Everyone knows that Goa – the smallest state of India – has a colourful Portuguese past. But not many know that its mythical history, from being the first port of entry for the West into the East, can be traced back to ancient Hindu scriptures.
There are lucid puranic references claiming that Goa was created by Lord Vishnu in his Parasurama Avatar. Whether it’s apocryphal or true, of all the things to do in Goa, one that you should never miss out on is a visit to the Gallery-store of Mario Miranda – the most celebrated artist and cartoonist of the state.
Born to humble catholic parents in 1926 in Daman, Mario’s first drawings attracted the attention of his mother, when she saw the child’s scribbles on her walls. She felt amazed to note that even at that young age, her son’s drawings offered accurate glimpses into the quintessential village life of Goa.
Mario’s first claim to fame, however, came much later from his work carried in the Illustrated Weekly of India.
He got his first big break in 1974 when the United States Information Services invited him to interact with other cartoonists from across the country. In the US of America, he worked with the likes of Charles M Schulz and Herblock and quickly rode to fame, when he returned to India.
Mario is present everywhere, in every nook, corner, crevice, and artifact in Goa. Adorning a child’s stationery box, a liquor bottle or the walls of a roadside pub or a tattoo studio, or the curtain waving on a window sill – he is all-pervasive.
During the late 1900s and early 2000s, he was honored with the Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, and a lifetime achievement award from the All India Cartoonist’s Association. The King of Spain honored him with the Order of Isabel the Catholic. Throughout his illustrious career, Mario continued to receive numerous honors and accolades and a Padma Vibhushan posthumously – after his demise in 2011.
At Ocean Palms Goa, Goa, we have Mario Mirando’s easy-to-make out, distinctive artwork one wall of the kids’ zone, next to our extremely popular, open-air restaurant Beachcomber.
During his tenure as an artist, he held a string of exhibitions in 22 countries including Japan, Australia, France, Singapore, America, and Yugoslavia. In Goa, you can see Mario’s caricatures in all cities and towns; corner stores and five-star properties of the state. He is exclusive to no one and owned by all.
During your stay at Ocean Palms Goa, while you traverse the lanes and bylanes of the Calangute beach area, you will stumble on Mario. You must visit the Mario Miranda Gallery – there is one in every Goan city, including Candolim, Calangute, Porvorim, and the capital, Panaji. The one on Calangute is very close to Ocean Palms Goa – check it out on Google map now.
You’ll find miniature versions of Mario paintings on trinkets and curios alike that you can probably carry home as souvenirs, such as mugs, Tees, scarves, and magnets – little gifts to take home and stick on your travel or memory wall.
The galleries house life-size statutes of the maestro and displays from moments captured from his eventful life.
For the Record
Mario Miranda – full name Mário João Carlos do Rosário de Brito Miranda – was born in Loutolim, a small town in the state of Goa. His catholic parents spotted his talent early on and encouraged him to develop it further.
Ocean Palms Goa is proud to be a part of such a rich cultural heritage. For reservations call – 8888884709.