizenship laws, in Uganda and Britain, were a vice in which tens of thousands of Asians were squeezed. After 1968, no British passport-holding Asian in Uganda could obtain a work permit or trading licence in Uganda, or gain entry into the United Kingdom.”

Trapped in that way, the substantial majority of Indians in East Africa tried to decamp wherever they were accepted. The UK turned hostile – remember Enoch Powell’s noxious ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech – but some thousands (including Mamdani) did get refugee status there. Canada also took in thousands, and many others went to India. Others scattered widely, including one tiny cohort in Norway, which is how Thomas Pereira (born in Sarpsborg in 1973) became one of the first Indian-origin players in top-flight European football, including eight caps for his country. And it also explains why the first really great literary achievement to come out of the Goan-Indian-African experience was first published in Norwegian (Ivo de Figueiredo’s Em fremmed ved mit bord was launched in its excellent English translation as The Stranger at My Table at the Goa Arts + Literature Festival in Dona Paula in 2019).

Figueiredo puts it most pithily, about an inconvenient history that you will never glean from history books in the West, or Africa either: “The harsh truth was that now my family became redundant people, mere slag from the grinding wheel of history. They were a people with origins, history, but no territory of their own. The empires that had created them had gone and now they were left standing among the colonial ruins under the scorching sun.” He writes, “Goans seem in many ways to be one people no matter where in the world you meet them [but] there will always be a difference between those who went away, and those who stayed. For many families, this separation happened twice over. First in their departure from Goa, then, a generation later, in their departure from East Africa. In both cases those who stayed had to live under a new set of rules that threatened their culture and way of life.”

Clarice Vaz’s vivid, delightful new Romalina: Goodbye Africa, Adeus Portugal, Namaste Goa! is another in the steady trickle of memoirs and other kinds of writings by and about African Goans since The Stranger at My Table earned such acclaim. The nurse-turned-artist based in Saligao first drew attention for her intense, unique paintings – some are even made using syringes – that seem to erupt from deep psychic pain and healing. This is classic ‘art brut’ or ‘outsider art’ as outlined by Jean Dubuffet: “Those works created from solitude and from pure and authentic creative impulses – where the worries of competition, acclaim and social promotion do not interfere – are, because of these very facts, more precious than the productions of professionals. After a certain familiarity with these flourishings of an exalted feverishness, lived so fully and so intensely by their authors, we cannot avoid the feeling that in relation to these works, cultural art in its entirety appears to be the game of a futile society, a fallacious parade.”

Understanding this context is vital, because Romalina – in my view – is best classified as outsider literature, falling distinctly outside the standard conventions of the art, writing, and publishing worlds. It makes for unusual reading: by turns playful, polemical or poignant, and sometimes all those things at once. It’s a memoir, but also history, with an astonishing range of images. Especially fascinating is the chronological table, which has separate columns for what happened at the same time in Europe, Portugal, Goa, Clarice Vaz’s family, and the rest of the subcontinent. Starting from 1415 – the dawn of “the age of exploration” – and stretching right to 1987, it’s an appreciably heartfelt effort that is greatly enhanced by the writer/illustrator Bina Nayak’s lush interventions on virtually every page. There’s no other book like this, which is exactly as it should be.

Here’s how our Clarice begins her Acknowledgements (which are typically idiosyncratically the first thing in her book): “I am an artist who writes and in a moment during this pandemic, I began digging into the laterite stone quarries of a ‘Goan mine’ of a different kind. Trying to free myself of an old label refusing to get unstuck: the Africander-Goan. Each time I tried to rip it, it crumbled like tambdi mati in my hands. But I don’t give up easily, and after a struggle, I triumphantly succeeded in extracting a whole chunk. This boulder was precious for it contained my personal history and the experiences of every Africander-Goan before me.” In its physical form, that reshaped raw material is an exceptionally handsome. In its physical form, that chunk has been shaped into an exceptionally handsome and weighty volume that is well worth its (not at all inconsequential) price, but, happily, Romalina is also freely available for download at claricevaz.com.
CLARICE VAZ: A seeker’s journey

In her new series of paintings, Clarice Vaz continues her investigation of life’s deepest philosophies and the mysteries of existence. Her journey as an artist has been as much connected to intuitive explorations as the mastering of skills. A painter, activist, writer and multidisciplinary practitioner, she imbues her work with a sense of innate strength and visual harmony – and an experiential silence that rises above the chaos of mundane life. She responds to the external environment she finds herself in, as well as to internal experiences, and finds different ways to translate these into visual manifestations. Her work contains layers, figuratively and conceptually, and she invites viewers to probe deeper and extract their own answers.

Referring to the scriptures and the teachings of Christ, Clarice reaffirms her faith through the narratives she builds into her paintings. The imagery symbolizes a fine distillation of concepts, as in “Genesis”, the multilayered dark universe opening up to reveal the organic burst of life; or in “Inner Flame” that encapsulates the all-pervading omnipotent force of the Spirit through form and colour.
Frequently employing a language of abstraction, she encapsulates vast stories through swift portrayals in colour. Having developed a mastery over mixing hues both prior to and during application, she builds the canvas surface through rhythmic gestures of brush and tool, developing complex textures and grains.The techniques she uses also spring from a wide range of experiments that connect to her past profession as a nurse. In a work like “The Scantuary”, meticulously constructed textures build dynamic movement into the central shape that radiates outward; while in “Canticle of Light” a smooth finish refracts the light in a play of the glowing colours. “The Congregation” reveals a device of representing multiple figures through strokes of paint, their differences blurred into unity; " Mirror Reflection” casts the vividly coloured landscape against the purity of white, drawing the mind to contemplation on social and spiritual realities.Clarice’s process allows her to give herself entirely to the work – until it is completed and time for her to offer it to the world.

Clarice possesses a distinctive way of seeing and experiencing the world, that is passed on to a viewer through encounters with her art. Combining both the wonderment of child’s worldview, and the profound wisdom of a mother, she bestows her artworks with a sense of balance and peace that resonates with the audience. From the simplest of creations to more complexly put together works, her work embraces universal values that are communicated with sensitivity, and reveal her fascination and intrigue of life.

As perhaps described in the painting “The Open door”, that signifies a bridge between the internal and external, the microcosm and macrocosm, the earthly and the divine – Clarice presents herself as a constant seeker, ever following the truths that lead her
Beyond the Horizon.
Swirling, viscous surfaces, with dissolving and emerging forms, rhythmic patterns, and monochromatic explorations tinged with bursts of colour. Alternately, one can see lavish swells, ridges and folds of paint, applied with generosity and deep enjoyment, creating recognisable shapes and figures within abstract spaces. These are an artist's musings on the world around, embracing natural phenomena, and also the wider cosmos and otherworldly dimensions. For Clarice Vaz, the act of painting appears as a state of consciousness that allows the flow of various elements, both physical and emotional, into visual, tangible form. Each work that is created with this act, is filled with a sense of pulsating life, and articulated feeling. The intense colours and textures, linear constructions and spatial formations establish varied moods in a painting that invites the viewer into deeper engagement with it.

The paintings in this compilation are realised in Clarice's distinct energetic way - they evolve from her gestures, and from her deep physical and psychological involvement in the painting process. She intuitively chooses imagery and narrative from a personal, social and cultural environment, moving fluidly through different styles - both figuration and abstraction, always making her work accessible to a wide ranging viewership. In works like, "Let there be Light", "Inner Turmoil", "Journeying Home", each has a dramatic presentation of colour and composition, yet portraying different energies through the symbolic and spontaneous formation of colours. In "Still Waters" and "Splendour of Creation", the dynamism is subdued, and the experience of silence and vastness is greater. Clarice allows the colours to speak for themselves, functioning as a sensitive medium to channel their energies. Each work provides different avenues for interpretation, for varied viewers. In the abstracted compositions, sometimes one can see a rocky landscape, at times a mountain or a river, morphing into the sky - sometimes a field of trees or the never ending ocean of light fading away into a distant undefined space.

Having been a painter for a short period (Clarice took up painting late in her life) - her tools are very important to her and range from a few conventional choices, to varied spatulas, (hair)brushes and even objects foreign to a studio like syringes and other innovatively designed tools. This gives her multiple methods and devices to manipulate and play with paint on the surface. This is sometimes dabbed down flatly, or mixed with other mediums to give it substance and the impasto thickness. Adding and subtracting to the surface medium is part of her methodology - sometimes in a single work one can find different methods of paint application, from thin washes to thick controlled drips. "Heavenly Light" and the remarkable painting "The Narrow Pathway" are characteristic of the intense and time consuming craft that becomes a part of applying paint in controlled drops. The complexity of the process is erased in the unity of the picture plane, where each colour and line is exactly in place. She deftly introduces figures where they carry the story forward, mediating imagery through memory, experience, iconography and imagination.

Clarice's visual language seems attuned to the abstract rather than the representational, though the two are often integrated. Abstraction is a journey into the interpretation of what remains unrevealed in reality, it peels away the outer layers and seeks the bare essence, the most pertinent components of knowledge or information. Similarly, enveloping and depicting the outer familiar layers of objects, landscapes and figures creates narratives that are representative of corporeality. It is natural that a viewers' state of mind and conditioning will reciprocate diversely the language of colours and forms. Each linear motif and texture is intensified to present a core experience and the viewer is taken along into these mindscapes. The interaction frames the manner in which it is experienced, individually or collectively. The paintings have the capacity to raise thoughts in a viewers' mind and also perhaps throw out answers to life's innumerable, unexplainable questions.

As an artist, Clarice connects various intellectual, spiritual and metaphorical narratives that come from contemporary experience. She takes a critical look at everyday life and is deeply aware and responsive to the human condition, the superficiality, conflicts, pain and displacement that are apparent. In a complex milieu of socio-political, cultural and religious barriers, she attempts to find peace - it is her Sadhana, an intense meditation - looking into the continuum of time, space and human existence within it.

Poignant truths from the Christian belief drive her understanding, and engender in her the possibility of transcendence while living within a fast-paced, chaotic world. Clarice's artistic perceptions enfold a spiritual consciousness that celebrates oneness among human beings - moving beyond physical realities to those from another dimension, juxtaposing the microcosm with the macrocosm. She refers to momentous stories from the Christian book of faith to derive simple lessons of living. She reiterates the symbol of the crucified Jesus in "Follow Me" and "...why have You Forsaken me", and celebrates the purity of mercy and compassion in "Soft Winged Dove". She believes discovering and conquering the trials life throws each of us towards a higher pathway, and towards universal healing.

Clarice incorporates different narrative devices within her paintings making associations to the natural and mystical world. Memory and experience, history, nostalgia, loss and hope intermingle at varied levels, providing an emotive space of self-discovery - and this is what she shares with her viewers.
In her light-filled house skirted by rice paddies in a peaceful vaddo of Saligao, Clarice Vaz is steadily building a unique oeuvre of artworks that are a formidable monument to her irrepressible passion, and a profoundly moving tribute to her beloved son, the late Craig Vaz.

Vaz signs her artwork with Craig's name to keep it alive forever, permanently cherished by the owners of his mother's paintings, as they circulate around the world and in Goa. The increasing popularity should not come as a surprise, despite the fact their creator is a registered nurse who only turned to painting full-time relatively recently. This is because Clarice Vaz has been impressively innovative and inventive. Her self-taught "fluid" technique yields canvases that are hypnotically powerful, drawing the viewer deep into long glimpses of eternity. The "spin" paintings - executed on a home-made machine in the Vaz back garden - pack an irresistible, colourful punch. The additional suite of "syringe" paintings are perhaps unique in art history - they have required a nurse's expert hand to create these extraordinarily detailed works depicting an idealized Goa.

Today's art world is dominated by manufactured superstars, by surface-deep cleverness and calculation. This leaves little space for recognizable sincerity, for sheer perseverance. But these are precisely the rare characteristics that shine throughout Clarice Vaz's canvases, each palpably imbued with love and dedication, and the compulsive quest for the divine spark that fuels this artist's vision.

It is not a secret that Craig Vaz was felled by a very rare, undiagnosed ailment that his mother also carries. But Clarice Vaz refuses treatment, and instead paints for hours every day. The practice of deep meditation with her artistic tools and innovative mediums is - quite literally - a life-saver. This vitality is easily detected in the artwork. These are paintings that truly matter.

For the path-breaking art exhibition, Aparanta, which took place in the Old GMC building in Panjim in 2007, the brilliant curator and writer Ranjit Hoskote took several days to travel around Goa to visit artists in their home studios. At the time, there was very little local interest, coupled with a strong resistance to the very idea of "Goan art".

But Hoskote detected the presence of something truly significant. Noting that Goan artists have fed the Indian art world for generations like "an invisible river", he reported being shocked to repeatedly find "meteorically brilliant artists" languishing unknown because of "a lack of context". Goa at that time glaringly lacked critics and collectors with the wherewithal and confidence to celebrate talent where it flourished.

Instead, shallow and cursory diktats from Delhi and Mumbai held sway, even here in the land of Fonseca and Trindade and Gaitonde, and Saligao's own Francis Newton Souza.

Less than a decade after Hoskote magisterially registered Goa's twenty-first century art trajectory in the national imagination, many things have changed for the better. Some artists in Goa have started to earn real success, and national critical appreciation. The collector base is steadily burgeoning.

But the challenge still remains to this still-forming art world, whether it can understand and accept real artistic guts when it shows up unannounced, or from an unexpected source. Clarice Vaz's heartfelt paintings demand that kind of recognition. My sincere congratulations for her remarkable achievement.
In the darkest recesses of the mind, the true artist scavenges for inspiration. Out of this primal darkness are born works of illuminating brilliance.
Clarice Vaz plunged headlong into a malevolent darkness brought on by the sudden demise of her son, Craig. And surfaced bearing luminous little pieces of her soul, in the form of her art.
Art that is unfettered by the tragedy that birthed it, but soars instead on the gossamer wings of hope, joy, beauty and eternity.

A burst of bright colours and vibrant motion informs her paintings. Clarice uses bold techniques, employing the tools available to every artist, as well as borrowing some from her previous avatar as a nurse. She achieves interesting effects by using a syringe to transfer paint on canvas. It is a tedious and painstaking process, the outcome of which she seldom has any control over: As she says- what has to arise, will... She believes her works validate her faith in her religion and humanity- thought there is nothing that marks them as belonging to any particular religion. Most of it is abstract expressionism, but she also does the occasional Goa inspired beach scene or pays homage to the Mae de Deus Church of her village- Saligao, and the Churches of Old Goa. The process of painting is meditative for Clarice. She is grateful for the catharsis it offers; losing her sense of self, subsuming her ego in a riot of colours. It has helped her cope with the loss of her son Craig, in whose memory she signs every painting. Art has filled the void in her heart- figuratively and literally. Clarice, who suffers from a heart disorder; lives each day with the knowledge that she has just this moment to cherish. It transfuses her paintings with an urgency. Her work is unpretentious and fresh; a celebration of this fleeting chimera we call life. And thankfully for us, it is untouched by the rigours of art pedagogy. Clarice's art speaks the language of her heart. Still yourself and listen closely, you will be able to comprehend it...
Clarice's paintings depict the beauty of Goa and are very pleasant to look at. The bright colours and an innovative technique using a syringe instead of a brush makes her a painter with a promising future. She deserves to be encouraged.
Clarice's works resonate the fluid energy of her inner meanderings as she muses over the universal and the spiritual forces that guide and shape our lives.
I really appreciate the love you have for arts and your ceaseless efforts to bring out the artist in you.
Certainly one of your paintings would enhance any space that needed a bold representation in colour and keeping to simple themes work well when the content is as dramatic and powerful in the colour scheme as yours is. You have a good flair for using the brightness and depth of the Indian colour palette which I hope you will continue to develop.
Born in Uganda, Clarice grew up in Goa and studied in India to become a qualified nurse and midwife. When the loss of her son, Craig, at a young age drove her into deep despair, she heeded the call to heal her inner spirit through art.

After initially experimenting with knives and syringes, tools from her erstwhile profession, to create figurative works in a style that is uniquely hers, a mishap of spilt paint on her studio floor came as a sign from the Universe for Clarice to plumb her psyche through abstracts.

She began working on reproducing the phenomena she experienced that day on canvas, with brilliant colours, usually but not always, radiating from the center to the edges of the work as if from a spinning motion. This motion, arising from her inner journey of spinning from darkness to light, pervades the canvas and even runs over the edges.

Clarice's abstract works are full of vibrant and fluid colours, poured onto the canvas and lovingly nurtured, caressed and encouraged to flow into the patterns that reveal the landscape of her inner musings onto canvas. Her works, when viewed from different angles arouse different perspectives.

It was with delight that I was invited to view her work at Saligao, Goa, where she now lives and I wish Clarice every success for her forthcoming exhibition "Awakening the Cosmos Within" at Gallery Gitanjali, Panjim, Goa.