Simon Sylvester Rasquinha - the Founder
Although he started working single-handedly at the rented work premises near Milagres church, Mangalore, with the passage of time, Simon had to employ and train a handful of skilled local youth to help cope with the increased volume of business. The work area being insufficient to handle especially large-size statues, Simon moved the business premises in January 1951, to the spacious new Office & Works building in his own large house compound in Angelore. The workshop at Milagres was converted as a Sales Depot of Simon & Co. for religious articles.
The increased amount of workspace and skilled manual labour prompted Simon & Co. to produce statues and art pieces of all sizes, in Terra-Cotta, Plaster of Paris and Cement Concrete, for both indoor & outdoor use. The superior quality of the products, coupled with prompt & honest business dealings, brought about a fine reputation and a consistent demand for Simon & Co. products which, in due time, found a place in churches & institutions across India, and also in Burma, Malaysia, Singapore, Ceylon, East Africa, the Middle East and Europe. The statues of saints & national leaders, paintings of church Sanctuaries and wood carvings of Crucifix figures were acclaimed by some, as comparable to Italian artworks, and Simon & Co. became an institution of rare repute.
Arthur Paul Rasquinha - the Second-Generation Mentor
In May 1973, Simon made over the business to his talented elder son Arthur, who had the makings of an able successor. After completion of his High School, Arthur trained for one year under L. K. Shevgoor, a master painter of Mangalore, and on completing his university studies in 1968, he worked under his illustrious father in Simon & Co. for five years, and learnt the ropes, before taking over the business.
Pursuant to the changes in Church Liturgy brought about by the II Vatican Council, there was a growing need to provide Sanctuary items like Mass altar table, Ambo, Tabernacle stand, Lecterns, Celebrants' seats, Baptismal fonts, etc. in a stable form. Arthur decided to meet this need and started in Simon & Co. annexe, a subsidiary unit called SimonArt Marble which, ever since May 1975, has been providing not only requisite Sanctuary items, but also, entire Church floorings in high polished Marble, Granite, and Limestone. This mechanised unit of processing stone slabs is regarded as the first of its kind in coastal Karnataka.
Arthur's wife Merlyn - a product of the famous J J School of Art, Bombay - has the distinction of being the first qualified Commercial Artist of Mangalore. Also, she founded & ran in the annexe, a unique business called SimonArt Pottery, which produced fine pieces of terra-cotta Art Pottery & Jewellery that became popular.
In 1995, in keeping with modern technology, we started making Fibre Reinforced Plastic (Fibreglass) statues for the first time in Mangalore, which became popular. Apart from the business that we used to receive regularly from Churches all over India & abroad, we also started receiving occasional orders from the Indian clergy serving in South & North America and Australia. However, the increasing scarcity of skilled labour threatened the continuance of our labour-intensive industry, and Arthur was compelled to get a handful of statue artisans from North Indian states.
Ashwath Rasquinha - the Third-Generation Sculptor
Ashwath, being a qualified Artist and Sculptor himself, took over the business from his father, Arthur, on May 1st. 2010, and has carried forward the tradition of fine statuary ever since! He has been instrumental in introducing newer technologies processes, mechanical tools & equipment in the statue production process, and created the infrastructure necessary for the same, thereby saving precious time & labour.
Ashwath designs, sketches and conceptualizes art for Churches. He has a flair for the golden art ages, the Renaissance, and merges old and newer forms to create traditional, yet modern designs.
Further, to train and retain craftsmen, he has made available all the necessary facilities. Today, we are proud to have a cohesive group of artists & craftsmen trained in our studios to bring you only the finest art and sculpture.