Sustainable Publishing

Architecture Autonomous is a small publishing house based in Goa. The force behind it is Gerard Da Cunha, architect and practitioner of the small is beautiful mantra, and he has built a marvellous museum (picture on the left) in Salvador do Mundo, not far from Panjim.

The museum resembles (to some eyes) a ship, and has interesting displays on Goan houses and Goan life... I've been there and can vouch that it is very much worth a detour.

But the books... AA's booklist is not long, but all their titles are exceptional! Starting with The guide to the Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent, which they co-published with the University of Washington press. An exceptional value, the book more than a handy tourist guide- with stunning pictures by the photographer Takeo Kamiya, and with succinct and useful commentary, its the kind of book that deserves to be spread even wider.

Another such is the sumptuous Houses of Goa by Heta Pandit and Annabel Mascarenhas. "This book is the result of an extensive study of over 150 Goan houses with a foreword by an exponent of natural architecture, Gerard da Cunha. The book covers all elements of style found in Goa's architecture, with 200 gorgeous, colour pictures by photographer Ashok Koshy."

Their most recent offering is the lavishly produced Mario de Miranda, a comprehensive book on Goa's famous artist and cartoonist. The book has more than just Mario's cartoons and drawings, with tributes from Ranjit Hoskote, Nissim Ezekiel, Vinod Mehta, a biography by Manohar Malgaonkar, and an introduction by Gerard da Cunha, who "wanted to do something much more serious. It had to be something more worthy of the magnificent variety in his [Miranda's] vast body of work. Work that has delighted both the common man and the connoisseur for more than half a century."

Reviewing the book in this week's Hindu, C Uday Bhaskar sums it up: The last word on Mario must go to Nissim Ezekiel, who in a very brief but poetic introduction to a 1968 book on the artist confessed: “The total effect on me of an hour with Mario’s cartoons is hallucinatory. I feel exalted. The ego collapses. I no longer trust the commonplace images of the world as it appears to my eyes but accept the images in the mirror of Mario’s art.”

In our Art section, and in Collected Works, Mario de Miranda is available for Rs 2400 within India and Rs 3650 outside India, inclusive of shipping.

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