Friday, December 23, 2016

Serendipity Arts festival 2016 | An immersive arts experience in Goa

Goa is a preferred place among artists and art lovers. It sure has the vibe - the chilled out evenings at the beach and morning in the verandah working! May it be conventional artists, painters or fashion designers and writers, Goa is a favourite among a plethora of people. BUT not once did Goa host a major art festival. There sure are a series of exhibitions and other festivals, but nothing major - nothing worth mentioning about.. Nothing worth remembering!

Serendipity Arts Festival 2016 did leave a trace of what Goa was in need of. A bit of performing arts, visual arts and culinary arts brought together under one roof - under one amazing banner - Serendipity! With forty projects, fourteen amazing curators facilitating dialogues at eight venues across the sunny capital city of Panaji for eight days, Serendipity Arts Festival sure did live up to the expectations of many art lovers who came down from far and wide.

Yes! Eight different venues, starting from the magnificent Adil Shah palace facing the Arabian Sea, the shady Jardin Garcia D'Orta, the breezy Mandovi promenade, the vintage Old GMC complex and courtyard, Delhi Art Gallery, Kala Academy, Bandodkar Ground and SAG Ground - all within a few kilometres of each other, but all unique in their own ways giving the festival delegates a taste of real Goa.

There were so many exhibits, workshops and performances for delegates. However, one couldn't finish all of them if one had to focus on just a few of them. Adil Shah Palace itself had over a dozen exhibits ranging from paintings, photographs and clothes all day during all eight days of Serendipity Arts Festival. I shall mention a few that caught my attention.
Edge of Faith, a series of black and white photographs by Prabuddha Dasgupta, captures Catholic Goa in a haunting, but beautiful impasse — caught in a time warp between comforting nostalgia and a doubt-ridden, insecure future. Our Eyes, Our Stories was an interesting photographic presentation - from straightforward documentary to the staged and constructed, from representational to experiential – in an endeavour to hold up a mirror to our ever-changing, complex and often troubled societies.

Wendell Rodricks Ten Histories: Goan Costumes was an showcase i was looking forward to and it sure lived up to my expectation. It's a narrative about the rich legacy of Goa beyond the reputed beaches and famed natural beauty of a splendid land. He brought to the Serendipity Arts Festival ten objects related to Goan costume that are not mere museum objects. Each has a story worth recounting. A history about Goan mythology, Gods, people, customs, traditions, festivals and folklore.

Old Homes, New Homelands was based on the private collection of Arminio Rebiero who has been collecting family photographs from the late 19th and through the 20th century as various branches of the family spread out across the world – Goa, Mumbai, Karachi, Africa, Europe, etc.
 Selfie: A Self Portrait curated by Dinesh Khanna was another interesting project. The participants could upload their photos on Instagram, selected entries were showcased at the festival.
Lucid Sleep curated by HH Space was a performance arts project held at Adil Shah Palace. The artists indulged the audience in their performance throughout the day. Jeetin Rangher from Bangalore was spotted cuddling with audience in the courtyard, transferring energy in the process, as a result of which the people left relaxed and calm.

Kala Academy and Bandodkar Ground saw a series of live performances - traditional and western music and dance throughout the eight days. Talatum: A contemporary adaptation of The Tempest was presented in the traditional circus format throughout the eight day event. The food trucks were another highlight!
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