The views expressed in my book on Souza back in 1962 I still hold to be true. As an Indian brought up in strictly Roman Catholic Goa, he inherited twin cultures which could hardly have been further apart. The contrast haunted his imagination - Hindu gods made love, whereas the Christian god was crucified. Here were Souza's twin icons. Intense joy and intense grief - they permeated his art.
There are so many threads woven into it: Indian temple sculpture and miniatures, Spanish religious painting, Grünewald, Titian, German Expressionism, Soutine, Picasso's 'Guernica', even the salacious wit of Thomas Rowlandson - because irreverent humour was another feature of his work, as it was of the man himself. I can still hear his infectious laugh. I am reminded of a day spent with Francis in Paris in the 1960's in the company of a French friend of mine who for some reason asked him what he liked specially about Hamlet. Without hesitation Francis answered 'Yorick', who of course only appears in the play as a skull! That was typical of Francis. And indeed there are a lot of skulls in Souza's art, as well as a lot of joyful flesh. Love and grief kept close company in Souza's world.
(Correspondence with Edwin Mullins, March 2010)