Restoration of the Mermaid at the Mermaid Garden in Panjim is something I would have never thought would be part of Goa ForGiving’s and Heritage Jazz’s agenda, but when noted cinematographer Shirish Desai spoke to me about it about a month ago, it triggered a sense of urgency in all of us especially since another coat of ugly paint was set to smother her looks, considering she was set for “repainting” due to the then soon to be held IFFI 2012.
It is amazing that Shirish had this as part of his thought for a few years now, but when the time comes for something to hit centre stage, nothing can really stop that from happening. We then spoke to CCP Commissioner Sanjit Rodrigues & conveyed to him that we believed that the sculpture was of marble. Not many people were ready to share this enthusiasm with us, & Sanjit was doubtful too, considering lack of agreement with this thought. However, he backed us, and when we went about taking out each of the 17 layers of paint that have deluged the mermaid over the past few decades, we got down to the core of the sculpture and then realized that it was made of porcelain. You can imagine how ecstatic we were about this great find, and we are personally thankful to Shirish for his deep conviction that it was not of cement but of something far more valuable and unique. Ghaneshyam Chari then joined our team and worked on the mermaid for more than 3 weeks, meticulously taking out the paint, repairing a few dents and restoring the mermaid to her former glory.
Finally after more than three weeks the Mermaid was restored to her former glory.
On the morning of the inauguration i.e was on the 19th of December, Goa Liberation Day, we organised an art and painting comptition in association with the Goa College of Fine Arts. The compeition was open to everyone, from kids to colllege students.
The Mermaid was inaugurated on the 19th of December by the citizens of Panjim. Great festivity with art, music, camaraderie, friendship and togetherness was part of the celebrations. After all, every city reflects the people of the place, and without doubt, Panjim sits gloriously on the beautiful Mandovi River, with all the glory of fantastic built heritage & natural God given beauty. Sculptor Ghanashyam Chari was honoured for his hard work and the winners of the painting compeition were awarded prizes.
After taking all the trouble to restore the Mermaid in 2012 by Goa ForGIving and sculptor Ghanashyam Chari, it has been vandalised yet again. No proper maintenance or care has been ever since it has been restored. The statue has been vandalised and her breasts have been chipped off deliberately.