No one quite like Mario, say Goan artists

Creative artists from Goa have lamented the death of legendary cartoonist Mario Miranda, saying he introduced their state to India and the world in the real sense.

Well known designer Wendell Rodricks told IANS that in Mario's death Sunday, following a long illness, "he had lost a friend, Goa lost its best ambassador, the artist community lost a very gifted artist and India lost a national treasure".

Recalling his first meeting with the departed 85-year-old illustrator, Wendell said they first shared a joke and then became friends for life.

"He was seated beside me and we began to chat. He had a fountain pen that was leaving a growing ink stain on his pocket. Finally, I told him that his pen was leaking and we both joked about it all the way. The pen was a write-off. I had to wash it in the rest room and the entire sink was black," said Wendell poignantly.

Uddhar Sawkar, one of the most hilarious contemporary newspaper cartoonists in Goa, said he was first inspired by Mario's work after he saw some of the master's works at a cartoon exhibition in 2007.

"Mario had a unique style of drawing. Right from my childhood I used to see his cartoons on our text books. He was the idol of all cartoonists of Goa. He worked very hard to get the recognition by drawing cartoons for national magazines and newspapers but he never lost his touch of Goa," said Sawkar, whose popular cartoon strip 'Iddhar Uddhar' comes out in the Herald, a local English daily.

Subodh Kerkar, a former cartoonist who is now an installation artist, had once sketched Mario in a fisherman's garb sitting on a riverside promenade with a fishing line.

"Mario appreciated the work and later visited my studio to buy one of my watercolours. He was very encouraging and gave me a lot of confidence in my work. Mario was a great artist and a great human being. He was most unassuming for a man of his achievements. Very few people have contributed in putting Goa on the national and international scene," Kerkar said.

The Padma Bhushan award winner died at his ancestral house in Loutolim, 35 km from here, after a long illness.

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