SUNDAY MAGAZINE

Transition of colours

Emotional: Her paintings are always depictions of the moment.

Emotional: Her paintings are always depictions of the moment.  

Influenced by Goa’s history and culture, Yolanda de Sousa explores the undiscovered and the unknown. TANYA ABRAHAM

There are no careful sketches or outline from where her work emerges. Instead, it is the speed of emotion waiting to be poured forth.

TRANSCENDING from a time when art grappled to attain position as a source of exploration and intense creativity to a point where it is exalted as the medium for discovering the gods, Yolanda de Sousa has moved through its transitions to a style of its own niche. A Goan artist highly influenced by its history, culture and ambience that finds itself in her work, she has managed to explore the undiscovered and the unknown. Belonging to a period when Goan art was still in the throes of being appreciated or even completely accepted, Yolanda, like many of her peers, appears to have struggled and fought through the mental nuances that art has always required to battle with. Although not of a time when explorations in painting were completely rejected like those of Angelo da Fonesca,

Challenges

Yolanda says the journey was one of challenge and struggle. A challenge that required the product of the Goa College of Art in 1977 to put aside her deep desire to paint in watercolour and oil for better paying murals. But Yolanda eventually gave up her job as a designer with the Government of Goa and allowed her spirit to freely explore the canvas in 1997, when art in its diverse ways began attaining a platform in Goa to expose itself. To her, it “appeared a ripe moment of discovery wherefrom a journey would begin” to the eternity of colours, form and texture. Using acrylic, a medium was then beginning to gain popularity, Yolanda’s paintings gathered a feel for themselves.

Key moments in her life initiated an emotion or an outburst of thought and experience of great intensity expressed through her strokes and blend of colours, which led to the discovery of a technique she now delves in and marks her as an artist of calibre discovered during the Football World Cup, a sport with which she once had a love affair. Expressing the momentum and excitement of the game in progress on canvas at a time of extreme energy, she found a corner of the board bearing a confluence of colours and fine texture that portrayed an almost ceramic-like appearance.

Creating and recreating by submitting to the lucidity of acrylic paint, Yolanda concentrated upon a procedure of its usage that remains the highlight of her work today. There are no careful sketches or outline from where her work emerges. Instead it is the speed of emotion she is consumed with waiting to be poured forth. The colours blend in an almost coagulating manner, thick and full of texture, causing special blends of colour and form at points of juncture.

To Yolanda, working with this technique is almost like working with watercolours, where she allows coats of paint to dry and repeats colours by using fine shades and darkening at points to give the required effect. The ‘crack effect’ is also deliberate; it extends to her entire work with a precision that allows one to believe it to be a jigsaw of ceramic pieces glued together.

Although the procedure allows a natural sheen to the painting, Yolanda explains, she seals it offering a much greater shine for a glossy, ceramic appearance.

Highly influenced by emotions, her paintings are always depictions of the moment. As in a series with images of her childhood: an ancestor, a church or her old Goan home; or the presence of architecture, remnants of a previous job of designing the Crafts Complex in Goa.

And the influence of Picasso, an artist she recalls having deeply studied at college: “I like his style of emotion and the strength in his paintings.” Or the use of writing on her paintings, the need for expelling a feeling or thought, often in Portuguese that she scripts in Hindi. Some that can be comprehended; others a hidden mystery but all merge into her painting to create a certain unique style.

In truth, Yolanda’s works are a mixture of expressions that take a strong position with the use of monochrome colours that then slowly flows into an almost transient sense of being through her special technique and then a sudden creative burst that converges to the interpretation of the spectator. A transition of colours that to her are on a constant voyage of exploring and depicting, of a journey that began long ago to find answers wrapped in the mystery of art.

Yolanda has had a number of solo and group shows like Kitab Mahal, Mumbai, and International Exhibition of Contemporary Art, Korea, and is the recipient of the State Lalit Kala Akademi Award,Goa (2001) and AIFACS State Award (2000).

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