Carving a niche with Kaavi

From humble beginnings to national acclaim, Sagar Naik Mule reflects the beating heart of Goa and the intense connection between art, soil, identity and human service; and of course, his tryst with Kaavi art

A tree grows strong with its roots deep in the soil, just like how dreams flourish when connected to one’s origins. This phrase rings true when we talk about a young renowned artist Sagar Naik Mule. In the quiet corners of Adpai, where the Zuari River whispers stories, Sagar Naik Mule, found his roots in the embrace of soil. His journey is an echo of simplicity, and identity, and intricately woven with the threads of childhood nostalgia, struggles, and a deep-rooted connection with his homeland. All these things have not only shaped his identity but also redefined the cultural narrative of Goa. Sagar’s affinity for the soil was not a fleeting fancy. It was a lifelong companion. In his early years, devoid of lavish toys, he found reassurance in crafting playthings from mud. The tales spun by relatives about monkeys marrying during heavy rains fueled his imagination, inspiring vivid paintings that hinted at the artist within. Growing up in a modest background, Sagar faced academic challenges, failing in the 7th and 8th grades.

However, these setbacks provided him the opportunity to savour the essence of school life, fostering both maturity and resilience. Resourceful from a young age, he traded his artistic talents for simple pleasures during intervals like samosa pao, illustrating the seeds of his future success. Undeterred by academic setbacks, Sagar pursued a fine arts bachelor’s degree, where he consistently secured the top spot in college. His journey continued into master’s studies, where confusion gave way to enlightenment during a festive season. Feeling the tug of his village’s cultural celebrations while he was away, he translated his emotions into paintings, discovering his true artistic identity.

As the canvas of Sagar’s life unfolded, he encountered challenges, including his mother’s battle with cancer during the covid-19 pandemic. Yet, adversity became a catalyst for creativity, as he embarked on a mission to revive Goa’s traditional Kaavi art. His paintings not only brought positivity during dark times but garnered attention at a national level. The turning point came when Sagar’s commitment to Goa’s cultural heritage caught the eye of none other than Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. An interview on ‘Mann Ki Baat’ catapulted him to national recognition, marking a significant milestone in his desired art journey, further solidifying him as the ‘Kaavi Artist of Goa’, a sentiment that moved him to tears. People elevated him to the status of a hero, and his narrative became a pivotal inclusion in a book titled Amar Chitra Katha, where he made history as the first Goan artist to be recognised. This marked yet another accolade acknowledged by the Indian Government. Notably, the Governor of Goa and his team paid a visit to Sagar’s residence from Raj Bhavan, expressing intentions to host a function in honour of the book. Additionally, he is slated to be featured in an upcoming social studies textbook for students in the state of Goa, underscoring the significance of Kaavi Art. Sagar attributes all the credit for these achievements to the soil, the essence of Goa, and his unshakeable belief in God. Recently, he initiated a meaningful endeavour to give back to the soil that has bestowed so much upon him, dedicating his Sundays to cleaning plastic garbage in various villages. This commitment is seamlessly becoming an integral part of his lifestyle, and his love for the soil intensifies daily, establishing an emotional connection to the land, its people, culture, and country.

Despite his modest financial background, Sagar cherishes the hardships he has faced. He embraces moments of downfalls and views them as integral to his life. This sentiment is reflected in his artworks, propelling him forward. Dreaming has been a constant in Sagar’s life since childhood, and now those dreams are manifesting into reality. He encourages others to wish with sincerity and humility, emphasising that heartfelt intentions have the power to manifest. Sagar’s mission is to make art accessible to people, fostering a connection rooted in genuine feelings and
intentions. He aspires to inspire others, especially dedicated artists, to flourish. Genuine progress, marked by consistent recognition, motivates him. Regular self-reflection, research, and a deep connection with his art drive him forward. Acknowledging that success often follows a trail of failures, Sagar views struggles not as setbacks but as opportunities for growth. This practical outlook, along with balancing hard times and success, is the essence of maturity. Adjusting to challenges and celebrating others’ successes are vital components of his journey. Remaining down-to-earth and humble is the feedback he consistently receives from those who interact with him. His love for humanity takes precedence over his identity as an artist.

In essence, Sagar’s story is evidence of the transformative power of belief, resilience, and a genuine connection to
the roots. As he continues to speak through his art, he hopes to inspire others to celebrate the journey, finding beauty in every moment and embracing the richness of both good and bad days. As he continues his journey, Sagar impresses upon us with a poignant reminder: life’s beauty lies not just in the vibrancy of success but also in
the subtle shades of struggle and growth. In celebrating the journey, embracing both sunshine and shadows, he
encourages us all to find our unique masterpiece, knowing that, like the artist himself, we too can create something extraordinary from the ordinary threads of our lives. After all, in the grand gallery of life, every story, like Sagar’s, is painted with warmth.

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