Harshada Kerkar Sonak

24  Artworks


Queens of Mussoorie

By Harshada Kerkar
10th April – 29th May

This exhibition is an attempt to narrate the simplistic and beautiful life of Mussoorie, through a series of portraits of the Women and children who I term as ‘Queens of Mussoorie’.

One fine morning, I met a child on her way to School, crying as she could not reach a Dahlia flower she so desired to hold (the vibrant Dahlia grows wild in this mountainous region). I climbed on a little rock and plucked it for her. The little child was so overcome, she just looked at me as if she was a Queen who had just been granted her wish. This scene was reminiscent of a Queen depicted in miniature art, and hence the first artwork of this series was inspired by that moment.

What followed were a series of sketches of children from Dalai Hill and surrounding region, which is home to several labour and rag picker families. Besides these I have also made an attempt to do portrait of a girl with a blue Umbrella, which is inspired by the story from my favourite author Ruskin Bond.

I am Harshada Kerkar Sonak, a Goa based artist. I studied Art in Bombay and under my Father Chandrakant, who was an accomplished artist. I like to work with communities, and this brought me to Mussoorie in 2019, where I made larger than life black and white sketches on walls of sanitation workers and rag pickers of Mussoorie. Through portraits and sketches of these communities, I like to highlight the role of a common man in our daily life.


Harshada Kerkar Sonak

She was born in Keri village in Pernem taluka of Goa. Her father Chandrakant was an art teacher & accomplished artist known for 6 metre long work ‘Goa Darshan’ & 20 portraits of national leaders for Old Secretariat building of Goa
She did her Bachelors in Art in Painting from S.N.D.T. University, Bombay. She has many solo & group shows to her credit & participated in National Lalit Kala Akademi Exhibition, New Delhi
She is known for portraits of children & workers in agriculture, construction & other services. Her love for the environment resulted in nurturing of plants as well as recycling of materials in an artistic manner. She encourages, nurtures & supports many underserved children
During 2018 Serendipity festival of Arts, she did portraits in charcoal of women from Panaji market & of a fish used as a symbol of River Mandovi & its silent suffering, owing to lack of proper care by the people
In 2019 she made larger-than-life black & white charcoal sketches of sanitation workers & rag- pickers of Mussoorie. Her objective was to highlight role of these workers in keeping town clean & to create awareness on solid waste disposal
In pandemic times, her concern for buffaloes resulted in revival of 5 filthy ponds in Saligao to bring them back to their resting spots. She was joined by niece Sharada Kerkar, a community development professional & others to collect funds & cleanse first phase of the project
Her simplicity & sensitivity to all beings has inspired & influenced many

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