Serendipity Arts transforms Goa into an effervescent space

Goa was transformed into an effervescent cultural space with multiple exhibitions, performances and experiential arts experiences involving over 1500 artists as the 2018 edition of Serendipity Arts Festival came to a close yesterday. There was a huge turnout of over 350,000 visitors across venues during the three-day festival. Over 90 dynamic projects showcasing the visual, performing and culinary arts, across 10 venues in Panaji transformed Goa into a cultural hotspot, a release issued here today said.

“Serendipity arts festival has added to Goa’s growing reputation as major cultural center of the country and given a big boost to tourism for Goa. Many have benefited from Serendipity Arts Festival, beyond just the art lover, to the public and has become a platform for them to experience all forms of the arts,” Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said.

Thanking Mr Sunil Kant Munjal, Chairman, Serendipity Arts Foundation, the CM said retailers, hoteliers, restaurants, taxis etc. have all benefited. This is a star event for the growing reputation of Goa as a cultural center for the sub continent. “I would like to thank Mr. Sunil Kant Munjal and Serendipity arts festival for coming back to Goa for the third time. Goa wholeheartedly supports them and we hope they will continue to come here and make this the permanent home for the Serendipity Arts Festival.”

Smriti Rajgarhia, Festival Director said, ‘This edition of Serendipity Arts Festival has been a huge success, with impressive turnout from the locals in Goa and global engagement from more world leading institutions than ever before. Our vision for the festival is based on creation, introspection and collaboration. We wish to build and strengthen an ever-growing platform that accommodates India’s and the region’s intangible heritage. We hope to reposition this heritage in a manner that makes it both contemporary and inclusive.’

Mr. Munjal said one of the key objectives at the Serendipity Arts Festival was to unite the country through the arts.

The Goan public, and culture enthusiasts visiting the city from across the world were treated to an impressive array of programming including visual arts exhibitions at Adil Shah Palace, large-scale photography and craft installations across public spaces, children’s music performances, panel discussions, film screenings, culinary workshops, outdoor theatre performances, held in the Panaji Municipal Market and the Kadamba Bus Terminus as well as dance and music performances in the evening in Kala Academy and DB Football Ground.

The programming for Visual Arts and Photography this year offered visitors a wide spectrum of projects, each considering a distinct tenet of artistic practice, from collections, archival images and historical works, to diverse performances and street art. Visitors were exposed to international artists furthering the Festival’s objective of promoting cross-cultural exchange and fostering global dialogue via the arts. The programming also responded to conversations within global contemporary art, evolving the dialogue on creative practices, and policy within the wider arts community via panel discussions and workshops, whilst also addressing key issues and concerns in India’s society.

Visual arts curators included Ranjit Hoskote, Rahab Allana and Ravi Aggarwal who each presented a different facet of the visual arts and lens culture through their selected works. Exhibitions were displayed alongside special project initiatives including St+art Goa by the St+art India Foundation, Out of Turn curated by Asia Art Archive and Meenakshi Thirukode and an international Film Programme curated by Sabeena Gadihoke.

This year’s theatre and dance events focused on gender issues, as well the LGBTQ+ community, examining the challenges and pressure of heteronormative societies, considering their impact on contemporary India. Several projects confronted the laws questioning the legitimacy of diverse sexualities, examining effects on artistic practice, looking at the work of LGBTQ+ movements across the country, and their role in mobilising public awareness and community consciousness about equal and fair rights for citizens. Projects such as Spotlight on the Margins, featuring the performance Parayan Maranna Kadhakal, and accompanied by a panel discussion and film, were held alongside productions of Queen-size, Gentlemen’s Club and Lavani Queens… Double Mazaa! Which also addressed these themes.

This year’s dance and theatre programmes also had a particular emphasis on traditional folk arts and dance, curated by Chennai based Bharatanatyam dancer, choreographer, instructor and Padma Shri recipient Leela Samson and Ranjana Dave, Odissi dancer and arts writer. The dance discipline at this year’s festival engaged almost all traditional forms of Indian dance. The projects had an interdisciplinary focus and intended to explore interrelationships between the performing and visual arts, venturing into alternate spaces, and emphasising gesture and the body.

Dynamic Music programming at the Festival, included a performance by Grammy Nominated LA based artist Raja Kumari and the innovative project Museum of Sounds in My Head curated by leading Bollywood Music Director Sneha Khanwalkar. One of the highlights of the Festival’s music programming was the River Raga, conceived by guest curator Shubha Mudgal.

The Insides Speak.