Statue wonders from a coastal city

Statue wonders from a coastal city

Statue wonders from a coastal city

Situated on the quiet Simon Lane of Mangaluru is a storehouse of art and talent – Simon & Co, now Simon Arts, world-famous for its terracotta church statues. First established in 1932, Simon Arts is an exclusive art space founded by Simon Sylvester Rasquinha.

Presently run by the third generation, Ashwath Rasquinha, this art house has talent running in its blood. Renowned for custom-made church statues worldwide, Simon Arts also makes statues of Indian statesmen.

Freedom fighter and respected politician U Srinivas Mallya’s form erected at the NMPT (New Mangaluru Port) gate and the famed Mahatma Gandhi statue in Aloyseum, were sculpted by founder Simon himself. In 2012, a nine-feet-tall statue of Mother Mary was shipped to the Shrine of Our Lady of Consolata in Nairobi!

Arthur, the fourth of legendary Simon’s seven children, was the previous mentor of Simon&Co, who took over from his father in 1973. Ashwath, the youngest of Arthur’s children, has qualifications in fine arts and sculpture and continues to churn out awe-inspiring statues currently.

Simon S Rasquinha, born on May 22, 1910, worked for a local statuary in his youth and absorbed the fine nuances of art and statue production. He was mentored by the famous Francis de Gama of Jeppu, a close assistant to Brother Moscheni SJ, the renowned Italian artist of St Aloysius College Chapel, Mangaluru. He has designed and created many  statues for a majority of the churchs in and around Canara district. Apart from a brilliant sculptor, he was also a renowned theatre personality and a musician. As an artist, perhaps, Simon’s hour of glory came when he was called upon to retouch the immortal national art monuments of Brother Moscheni in the St Aloysius College chapel. His dedicated efforts and talent bought him clients from the UK, USA, Italy, Belgium, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Malaysia.

The art house considers skilled workers as an asset and selects artisans with special family oriented skills from many parts of India. There are also a wide range of trained technicians to meet the many peripheral operations involved in this art process. Despite the age of modernity, people in Southern India especially Goa, Kerala and Kanara demand old-style statues with modern materials. They take around 2-3 months to complete a 10-feet statue and use technology to aid them in their procedures. 

Merline Rasquinha, the daughter-in-law of Simon Rasquinha is also synonymous with beautiful terracotta artefacts in Mangaluru. She is a true social worker, having helped many girls from poor backgrounds. She is also instrumental in training handicapped girls from Cheshire Home in this particular art and also offers help to rehabilitate mentally-ill people and alcoholics.

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