Interview with Bazil Mota

By Selma Carvalho

Bazil Mota is a young Goan artist whose primary choice of medium is watercolour. In this interview we find out more about what informs Mota's work, the artists who have influenced him, why he paints in watercolours, and how he sees the future of the art world in Goa. The slide-show exhibition featured here of Mota's work is copyright to Mota and may not be reproduced without his permission. Any violation of copyright is an infringement of the law. Click on the navigation arrows to move to the next image.

SC: Is Bazil Mota you actual name or is it a pseudonym you have assumed? In which case, what is your real name?

BM: Bazil Mota is my actual name.

SC: Can you tell us a little bit about where you grew up and if your childhood experiences influence your work?

BM: I was born in Maina Curtorim in salcette-Goa. I was not very good at drawing at school. Rather, while in school, a classmate of mine was very good at drawing and painting. I was inspired by his use of bright colours in landscapes. I tried to draw, and my efforts were noticed by my Aunt, who got me enrolled at a summer art class. That’s where it all began. I was impressed by the paintings done by the instructors and I decided this is what I wanted to be ... an 'artist’.

SC: Where did you do your formal training in art? Did you do an apprenticeship following your formal academy training?

BM: Soon after high school, I joined Goa College of Art in Panjim to get a BFA degree. My father supported me in this decision. I completed a BFA degree but due to unavoidable circumstances at the time, I could not pursue a career in the arts. My father passed away and I had to look after my mother and my brother who was still quite young. So I joined the oil rigs in Saudi Arabia as a safety officer. I worked there for 9 years. I used to do simple watercolour sketches while at the rig. I could not focus much on art due to work pressures. Eventually I got married and my brother got married too, so all the major responsibilities were taken care off. It was time for me to quit my job as a safety officer and be an artist full time.

SC: You have chosen watercolour as your medium. This is not an easy medium to manipulate. It’s effectiveless lies in manipulating colours. What attracted you to this medium?

BM: After quitting Saudi Arabia I was at home for a year, before I got into teaching as an art teacher at St. Britto High School Mapusa, Goa. In this one year I was not sure how I would make a ‘come back’ in my own field. I had always loved watercolour as a medium because it is challenging and a surprising medium. Watercolour has a mind of its own. It’s only when the artist and this medium come together in a proper mind set, that magic on paper is created. I heard that Darshan Shetye a young watercolour artist held a solo exhibition of watercolour paintings. I quickly got in touch with this young and energetic watercolour artist. That’s where the “The Watercolour Artists of Goa” came in existence.

SC: Must like the French Impressionists who painted en plein air (outdoor) and captured the brilliant play of light on landscape, your subject matter engages with Goan landscape. What influences your choice of subject?

BM: There is lot of influence of Impressionism in my work. I am more inspired by the works of the Australian watercolour artists like Joseph Zbucvic and Alvaro Castagnet. I like the energy they portray in the paintings. I try to paint Goan landscapes and cityscapes so that they are preserved in memory.

SC: You have established – at least on Facebook – ‘The Watercolour Artists of Goa’ forum. Does this group of artist act as a sort of collective? Are they formally organised?

BM: 'Watercolor Artist of Goa' as the name suggests, this group was formed of artists that use watercolour as their medium. The whole idea was to create an impact on the audience and educate them about the medium. There are many who still don’t know the depth and the expressive nature of this medium, and they fail to appreciate it. We are not yet formally organised. We meet up only when we plan a group show, like the one we had in May 2017. Everyone works individually and keeps posting on FB group page to create awareness.

SC: How do you see the future of the art world in Goa and what steps are required to give Goan artists more national and international exposure?

BM: I have always been passionate about art. It’s only now in this year that I have actually been doing it in a professional manner. Art is picking up slowly in Goa. People have started appreciating art more nowadays. It is said, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” We in Goa have a long way to go. All artists should team up and then only the possibility will been seen of moving far. I don’t blame anyone and hope all will be blessed by wisdom. They call me “Mr. Positive” in our group. 

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Bazil Mota is an alumnus of Goa College of Art. Mota has had several group exhibitions including 'Explicit Impressions' in May 2017, the 'Indian Monsoon' in June 2017 at Hastakshar Gallery, Goa Airport, and 'Colours of Imagination' in October, 2017 at Ujwal Art Gallery, Anjuna, Goa.