This is a true story about Justino an artist of great calibre whose multifaceted skills showed up in various ways.
I was privileged to meet with him and his wife Sonja , when Anjean and I were invited over to their home for dinner. Anjean is a school friend of Sonja That evening was eventful as I had a very interesting and intense conversation with Justino. He described his art and how he goes about it. I was amazed to know that he never planned his work on blank canvas.. He shared how he begins at one corner of the page and continued to draw or paint inspirationally throughout the page to cover it in entirety.
I viewed some of his work and was stunned to see such drawings , with a finesse unimaginable.
I asked him “ Have you had any exhibitions of your work?” Justino replied “ I am not interested in doing so. I just enjoy my work . I certainly do not like to put a tag to my paintings. I’d rather give it away, than lose my peace of mind. The only time I had been given an award nationally was many years ago. My painting was sent for some exhibition in Delhi. I was surprised that they recognised my work for a prize.
He was encouraged in art by his father Peter (PAN)Lobo, since the age of 4 years . He gave him a special room so he could scribble on the wall. Justino uses various mediums, like pallete knife, pen and ink and even pencil. When he gets into the mood, something happens and he begins sketching free hand , even from below at the bottom of the page upwards. He continues, to sketch where his dream takes him. He brings out the female figure without any vulgarity . His humility shows, when he acknowledges that there are so many artists better than him. Some lived , but some may have died in the womb. He appreciates life, and rejoices at the time given to him.
Now we come to an interesting story. Every morning Justino spends time at his easel drawing or painting. ( he also does metal engraving art). One morning a crow came at his window and cawed as if to say “ give me some food” while Justine had some breakfast by the side. So he kept some of it on the window sill. Crowie ( so Justino named her) gobbled up the feed, and waited for more. .Justino obliged.
This practise continued the next day and even rest of the days at meal times. She is now a regular visitor eversince.
Soon Crowie got so familiar that she even perched at the top of Justino’s easel. You can imagine Justino’s delight to have sucḥ an admirer of his work .
One of the important projects which Justino worked on, was an ‘apartment’ project at a family property in Calangute. He was confident of his architectural talent , and with his artistic mindset, designed the entire project. His two sons , however had reservations about this project. They envisioned a hotel, rather than apartments for their future.
This did not deter Justino. With some deft strokes of his innate talent, he converted the ‘apartment’ project into a plan for a hotel within a short time.This project was accomplished in good time.
All that remained was to name the hotel. Thus started the episode of writing names on paper and stacking them on the table. An assortment of names came up for consideration. The stack remained on this table. They were quite frustrated as they could not come to any conclusion. After all, a name carries a lot of weight and gives the hotel a unique image.
One morning , Crowie flew into the dining room . She alighted on the table and began pecking and choosing the various pages on the table (with the shortlisted names for the hotel)
Finally after several pages being discarded on the side, Crowie pecked at one page, pulled it out of the stack and dropped it to the ground. Crowie then flew off.
Justino picked up that page , and looked at the written name…
It was ‘ Dona Eliza’, the name of his grandmother, and so this name remained for the hotel.
Justine’s sons Ashton and Ivan , are proprietors of this hotel .
I wonder if Crowie, will get preferential treatment when she visits “Dona Eliza”.
I certainly am waiting to see this beautiful hotel at Calangute ,and wish that Hotel ‘Dona Eliza’ will flourish and be a ‘home away from home’ for many tourists who visit Goa.
Oh and here’s some news , on Crowie’s last visit, a baby crow came along. Justino has now befriended Crowie’s growing family or is it Crowie’s way of introducing her family to Justino.