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From Engineering to Art

Naguesh Vernekar

The Journey of Naguesh Vernekar

Goa Streets Reveals The Anonymous Artist Behind One of Our State’s Most Fascinating Ganesh Idols

Naguesh Vernekar is a 28-year-old mechanical engineer from Cuncolim. He uses his engineering knowledge to breathe life into his art, pills lending it a unique and aesthetic appeal. He recently spoke with Streets’ Dr. Charlane Pereira e Rebello about his undying passion for art and his future plans.

A Ganesh idol made of paper cups during the festive season at Chinchinim piqued my interest as I read about it in one of the local dailies. I was struck by the eco-friendly nature of the artwork and the painstaking efforts of the artist.

Unfortunately, his name did not appear in the daily and he did not sign his art work. Donning my Agatha Christie’s cap for a couple of days, I was able to find out whodunit…. Voila! The anonymous artist was Naguesh Vernekar.

I scheduled an appointment and soon found myself in the presence of this 6-foot-2 young man with humble eyes, as he opened up to me about his creative impulses and dreams for the future.

His dad Digamber Vernekar, a shopkeeper in Chinchinim, and his mother Vaishali, a loving homemaker, raised four children. Naguesh is the youngest and the only son. He says, “My dad educated all four of us well. He never said ‘NO’ to education.”

Armed with a 3-year Diploma in Mechanical Engineering from ISBT (Vasco) in 2003 after his XIIth Science from Cuncolim Higher Secondary School (Cuncolim) and having completed a series of courses – Diploma in Office Management in Computers at NICE, Margao (2004), Diploma in Desktop Publishing (DTP), at SISI, CMTES, Margao (2005), Diploma in C-Programming at MICE, Margao (2006) and Diploma in AUTOCAD at CAD Centre, Margao (2007), Naguesh currently works as a Design and Development Engineer for Model Infra Corporation Pvt Ltd. in Verna.

His past stints with Fluid Flow Teq in Margao (for a year) as service engineer, and with Ion Exchange India Ltd. in Verna (for 6 years) as Sr. Design Officer enriched his engineering skills.

“I am happy with my job,” he says, before launching into an explanation of his other great passion.

This Ganesh season, Naguesh delighted passersby with his Ganesh idol made of paper cups placed in the garden at Chinchinim bazaar. Hig Ganesh idol was made of 3000 paper cups and towered at 8-feet-tall.

Working after office hours and on Sundays, it took him 5 days to finish it.

Naguesh would often frequent Marcel, Cumbarjua and St. Estevam to scout for unique Ganesh idols. He says, “Every year, I visit these places with my buddies to check out the different Ganesh idols, not the common ones which we often see. This time, I have seen idols made of fruits, flowers, bamboo and paper. I knew that I wanted to do something like that – unique and pro-environmental.”

Naguesh explains, “I wasn’t sure if I would succeed in getting the shape exactly the way I wanted. I worked on the ears first, after which I stuck the cups making up the face, followed by the stomach and the two legs…. The whole idol was actually hollow except for the stomach which had bamboo support.”

Ganesh idol 2014 (made of paper cups)

Ganesh Idol made of paper cups

 

Naguesh received many compliments for the work from those who knew he was behind it, including a “Boro Zala” (“it’s great” in Konkani) from his dad, which he says made him feel very proud.

People who passed by Naguesh’s paper-cup Ganesh were equally impressed, but had no idea who created the unsigned work. Naguesh comments, “I didn’t do it for publicity. I just love doing such decor. It just flows from inside.”

Since 2010, Naguesh has been putting up his decorative Ganesh idols at the same spot (the garden in Chinchinim bazaar). In 2012, he worked on a unique Ganesh idol (using spinning top design) made from thermacol and saw dust that towered to about 5 ft in height after 10 days of effort.

Having participated in the Carnival floats at Margao and Panjim this year, his float ‘Goenchi Ranchikud (Goan kitchen) – Eat healthy, live healthy’ portraying a Goan woman grinding on a ‘rogodo’ (grinding stone) amidst jars, pots, etc won the 4th prize in the family category at Panjim. He was also awarded the Consolation Prize for the Matoli decoration competition in 2007 organized by Directorate of Art & Culture Department, Panjim.

His cribs during the Christmas season have also created a stir, including one displayed in the garden in the Chinchinim bazaar (2012) and at Nossa Senhora das Angustias – Chapel at Palmar Grande, Chinchinim (2013). In addition, Naguesh has also made some birthday banners, decorative thermacol artwork and centrepieces for weddings.

Naguesh has been incorporating simple engineering principles into his art, be it working out the dimensions of Ganesh idols, or using motors to bring life into his pieces of art.

Naguesh hopes to some day gratify his passion for creative pursuits by taking up orders for weddings, Carnivals, Shigmo, Ganesh festival and other events.

On a parting note, he advises youngsters of today, “Every youth must have a dream of his/her own. Do what you like the most. You might take it up on a professional basis but it is the satisfaction that counts the most.”