An abode of concinnity

Published By: 
The Goan Everyday
Dated On: 
22nd July 2018
An abode of concinnity

You would think that Goa being so rich in culture, there would be at least one popular place in Margao that has an art gallery, café and art store all under one roof, for art lovers to lounge in. Panaji has Sunaparanta at Altinho, among others, but alas, Margao city has no such place. In the suburbs, perhaps? Nope, not even five kilometers out. But venture out about 10 km to Majorda village and tucked in its heart is Carpe Diem, an art lovers' paradise.

The Godinho House is an old Indo-Portuguese styled mansion, built in 1750 and located at Gomes Vaddo, Majorda. Its young owner Daegal Godinho, always dreamt of starting an art and learning centre here. When a newspaper published his ideas in 2012, he was left with no choice but to make his dreams a reality. By November that year, the house was given a whole new look, with fresh wiring, painting, flooring and fittings and a new art centre was born.

Initially, Daegal wanted to call the place 'Bimbli' after the tree in his backyard. He finally settled for something that was n either Portuguese-sounding, as is the trend of late, nor after the family name. Instead, he chose a name like his own, one that would be difficult to pronounce or make sense of. 'Carpe Diem' meaning 'Seize the day' in Latin, has been oft quoted by poets Horace and Ovid. Enjoy yourself while you have the chance, is what it tells us.

As you climb the steps leading to the balcäo, you have to first get the approval of Daegal's dogs, Poopy and Rinky. Classical music wafts across faintly, taking you back in time. The entrada, the entrance hall, has boards displaying news and information on various courses and workshops. The Café menu also entices you.

The sala, or hall, then welcomes you to sit on the carved antique sofas and admire the paintings on the walls. A large centre-table holds art pieces and artist catalogues. This and three inner rooms form the art gallery. Go deeper into the mansion, and you emerge into a cosy little outdoor café, with a tiny lawn and a perch-platform where musicians can jam.

The café counter offers sandwiches, nuggets, steaks, and waffles, cupcakes and apple crumble pie for your sweet tooth. There are coolers for summer and hot beverages for the rains, all very reasonably priced. A corner cupboard has books, perfect companions for a hot coffee. During vacations, interns from Margao's Chowgule College lend a hand in the kitchen; they are here to help with the workshops and to learn a few skills.

Beyond the office, café, and the pottery kiln, is an open garden space used for performances and workshops. Daegal Godinho an accomplished theatre actor himself since 1993, has acted, directed and produced plays for Isabel Santa Rita Vas' Mustard Seed Art Company.

Carpe Diem conducts art workshops on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This is a 12-session course, introducing students to the basics of art. Ceramic workshops are held on Wednesdays, in its in-house ceramic studio, which has a kiln that displays both raw as well as finished stoneware, terra cotta and other ceramics. It is handled by Ramdas. The other regular courses offered are in Theatre, Pottery, Vitreous Enamelling, Azulejos and Stamp-Making. Vacation season sees many more art activities taking place here.

Carpe Diem is open from 10 am to 7pm on all the days of the week except Mondays, with Sundays being the busiest. This beautiful place of art is free and open to all, there's no entry fee. The manager Sonia Fernandes is always ready to help, while Reena and Sarita handle the kitchen.

Foreigners and locals alike enjoy this quiet space. Some locals have suggested that the café be shifted to the front of the house, for direct entry'. But the café at the back is a unique concept on its own that takes you on a journey through the mansion, without which it would be just another café. Visitors have to park alongside the road, as there is not much parking Space, but that's alight

You can just browse the gallery and enjoy all that art, without feeling any pressure to buy, or you can check out the in-house store for unique gifts. You could also have a bite and a coffee, and meet kindred spirits at Carpe Diem. An artistic curiosity may lead you to enrol for one of the courses or workshops. Who knows, you might stumble upon your calling and embark on a new journey. Carpe Diem!