The fourth edition of the Serendipity Arts Festival (SAF) kicked off on 15th December, 2019 and ended on 22nd December, 2019. The festival has made a significant impact in India’s art scene with each edition with a showcase of over 100 dynamic multidisciplinary art projects every year SAF is spread across various venues in Panaji, Goa, the capital of the coastal state that is already famous for sun, sand and the sea is now drawing eyes in the spectrum of art.
SAF, with its eight-day festival format brought together performative, visual, culinary arts from India and beyond in the most extraordinary ways and also explored fields like film, fashion and literature. Founded by Sunil Kant Munjal, chairman of Hero Enterprise, SAF serves as a platform for many emerging as well as renowned artists to showcase their work and collaborate to create more art. The numerous panels at the festival feature are not just artists and curators, but academicians and art support organisations from across country and abroad.
Smriti Rajgarhia, Director, Serendipity Arts Foundation and Festival, introduced the festival to the attendees by giving emphasis to the importance of arts and culture in society today, nurture artistic integrity and diversity in the art projects at SAF, and commitment to accessibility and arts education in India.
Here’s a art round-up of the most appreciated multidisciplinary arts at the festival:
‘Music in the Park and River Raga’ curated by Aneesh Pradhan and Sneha Khanwalkar
The musical performances were divided into two venues; Music in the Park, where musicians performed rock, jazz, funk, indie among many other formats and the River Raga, a platform for open air classical performances. The curators ensured a collaboration between the modern and the traditional musicians hence bringing something new for the local audiences. SAF saw various fusions between folk, classical and modern music by Bollywood playback singer, Rekha Bharadwaj, veteran jazz artists Braz Gonsalves and Louis Banks, multi-instrumentalist Karsh Kale, Goan vocalist-guitarist Aviv Pereira among many others.
‘Performing Arts: Theatre and Dance’ curated by Leela Samson, Mayor Upadhya and Atul Kumar
The dance performances got a unique venue inside an old circus tent pitch don the DB grounds and in a multi-level garage. It was an amalgamation of contemporary and classical dance forms in India; givingstage to folk forms as well like Thapppattam, Oyilattam, Chhau, Mayurbhanj, Yakshgana, and Seraikella. A seminar was also organised on sexuality in art traditions and was followed by performances thatquestion the representation of male, female and transgenders in art traditions. Theatre shows like‘Photo-Copy’ by Niketan Sharma looks at a family that has recently lost a family member and ‘EidgahkeJinnat’ a controversial play on the issues Kashmir is dealing with even today were received well bythe audience.
‘Counter Canon, Counter Culture’ curated by Nancy Adajania
Nancy Adajania came up with a unique series of dynamic art works challenging the histories of Indian art from the year 1940s and onwards. It brings on the pedestal the collection of censored or undocumented artists whose talents were inappropriate according to the censoring standards of the mainstream thought when it was made. Among the most well received works were the animation sequence from Satyajit Ray’s ‘GoopyGyneBhagheByne’, real life magical moments of the illusionist PC Sorcar, posters of Uday Shankar’s concerts that were too woke for its time were among many other visual narratives.
‘Look Outside This House’ curated by Sudarshan Shetty
The most sought-after art project at the festival turned out to be Sudarshan Shetty’s ‘Look Outside This House’. It brought together humane connections between artists and their creations and explored the cultural connotations of the times and society we live in. Exploring various perspectives and analysing them is what defines art and this project served as a mirror reflecting the idiosyncrasies of the society through medium of art. The art objects at the display ranging from weaponry made from automotive parts by a community of Bihar, solar panel heaters made out of mirrors by tribal, an allusion of congested space in Mumbai that is crammed up with grimy bunkers of a brothel where sex workers share intimacy with strangers, and also a one of a kind hybrid air cooler powered by terracotta were the key highlights of this project as it celebrates the kind of art that arises out of innovation and need of the people.
‘Mundo Goa’ curated by Vivek Menezes
Vivek Menezes has been a regular curator at SAF; this year for Mundo Goa- 40 artists came together and reinterpreted Goa’s famous azulejo tile in contemporary ways, FN Souza ’s grandson celebrated the unsung heroes of Goa with his street art, noir illustrations from popular graphic novel pages by Amruta Patil were also exhibited as a tribute to her favorite artists from around the globe. Overall Mundo Goa explored the art coming from the Konkan coastline.
‘Culinary Arts’ curated by Rahil Akerkar
Chef Rahul Akerkar from think Indigo and Qualia in Mumbai in collaboration with Goa based restaurateur PrahladSukhtanakar conducted talks, workshops and tasting sessions with a focus on local produce and authentic regional flavors. Culinary workshops to learn making Goan bread, shopping at the farmers’ market, tasting locally grown fruits and vegetables like Mahua fruit were among the most engaging activities at the culinary arts format.