Azulejos de Goa
“What started as a sheer hobby has clicked as a business too. Today tile painting is I, me and myself. It is my creation and it gives me immense pleasure” Orlando de Noronha
Living in Goa, one may often find the signature hand painted blue and white tiles that give Goa its old charm. Orlando de Noronha, a household name in the art of tile painting or azulejos, has imprinted his name all over Goa for a little more than over a decade now.
I went to Portugal in 1997 on a scholarship to learn to play the Portuguese guitar and along side also did a short course on azulejos. I was always curious to know the process.” While studying at the University of Cuimbra he was one day casually introduced to someone who did tile painting. “I had completed a Bachelor in Fine Arts and worked as a visualizer for an advertising agency in Goa but I never ever thought of tile painting art. But Fernando Martins, the tile artist told me I could paint bathrooms, balconies, staircases, walls and ceilings”, Orlando recalls. He was an apprentice to Fernando Martins, a tile artist who taught him how to paint glazed tiles. “I thought it would be a good idea to re introduce this beautiful art to Goa as there was no one doing it.” At first it started out as a hobby which was then promoted to painting single tiles that could be used as mementos.
How you turned your hobby into a business
“On my return to Goa from Portugal in 1998, the Taj Exotica in Beaulim was being built”. Orlando – musician at heart - was a performer at the hotel with his band ‘Trio Orlando’. “There was a requirement of azulejos for the project and the then General Manager of Taj Village Mr. Joaquim Monteiro proposed my name to the architects. I had absolutely no work to show them. However they accepted my ideas of Portuguese style pool tile painting and murals at the main entrance garden. People still appreciate my design of the swimming pool in the form of a 200 sq feet pool panel depicting sand and sea waves,” Norohna says. Soon offers came from places like Club Mahindra and the Grand Intercontinental Hotel in Canacona where he did a 700 sq feet tile mural based on Vasco da Gama’s discovery of the sea route to India using 2,800 tiles. From then Orlando has gone on to become a huge success and greatly in demand.
Orlando's smallest paintings are the beautiful 3x3 inches coasters. “I don't usually undertake small size tile paintings as it takes more time and it does not fetch more money as customers don't value and appreciate the miniature art much”, he says.
The recently launched customised tableware with Mario Miranda
In May this year, Orlando worked with Mario Miranda on a one of a kind project in customised tableware. “We work with Tata Ceramics Tableware and customise crockery. It could be family name, coat-of-arms, insignia, special banding decoration or even a customer-created design badged on a dinner or tea/coffee set. Commercial establishments like hotels, restaurants, etc can effectively use the power of customisation to create a brand identity or complement the interior design scheme to ensure that the tabletop stands out in customers’ minds.”
“Combining contemporary compositions and colours with the design attributes of the past, we create unique expressions, both hand-painted and printed, ideally suited for family tableware, wedding tableware, restaurant and hotel ware, etc” states partner, Idilio Noronha.
His fame and accomplishments in this field may have lent itself to plagiarism by other artists in Goa but Orlando is not perturbed. He believes that real art will flourish come what may. His patrons vary from connoisseurs of tile painting to Indian or foreign. His wife Tina says “I have been surprised that more than foreigners, Indian tourists visit us and take a slice of Goa as mementoes. And during their next holidays here, they come again but instead of giving a discount I give them a beautiful tile painting as gift.” Orlando works from his 200 sq feet art studio in his home with four other artists who work with him.
Azulejos de Goa looks to expand itself by exporting its work to corporate firms internationally whether in Brazil or the U.K or elsewhere. “Goa being a former Portuguese colony, the Portuguese art of Azulejos has gained in popularity especially considering that we give it that distinct Goan touch.”