Sahitya Wishesh - A TRIBUTE TO MARIO

March 04, 2013 17:31
Sahitya Wishesh - A TRIBUTE TO MARIO

To quote from the book, "...To understand what Mario is saying to us through his drawings we have to understand his premise, which is that of the detached observer, the outsider looking in, the artist passing by... It is this attitude ...which lends his drawings a clarity, sharpness and integrity unsullied by ill-digested ideology or spurious subjectivity. Mario takes no sides, has no axe to grind; he records with sympathy and accuracy the scene as he sees it. I believe Mario’s forte is trivia. For what else is a great drawing but an accumulation of trivia judiciously and harmoniously composed?..."

Mario de Miranda (1926-2011)

Padma Vibhushan Mario Joao Carlos do Rosario de Brito Miranda, (2 May-1926-2011)  December 2011) was popularly known as Mario Miranda or Mario de Miranda, was an Indian cartoonist based in Loutolim in the Indian state of Goa.

(Capturing Mumbai, With Humor)

Miranda an exceptional cartoonist and a painter had been a regular with The Times of India and other newspapers in Mumbai, including The Economic Times, though he got his popularity with his works published in The Illustrated Weekly of India. Mario was awarded The Government of India has awarded Mario De Miranda, Padma Shri in 1988, Padmabhushan in the year of 2002 and was among five persons selected for Padma Vibushan award when he received Padma Vibhushan in 2012. He is also the recipient of many National and International honours.

(Humor in Goa)

Mario and his early life!
Miranda was born in Daman, then in Portuguese India, to Goan Catholic parents of Goud Saraswat Brahmin origin. His ancestral surname was originally Sardessai, before the family converted to Roman Catholicism in the 1750s. At an early age when his mother saw him drawing his home walls, she brought him a blank book, which he calls his "Diary". He even started getting into trouble at school, for sketching Catholic priests. Mario Miranda's early cartoons presented vignettes of Goan village life, a theme he is best known for even today.

(Welcome to Goa)

He studied at St. Joseph's Boys' High School, Bangalore and then did a B.A. in History at St. Xavier's College, Mumbai, while focusing on the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). Thereafter he started studying architecture at the behest of his parents, though he soon lost interest. Meanwhile his talent was noticed and his friends encouraged him to make postcards and draw for them, which earned him extra pocket money.

(Portuguese Music in Goa)

Mario de Miranda has not formally studied Art and began his career as a Cartoonist for the Times of India Group in 1953. He later moved into illustration and fine art while then he has illustrated numerous books including Inside Goa by Manohar Malgonkar, A family in Goa and The Open Eyes by Dom Moraes. Amount his own books are Goa with Love, A little World of Humor, Sketch book, Germany in Wintertime, Impression of Paris and Mario de Miranda He has been invited to sketch and exhibit in many Countries including U.S.A., Japan, Germany, Spain and France.

(Busy life in Mumbai)

Mario and his family life...
Miranda started his career in an Advertising studio, where he worked for four years, before taking up cartooning full-time. He got his first break as a cartoonist with The Illustrated Weekly of India which published a few of his works. His drawings & cartoons also brought him an offer to work at the Current magazine. A year later, the Times of India offered him a slot, even though they had rejected him at first. Thereafter, his creations, such as Miss Nimbupani and Miss Fonseca, appeared on a regular basis in Femina, Economic Times, and The Illustrated Weekly of India.

Miranda was offered the Fundacao Calouste Gulbenkian Scholarship, which enabled him to travel to and stay a year in Portugal and this time in Portugal, according to Miranda, helped him to broaden his horizons. After a year in Portugal, Miranda travelled to London, England and was to spend five years there, learning as well as doing jobs for newspapers and even worked in television animation, at Independent Television.

(Humor in Life)

(Wedding Reception)

(A Marriage)

Miranda's cartoons were featured in the Lilliput, Mad (once), and Punch (twice) magazines. This supplemented his finances, and enabled him to travel around Europe, interacting with other cartoonists, gaining considerable knowledge and exposure which led to his meeting of Sir Ronald Searle, whom Miranda considered his mentor.

After five years in England, Miranda returned to Mumbai and was offered back his old job with the Times of India, where he worked with noted cartoonist, R.K. Laxman. Thereafter, Miranda met artist Habiba Hydari. They got married and had two sons, Raul and Rishaad.

(Fish Market)

(Goa with Love)

(Impressions of Paris)

Miranda's big break came in 1974, when, at the invitation of the United States Information Services, he travelled to America, which enabled him to promote his art and interact with other cartoonists in the United States and also got a chance to work with Charles M. Schulz, the creator of Peanuts) and met Herblock, the editorial cartoonist of the Washington Post.

Mario won the  highest honours!
He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1988, the Padma Bhushan in 2002 and All India Cartoonists's Association, Bangalore, honoured him with a lifetime achievement award.  The King of Spain, Juan Carlos, conferred on Mario the highest civilian honour of "la Cruz de Isabel la Catolica’ which was presented to him on 11/11/2009 at his family home in Loutulim by Don Miguel Nieto Sandoval and on 29/12/2009 Portugal, under the President of the Republic Aníbal António Cavaco Silva, made him "Comendador da Ordem de Infante D.Henrique", a Portuguese National Order of Knighthood. Mario Miranda was posthumously awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award in the Republic of India, by the President on 4 April 2012.

(Human Expression)

(Action in everyday life)

Mario has held solo exhibitions in over 22 countries, including the United States, Japan, Brazil, Australia, Singapore, France, Yugoslavia, and Portugal and his cartoons grace the walls of one of South Mumbai's most famous hotspots, Cafe Mondegar, in Colaba.

Miranda also featured in the "Mile Sur Mera Tumhara" video, which included a host of India's most notable personalities in arts, films, literature, music and sports.

(A party)

Mario takes his last breathe...
Mario de Miranda died in his sleep on 11th December, 2011 in his ancestral house in Loutolim in Goa. He was survived by his wife Habiba and two sons Rishaad and Raul. He was ailing for the last 2 years but was active till his last days and was at a musical evening at a nearby restaurant 2 nights before.

(Mario's last work)

Mario's Last Interview...
This interview was recorded a few weeks before Mario Miranda passed away. In the interview Mario speaks about his growing years, influences, travels and, of course, Goa. This short film was shot by Arun Miranda for the Animation and Art School, Goa and that its use here is gratefully acknowledged.

Mario was undoubtedly a creative genius leaving us his artistic brilliance through his sketches, drawings and paintings which will always remain with us in our heart and soul.  

(AW:Samrat Biswas)

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