Aldona, Through Family Eyes

An artistic exploration of vernacular photographs from Aldona

Goans attribute such importance to their ancestral village that it is but natural for the village to be the starting point for a study of vernacular photography in the region.

The village of Aldona, the object of our study, is not only rich in history and in personal anecdotes (stories of migration, of objects making transcontinental trips, of globetrotting melodies and recipes) but, equally importantly, has left a valuable legacy of photographic archives. The aim of Aldona Through Family Eyes is to offer a glimpse of these riches.
Our research unfolds in three stages: the collection of family photographs through in-depth interviews, a visual and text-based interpretation of these archives by two photo artists and finally an exhibition of the results in a private home in Aldona as part of GoaPhoto 2019.
Vernacular photographs, hand painted photographs, mixed media, interior photography, photography writing, still life… these are some of the ways in which the project touches upon photography.
In the first stage, in collaboration with a Portuguese anthropologist presently working with Goa University, Pedro Manuel Pombo, informal family ‘archives’ are explored through a recording of oral histories, collected regardless of the holders’ social and religious background. We hope that a history of the village will slowly emerge through this exploration. The images will be digitised and made available online.

In the second stage, this archive will work as a “primer” to which artistic interventions will be added. Indian photographer Akshay Mahajan, in collaboration with the anthropologist, will artistically interpret those vernacular images and create new imagery, using the archive alongside domestic objects and family memorabilia. Portuguese artist Angela Berlinde (who is also a researcher on contemporary visual practices that problematize hybrid forms of photography, such as painting and literature) will also intervene in the images by creating new painted photographs -she will additionally hold a workshop for children of Aldona, who are members of the Alban Couto Reading Room for Children.In the third stage, the results of this collective exercise will be exhibited in the sala of the 400 year old D’Sa House, the private residence of the Condillac Family in Quitula, Aldona

This project has been made possible thanks to the Fundaçao Oriente. Other partners are Alban Couto Reading Room, and Bookworm Library. We are indebted to the participating families for sharing their stories and photographs with us and grateful to Prashant Panjiar for his help with the Chic Chocolate images.