Panaji: Serendipity Arts Festival 2019, one of India’s biggest multidisciplinary arts initiatives, is back with its fourth edition in Panaji, Goa. The Festival is set to take place in Panaji, Goa from 15 – 22 December and will include over 100 dynamic projects showcasing visual, performing and culinary arts projects.
The festival is organized for eight days across 12 iconic venues in Panaji, which will transform the city into a vibrant cultural space with multiple exhibitions, performances and immersive art experiences involving over 1500 regional and international artists. An inclusive and collaborative creative platform, Serendipity Arts Festival is focused on creating and fostering a thriving artistic community across India and developing interdisciplinary creative dialogue. The festival, known for exhibiting art from the South Asian region, will see larger participation of artists across South Asian countries and performers from around the world.
Addressing the press conference this morning, Ms. Smriti Rajgarhia, Director, Serendipity Arts Foundation & Festival, said, “The fourth edition of the festival hopes to bring many diverse voices to the fore. From archival shows to experimental projects, from commissioned work to performance art, we are furthering our mandate of creating a robust programme that is accessible and inclusive for everyone. We are coming back with a vision to bring attention to the arts and make it a part of our daily lives. We hope to present a holistic set of programmes that will engage audiences and become narratives expressed through the voice of creativity and innovation.”
Thanking the patrons, partners and curators, she further spoke about the programming of this year’s Festival to the Goa press emphasizing the importance of arts and culture in our society, and the Festival’s commitment towards making arts accessible to all, as well as the diversity and artistic integrity of this year’s projects.
Much emphasis was given to the Festival’s commitment to the sustainability of the arts and the environment this year with a focus on sustainability and eco-friendly practices. These will include alternative drinking water stations, biodegradable cutlery, segregated waste bins, accessible across venues and workshops. Some of the Culinary Arts projects will also focus on sustainable food practices of the region.
To further cut down on carbon footprints and use of paper, and to give a smoother experience to the festival visitors the Serendipity Festival App was launched recently. Along with that, there will be Touch-pods with programme details and other important information available at each venue, for ease of navigation and wide creative and digital inclusion, while also encouraging people to use the shuttle service to visit and travel in between the venues.
The commitment in renovating old building continues with erstwhile Blood Bank this year, previous year’s included The Adil Shah Palace, the Old PWD Complex and the Old Goa Institute of Management. The Festival is also keeping with their pursuit of exploring non-proscenium spaces by using an old circus tent and customized black box-like spaces for theatre, music and dance programmes with riveting line up of regional and international performance artists.
Alongside the many initiatives, the Foundation undertakes, in the last two years there has been a concerted effort to focus on writing in the arts. This year, the collaboration with HarperCollins India which is resulting in a series of research and writing from the Festival programmes titled Projects/Processes. There will also be a dedicated space at the Old GIM for people to browse publications from this initiative as well as its blog on art writing, titled Write | Art | Connect.
Ms. Swati Salgaocar, Patron, Serendipity Arts Festival, “It is not often that one gets to be associated with an initiative like the Serendipity Arts Festival and I commend Smriti and her entire team for working tirelessly to ensure that not only do we as Goans get a chance to experience superlative visual, musical, theatre, dance and culinary artists on an international scale, but also over the years they have really made the effort to promote Goa and Goan diaspora artists. This year I am particularly excited to see projects like Mundo Goa and Goa Familia which explore facets of Goan art that have never been displayed in the state before. Serendipity Arts Festival is something that all Goans should wholeheartedly support because year on year it has been pushing the boundaries of what it really means to be an art festival while also highlighting various heritage structures and purpose-built venues to showcase particularly the performing arts in a unique way”.
The line-up of curators for 2019 includes Craft: Pramod KG, Kristine Michael | Music: Aneesh Pradhan and Sneha Khanwalkar | Theatre: Atul Kumar and Arundhati Nag | Dance: Leela Samson and Mayuri Upadhya | Culinary Arts: Rahul Akerkar and Prahlad Sukhtankar | Visual Arts: Dr. Jyotindra Jain and Sudarshan Shetty | Photography: Rahaab Allana and Ravi Agarwal.
Projects will be further activated by diverse collateral programming including panel discussions, children’s programmes, and workshops for the differently-abled. These initiatives are an integral part of the Foundation’s key mission of making the arts accessible and developing arts audiences both in numbers and in diversity. Unique activations in the core disciplines of Craft, Culinary Arts, Music, Photography, Visual Arts, Dance and Theatre, intend to invigorate dissipating and marginalised traditional art forms, whilst the more contemporary projects will address significant social issues.
The Festival this year has special projects to promote Goan cultural heritage. Vivek Menezes, special projects curator, will curate Mundo Goa, a project that explores and celebrates the coming together of international artists from the Goan diaspora. The project will pay tribute, and highlight the infinitely varied ways of being and belonging, that artists, writers and intellectuals derive from this unique cultural scenario. Participating artists include Amruta Patil, Antonio E Costa, Aruna D’Souza, Anjali Arondekar, Brendan Fernandes, Solomon Souza and Sergio Santimano.
Additionally, Lina Vincent and Akshay Mahajan in association with Rahaab Allana will be curating a large scale project called Goa Familia, which sets out with the objective to chronicle the socio-cultural footprint of Goa and Goans through family archives.
Culinary Arts curator Prahlad Sukhtankar is curating the Farmer’s Market, an initiative to showcase agricultural produce intrinsic to the sustainability of the Goan region. There is also a community project titled Nhoi, meaning river in Konkani, curated by Rhea D’Souza & Elizabeth Kemp.
Along with the creative aspects, the festival also aims to have a broader spectrum of engagement, offering complete accessibility to the arts and greater creative inclusion through a number of workshops and Special Projects like Senses 4.0 by Siddhant Shah. These workshops will be a combination of tactile art, workshops, curated walks and activities aiming to make the festival more accessible to differently-abled visitors and school children from the locality.
The 100 projects this year will be accompanied by a series of Special Projects curated by Nancy Adajania, Anurupa Roy, HH Art Spaces, Harkat Studios, St+art India Foundation, Aradhana Seth and Vidya Shivadas, among several others.