Bringing accessibility to the core of a multi-disciplinary arts festival
The Serendipity Arts Festival, now in its fourth year, returns to Goa from the 15-22 December with over 100 compelling projects including exhibitions, performances and immersive art experiences. This year the Festival will take place across 10 venues in Panaji, Goa highlighting the 7 core disciplines including Craft, Culinary Arts, Dance, Music, Theatre, Visual Arts and Photography with over 1500 artists. The Serendipity Arts Festival 2019 is India’s first multi-disciplinary arts event committed to creating tangible change across the country’s cultural spectrum by engaging the public and increasing awareness of how art can impact society, whilst generating interest in public art projects across India.
In its previous edition, the festival attracted more than 4,50,000 visitors and activated 1500 artists creating significant impact and contributing to the cultural regeneration of Panaji, Goa.
An initiative of the Serendipity Arts Foundation, founded in 2014 by Mr. Sunil Kant Munjal, the Festival still stands as the only art event in the country that unites the creative disciplines. The fourth edition is designed to create a balance between artistic rigour and accessibility of contemporary art to foster cultural development and showcasing performative, visual, and culinary practices supporting artists across South Asia.
“The fourth edition is designed to create a balance between artistic rigour and accessibility of contemporary art”
“Serendipity Arts Festival 2019 which is scheduled to take place from the 15th -22nd of December in Panaji, Goa for the fourth time has truly emerged as a people’s festival. Ever since the festival began in 2016, we have been trying to build an ecosystem that supports various arts practices from across the country and the South Asian region. The journey that the festival has made so far not only shows our commitment to the cause but also marks the progress we have made and the impact we have created. Working in close association with our curators and advisors, we will continue to broaden the creative and collaborative horizons of the festival to make it more interactive, immersive, innovative and accessible for everyone”, said Mr. Sunil Kant Munjal, Founder Patron of The Serendipity Arts Foundation about the upcoming edition of the Serendipity Arts Festival.
The first three editions of the event transformed Goa by adding to its cultural and architectural landscape with contemporary art experiences, and received a positive reception from the public, redefining perceptions of the arts whilst also energising arts production, awareness and practice across the country. Projects will unite art forms from different parts of the country, diluting regional divisions and encouraging cross-cultural exchange.
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.
Highlights of this year’s Visual Arts discipline range from Sudarshan Shetty’s curation emphasising the production of knowledge and innovation outside the framework of mainstream institutions, to Dr. Jyotindra Jain’s project, which offers critical viewing of popular Indian imagery at the turn of the 20th century in the construction of its social and national identities.
“Projects will unite art forms from different parts of the country, diluting regional divisions and encouraging cross-cultural exchange”
In the Photography section, exhibitions curated by Ravi Agarwal will explore the concept of staged photography that flits between reality and fiction, focusing on works that employ various sorts of strategies and techniques to tell a story. Rahaab Allana’s trans-media curatorial project draws on the aesthetic ideologies and approaches to image-making and materiality as cultivated by the Bauhaus, which celebrates 100 years in 2019, while looking at lens-based practices in South Asia.
The Dance discipline, curated by Leela Samson and Mayuri Upadhya engages a vast range of traditional Indian dance forms, resulting in a seamless balance between music, dance and drama. Leela Samsons’s projects have a strong focus on gender and identity, while Mayuri Upadhya’s projects emphasise the power of imagination through dance and storytelling, as well as contemporary forms of dance such as hip hop.
Theatre performances curated by Atul Kumar and Arundhati Nag this year are more interactive in nature, with immersive theatrical experiences through the use of alternate spaces, creating interventions in public spaces and offering the audience new ways of creating a dialogue. Exploring the idea of ‘Home’, this year’s projects will also include a series of productions introducing toddlers and infants to the theatre, and will also feature collateral events highlighting the creative presence of marginalised communities.
The Music discipline curated by Aneesh Pradhan and Sneha Sneha Khanwalkar will explore the gamut of musical traditions in India, as well as their sources of inspiration. The stage will be set for a range of concerts featuring international collaborations and home-grown talent. In addition, there will be unique sound experiences across venues that showcases the cross-currents between sound, visuals, space and technology.
Pramod Kumar KG and Kristine Michael curators for this year’s Craft discipline will have a fresh approach as compared to previous editions. Pramod’s project will examine the creation and making of Jamdani fabrics, both in its weaving, choice of raw materials, patterns, designs and the end-product. Kristine Michael’s project will discuss artistic modernism in contemporary ceramics and glass-making practices in India in response to the growing interest and global recognition of non-Western craft.
“Pramod’s project will examine the creation and making of Jamdani fabrics, both in its weaving, choice of raw materials, patterns, designs and the end-product”
Curated by Rahul Akerkar and Prahlad Sukhtankar, in the culinary arts section of the Festival, visitors will explore various aspects of sustainable living and practice in the Culinary Arts section. With multiple workshops, collaborations and events with a focus on local produce and regional flavours, the Festival moves away from the idea of food being a means to sustenance and discovers the different possibilities of food.
About this year’s edition Ms. Smriti Rajgarhia, Director, Serendipity Arts Festival said, “We are quite excited about the festival programming this year. We have some interesting projects lined up for this year and a couple of new venues as well. The fourth edition of the festival hopes to bring many diverse voices to the fore from across the South Asian region. From archives, experimental pieces to commissioned pieces, we are furthering our mandate of creating a robust program that is accessible and inclusive for everyone. At the same time we are making a focused effort towards giving all our visitors a better, smoother and more immersive experience at the Serendipity Arts Festival’19”.
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 Show runs from the 15th of December up until the 22nd of December.
Feature Photo: Urubhangam directed by G. Venu and curated by Arundhati Nag at PWD for the Serendipity Arts Festival 2018, Goa.