//A pioneer of Christian art in the Indian style

A pioneer of Christian art in the Indian style

Delio Mendonca talks about his book on the pioneering Indian artist, Fonseca

Délio Mendonça, Fonseca, Goa, Architecture Autonomous,2022, pp. 252, images 126. (www.angelofonseca.com)

What made you write this book?

A good, complete book on this great Indian artist, Angelo da Fonseca (1902-1967) and to his magnum opus should have been written a long time ago. This lacuna is what made me write this book.

Why is Angelo da Fonseca an Indian artist whom we cannot ignore?

Fonseca is the pioneer of Christian art in the Indian style. He stands out as one of the greatest artists of the last century. His art represents a confluence of various cultural, religious and philosophical traditions that have met in the vast Indian soil over the centuries and that should be cherished.

What is unique about his paintings?

Fonseca indianized Christian art. He bridged the Eastern and Western cultural and artistic traditions. His art came to represent a grand synthesis of various aesthetic and cultural movements. His paintings are exemplary representations of the best Indian and human traditions.

What does your book try to do?

It was necessary to write a scholarly book in order to provide Fonseca’s oeuvres and his artistic thought to a larger public in India and in the Church; and to prevent Fonseca from falling into total oblivion and his works from remaining locked up in the chest. His message is very relevant to our times when hegemonic ideologies and theologies of exclusion prevail. Fonseca’s life is a lesson on social and cultural inclusivism.

Délio Mendonça, SJ is a Jesuit of the Goa Province. He teaches at Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome.