Goa Chitra Ethnographic Museum was set up in 2009 by artist, restorer of cultural objects and museum curator Victor Hugo Gomes, as a tribute to his ancestors and their way of life based on age-old wisdom passed down from generation to generation.
Goa Chitra Ethnographic Museum is a conglomerate of three museums: Goa Chitra (the flagship museum) contains over 40,000 artefacts related to Goa's material culture; Goa Chakra holds a display of ancient modes of transportation from all over India; and Goa Cruti’s collection presents Goa’s colonial past under the Portuguese rule. Each museum represents the culture of Goa and Goa’s place in the world.
An ample cultural sustainability exercise, the vast collection exhibited at Goa Chitra Ethnographic Museum is a result of over 30 years of fieldwork and documentation.
Goa is India's smallest state, situated along the West coast of India. Its 3.600 square kilometres of land are endowed with a rare beauty and a unique cultural heritage derived from its Indigenous people - the Goenkars. This Indigenous knowledge has been further enriched by various influences during history, Hindu and Muslim dynasties were followed by the Catholic Portuguese and these influences are reflected in Goa's cultural identity and lifestyle.
According to its founder, the mission of Goa Chitra Ethnographic Museum is to preserve the past, while enriching the future. Goa Chitra believes in reviving age old traditions through the museum display and outreach programs thus allowing the younger generation to access the wisdom of the past which would otherwise be irretrievably lost. This immersive experience will create awareness about nature and influences and benefits on human life.
To enable this Indigenous knowledge transfer Goa Chitra organises immersive learning experiences and acts as custodian of Indigenous Goan knowledge from fields like agriculture, architecture, crafts, cuisine, Indigenous technology, oral history, art, religion.
Victor Hugo Gomes sharing Indigenous knowledge to young students from the Rosary School in Bambolim during one of the immersive learning experiences hosted at Goa Chitra
CULTURAL SUSTAINABILITY AT Goa Chitra
Goa Chitra’s philosophy is grounded in the idea of community engagement, and hence, the participation of local farmers, workers, and artists has been encouraged since the inception of the ethnographic museum conglomerate. Most of the tools and implements displayed in the museums have been acquired for a fee from the farmers and Natives of the land. Goa Chitra often invites local artisans to hold workshops at the museum and offers a platform for local craftspeople and artists to showcase and sell their creations thus supporting the transmission of traditional knowledge to future generations and sustaining the Indigenous crafts and trades.
Goa Chitra seeks to work closely with educational institutions with the aim of creating a new generation of well-informed and culturally sensitive individuals.
Apart from hosting a significant number of national and international interns, Goa Chitra is affiliated to Carleton University, the University of Bologna, Italy, University of Milan, Italy, University of East Anglia, UK.
The project has gained international recognition and has been the recipient of three International awards: the Fundacao Orient scholarship 2009 (Portugal), the V.X. Verodiano Award 2009 (USA), the Felga Gracias Award 2014 (Brazil) for persons who preserve the well-being of mankind through individual advancement in the field of art, music, literature, science, medicine or humanities.
Goa Chitra is built on what previously used to be an organic farm. To this day, the museum is set against the backdrop of a functioning organic farm where regular workshops and activities are hosted.
The campus has a petting zoo designed to sensitise children about creating objects and art using natural material so that whatever we create goes back to the soil and does not destroy the environment.
The museum infrastructure is built with the help of local artisans and using discarded architectural castaways reutilisation and recycling of materials like wood work, doors, windows, pillars, railings and other materials and elements from over 300 demolished traditional Goan houses that have been recovered by Victor Hugo Gomes, contributing to the contemporary outlook of the structure with its blend of traditional elements and modern technologies hence keeping in tune with Goa Chitra’s philosophy of preservation and sustainability.
The museographic concepts reflects the Indigenous philosophy of mindful use of resources and design to minimise waste.