Serendipity Arts Festival, is all set to present a series of inter-disciplinary activations to energise Goa with various exhibitions and an engaging display of art. The Festival, open to all, is going to be bigger and better than its last edition with 120 plus projects, 500 plus artists across 14 venues, spread across Panaji, skirting the Mandovi river. The Festival will continue to uphold its fundamental values of sustainability, inclusivity, and accessibility. The projects in this edition are curator-led and not discipline guided, states a press release.
Serendipity Arts Festival, happening between the 15-23 of December, hopes to be a festival that aims to bring joy through arts. The festival in its fifth edition will be taking the arts beyond the white walls and prosceniums.
Spread across a patch of Panaji skirting the river Mandovi, with the Old GMC Complex at its heart, the Festival locations have been strategically chosen for their historical value, natural beauty, and affinity to the arts. The initiatives undertaken by the festival are set to transform these venues into spaces where audiences from all walks of life can experience the wonders of the arts in new and exciting contexts—an endeavor that will turn the Mandovi waterfront into a hub of cultural activity. With its close-knit networks and practical commute options, Serendipity Arts Festival promises to be accessible to all. The festival will continue to base its ideas on sustainability, inclusivity, and accessibility with a marketplace focusing on homegrown, sustainable products and workshops and for all generations with a special focus on persons with disabilities and children’s programs.
The programming for this edition is spread across Exhibitions, Performances, Workshops, Public Arts and Talks and Book Launches.
Curating the section on Craft, Pramod Kumar KG will highlight the world of specialist books on the art history of India through a uniquely immersive exhibition, and Anjana Somany will enliven the world of craft and its rich traditions of materiality through space-making. Quasar Thakore Padamsee will helm the Theatre segment of the Festival that will showcase an eclectic selection of plays; Prahlad Sukhtankar will curate the important Culinary quotient of Serendipity Arts Festival through a series of workshops decoding food as we know it.
Bickram Ghosh and Ehsaan Noorani will curate Music with a wide range of live concerts covering a multi-genre range of classical, folk, indie pop, and rock. Geeta Chandran and Mayuri Upadhya will put together classical, experimental and contemporary dance performances and workshops this year. Visual Arts curators Sudarshan Shetty and Veerangana Solanki will showcase filmmakers who operate and explore the post-pandemic transition from the virtual to the physical.
Speaking about being back in Goa for the Festival, Smriti Rajgarhia, Director, Serendipity Arts Foundation and Festival, said: “We are excited to be back in Goa for the 5th physical edition of the festival. We have made sure that the festival remains accessible and inclusive to all. Our curators have put up a great line-up of projects from across Goa and the south Asian region that would place Panaji in the global art map, as the host to the biggest art hub in the world and we are inching towards that with each edition”.
The festival on all days would have a free shuttle service running across venues, for ease of conveyance. Also, if one needs medical attention, there will be first-aid response teams at all venues of the festival. For ease of access there are several temporary ramps and rails that have been installed across sites. To keep the queue management quick and efficient, the registrations have been moved online. Also, each venue will have its own water points and the details of the venue manager at the registration desks, for assistance. Along with that all emergency service numbers will be listed at all venues, to help contain emergency situations.
Speaking about the need for cultural events in the city, Rohit Monserrate, Mayor, Corporation of the City of Panaji, said: “Culture is the basis of our being and it’s the food for one’s soul, the need multiplies when you apply this to Panaji and Goa. The role of cultural festivals like Serendipity Arts Festival is immense as it not only activates creative avenues but also supports an entire economy, especially the tourism industry which is a crucial source of job creation in Panaji.”
In addition to the core programming, many Special Projects have been lined up, including a collaborative exhibition between 4 galleries; a special archival exhibition by Dr. Jyotindra Jain and Jutta Jain Neubauer; an international collaboration between Rahaab Allana & Pascal Beausse (CNAP, France); an exhibition on NFTs; and film screenings curated by Harkat Studios. The festival aims to give much-deserved exposure, a collaborative platform to produce a sustainable environment for contemporary arts and crafts and to highlight the shared cultural heritage of South Asia by building a strong alumni network of artists across the globe.
Also present as a panellist, Mrunal Nikett Walke, General Manager of Entertainment Society of Goa, said: “This festival gives exposure to the people of Goa to the world of creativity, culture, heritage, various forms of Art and caters to all age groups from students to the professionals and has contributed in its own ways towards the State. This festival has helped in taking a steady step towards achieving our vision of making the State of Goa an art, culture and entertainment hub on the national and international platform.”
The scale of the festival this year is set to outdo its previous editions in terms of the depth of concepts being explored in the programming. A great contributor to that has been the institutional collaborators like the Institut Francais India, CNAP (Centre National des Arts Plastiques), Paris, Jeu De Paume, Paris, Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands, Istituto Italiano Di Cultura, who have come on board as partners owing to the festival’s collaborative and liberal approach to actualize a string of projects at the 5th physical edition of the Serendipity Arts Festival. The festival aims to preserve the cultural mosaic, replete with diversity, that has shaped South Asia’s many identities over the decades.
The Festival will also feature the works of the Serendipity Arts Foundation Residents and Grantees from 2021-22.
The Festival aims to give much-deserved exposure, a collaborative platform to produce a sustainable environment for contemporary arts and crafts and to highlight the shared cultural heritage of South Asia by building a strong alumni network of artists across the globe.
In its fifth year, the Serendipity Arts Festival will explore ways to enhance public engagement with the arts and boost the soft power of the nation by making art and culture a part of everyday conversations.