Goa State Cultural Awards: Bringing a paradigm shift in the perception of art

By Rhea Mathur

The Goa State Cultural Awards is a prestigious event that takes place annually in Goa. It is a ceremony where native Goan artists receive recognition for their excellence. Those having significantly impacted the field of Arts and Culture in their minimum ten years of practice are thus, recognised by the government for their work. This field includes musicians, dancers, photographers, filmmakers…and many more. The awards have also been created to commemorate the works of artists that are over the age of sixty with a lifetime award.

For the year 2016-17, twelve artists have been selected for this honorary achievement to credit their contributions. They will be awarded tokens of appreciation including a shawl, a memento and financial assistance under the Kala Sanman Scheme. The event itself will take place at Kala Academy on 12th of February with the minister of the arts and culture, Govind Gaude, present as the chief guest.

Meet the awardees

The list of the twelve awardees includes Pramod Priolkar, an Indian musician who has been contributing to this field for the last fifty years. The national level exhibiter who wins an award yearly for his paintings and sculpture, Sadashiv Para, is also on the list. Dasu Shirodkar, the author of twelve works of literature, famous for his telefilm “Khel” accompanies them on the list of awardees.

Ganesh Marathe, Gajanan Jog, Ram Mauskar, F.G.Alvaro de A. Pereira, Avecleto Afonso, Udaybua Phadke, Umesh Tari; these artists have all been successfully developing the range of work in their fields. The creation of this award list symbolises the respect of the Goan community towards artists. Several Tiatr artists have also been awarded. These artists have encouraged the spread of this unique Goan form of theatre. This includes Romaldo D’souza, a man who has acted in more than seven hundred dramas. Another Tiatr artist on the list is Maria Vital Fernandes, who has worked with well-known artists like Prem Kumar and C Alvares.

Recognition vs judgement

Theodor W. Adorno is a German philosopher who frequently critiqued various aspects of society. In his renowned novel, “The Culture Industry: Selected Essays on Mass Culture“, he critiqued that art was being transformed from an idea to a product for the masses. He claimed that free thought that is depicted through paintings, sculptures and theatre had at that time been completely commercialised. Art was given a set of boundaries and limits that defied its existence as a whole. Adorno’s critique of pop culture is extremely detailed with various ideas of “high” and “low” art that had found their way into the societal mindset. He described that while art itself symbolized freedom, art was no longer free. Adorno opposed the idea of judgment in art.

The spirit of awards

The cultural awards that take place in Goa do not pass judgment on the form or the beauty of a performance. The idea of an award ceremony, contrary to popular belief, is not to generate a fixed product. It is instead, to popularize the art form itself. It is to credit the people who spend more than fifty years trying to perfect the art form to their own sensibilities. It is simply to distinguish their hard work, perseverance and passion. Thus, the awards do not act as an example for Adorno’s argument but instead supplement the idea of art for all. They promote music, dance and literature, awarding all those who prove their passion for their talents, without questioning their talents.

Although art is subjective, artists are not opposed to awards and celebration. Their hard work and skills should be able to earn them recognition. Though Adorno’s argument is extremely complex, it is specific to its era and the society and culture he was surrounded by. In today’s India, it is important for all art forms to receive credible recognition. Thus, such events are integral to provide a shift in the Indian mindset that still looks at art with a judgemental eye.

Featured Image Source: glasseyes view on Visual hunt / CC BY-SA