Serendipity Arts Festival, Goa – Dec 2018

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It was the third edition of Serendipity Arts Festival last year in December (2018) from 15th to 22nd, turned the Goan capital – Panaji into an engaging public art space. From recreating a market place in a park to dramatizing the “Mahabharata” using puppetry, the “Charpai Project” where you get to know about the traditional woven bed used in the Indian subcontinent since 500 years, singing retro Bollywood songs, coke studio, classical music to jazz tunes, the eighth-day-long event has celebrated all things, ordinary and nostalgic, alike. India’s first multi-disciplinary arts event, with over 90 dynamic projects highlighting the country’s rich traditions of music, dance and theater, alongside culinary arts, craft, and visual arts exhibitions. Goa’s biggest and largest Arts Fest that brings and introduced us to the best artist of India. Like how the Festivals and Beliefs are the strong root of its Heritage and Tradition in India, the Arts is playing the backbone of India along with the Economy. Art in any form, be it music, writing, painting, photography, craft, theater, calligraphy, dancing, singing and much much more. Art is an ultimate healer one could really ask for. Art is everything you need currently to survive in this crazy world 🙂 

There were over 90 different and magnificent projects including Music everyday to end the day and we (me and my mother) had literally missed so much!! We could only attend last two days and we did our best.

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I want to share some of the brilliant, outstanding projects I witnessed. Literally short for words for the creativity level they have. Some of them are so touching that you feel your life is different. They are the ones who have choose the road less traveled by.

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VENUE: ADIL SHAH PALACE

EPHEMERAL: New Futures for Passing Images by Sukanya Ghosh and Uzma Mohsin

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetThe history of photography in India presents some unexplored and unexpected gaps. One of the most understudied concepts is that of ‘vernacular’ photography – a term often applied to quotidian images, which in India, given its colonial connotations, has been amended by visual anthropologists such as Christopher Pinney with the term mofussil, or that which lies outside the center and besides the strictly metropolitan. The colloquial referencing of ‘vernacular’ focuses heavily on that which is ‘native,’ as distinguished from the ‘national.’ Hence, the focus on local, community-oriented, marginalised zones that may represent elided traditions come to the fore as viable parameters within which the term is broadly understood. Ephemeral seeks to broaden the engagement with the term ‘vernacular,’ in both subject and representation, in order to think about how, with overlapping histories today, we can enhance our understanding of a lens culture around the subject.

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STARS is a multidisciplinary research collective which aims to investigate the history of Tamil studio photography between the 1880s and the 1980s as well as to protect and promote the rich and vulnerable productions photographic productions.

At the heart of the S.T.A.R.S. collective is the creation of the first archive of Tamil commercial studio photography.

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THE SACRED EVERYDAY: Embracing the Risk of Difference curated by RANJIT HOSTOKE

‘the sacred everyday’ – the interrelationship between the domain of the divine, iconic, cosmic and sublime on the one hand, and the realm of the human, intimate, domestic and quotidian on the other.

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This interrelationship is articulated through ritual and festivity, vernacular translations, and the interplay of the sacred and the profane – which, in Indian culture, are not stark opposites, but two dynamic and interactive poles on a sliding spectrum of possibilities.

This model allows for the articulation of numerous local cultural realities, and for the celebration of the unique practices that they have generated and nurtured – whether the transgressive popular iconographies of Kalighat and the ‘art studios’ of 19th-century Calcutta, with their cheeky reinterpretations of Hindu mythology; or the luminous sanctity of the Indo-Lusitanian Catholic sacred art of Goa, which is not reducible to any European or Indian ‘originals’ but marks a particular and distinctive form of religious imagination. Translation, transmutation, and transfiguration are all vibrantly at work in these historical situations.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with hb2 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetOne of the key commitments of The Sacred Everyday will be to blur the constraining and unproductive distinctions that separate the ‘ancient’, ‘mediaeval’, ‘modern’, ‘contemporary’, ‘urban’, ‘folk’ and so forth – these academic conveniences have come to dictate our way of looking at cultural production, and cultural producers, in ways that are profoundly damaging and destructive both of aesthetic experience and political engagement.

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The blood red of ‘HIBISCUS RIVER’ by SMIRI DIXIT

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THE CHARPAI curated by AYUSH KASLIWAL

If one were to imagine a single piece of furniture that is truly Indian, it would be “The Charpai”, a rectangular wooden frame having four legs (hence the word char pai), with a woven fiber/ fabric as the surface. It is used across the Indian subcontinent, particularly in the hot and relatively dry regions of Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Maharashtra. The variant in the wet climates have a solid wooden surface.

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The project aims to explore the charpai from a historic and cultural point of view, and simultaneously carry it into the future by inviting leading thinkers and designers to interpret the charpai, and present it at the festival. The thematic extension of the charpai is achieved by placing them in multiple locations, positioning it in creative ways, thereby encouraging use as well as recognition of the charpai as furniture that is relevant and unique to India.

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The History:

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Different types of charpai:

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The Projects:

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The workshops:

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***The other exhibitions has features the photographic practices of seven contemporary artists in South Asia — Anoop Ray, Avani Tanya, Chandan Gomes, Chinar Shah, Indu Antony, Natalie Soysa and Sachini Perera, and Sohrab Hura.

LIFE IS ELSEWHERE  by SOHRAB HURA

A deeply personal project from Indian photographer Sohrab Hura focusing on his relationship with his mother who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 1999.

Life is Elsewhere is a journal of my life, my family, my love, my friends, my travels, my sheer need to experience all that is about to disappear and so in a way I’m attempting to connect my own life with the world that I see with a hope to find my reality in it. Life is Elsewhere is a book of contradictions and of doubts and understandings and of laughter and forgetting in which I am trying to constantly question myself by simply documenting the broken fragments of my life which might seem completely disconnected to one another on their own. But I hope that in time I am able to piece together this wonderful jigsaw puzzle called life. And this journey will perhaps lead to reconciliation with my own life.” – Sohrab Hura

You can zoom the picture and read what is written. He had wrote it on the wall.

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PROJECTING THE SRI LANKAN WOMAN by NATALIE SOYSA AND SACHIN PERERA

“Key issue such as rape, abortion, political discourses around women’s bodies and woman’s place in Sri Lankan society are depicted via ll three of the country’s main languages. It is a visual and conceptual narrative on the journey of the Srilankan woman as she navigates through ideas of place, space and rights, a sensual quest of the female form as a figure of beauty as well violation. It is hence an attempt at irony.” — Natalie Soysa and Sachini Perera

Photographic Prints & Projection |2013

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THERE ARE THINGS I CALL HOME by CHANDAN GOMES

“I grew up with things, objects. I started understanding people, in some cases defining them, through objects. Despite photographing my own house, I felt like an outsider.” — Chandan Gomes.

Photographic Prints & Book | 2009-2012

Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetProcessed with VSCO with hb2 presetProcessed with VSCO with hb2 presetProcessed with VSCO with hb2 presetFor me, this looks like a drawing book wall. A lost story of a child finding a way out thru draw anonymous things on a wall and write the first word coming in his mind. The perception towards pictures are so different that you are going to have second thought about all things you see. The scribble art telling a strong message that our mind is the most powerful creation by God, use wisely.

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THE SNAPPED ROPE AND OTHER STORIES FROM THE NEW BANGALORE by AVANI TANYA

snapped_rope_gallery“A personal collection of objects and stories found locally, that attempt to tell a multitudinous tale of the city… a geographic and emotional terrain navigated by city dwellers in their daily encounters.” — Avani Tanya.

Photographic Prints & Objects | 2012

This is the part from an interview of Avani Tanya for The Ladies Finger by Sharanya Gopinathan | October 28, 2013

The Snapped Rope and Other Stories From the New Bangalore deals with objects that you believe capture the essence of Bangalore. Is this a personal reflection of what the city is to you, or did you try to select objects that would be relevant to anyone who knows or is in the city?
I chose to use objects and stories from the public or shared spaces in order for this project to be an outward examination of the physical city. I spoke to various people from different walks of life and had conversations about what it means to live in a city like Bangalore. Yet, it is a personal reflection because I chose only the objects and stories that interested me personally. So, in a sense, this is a combination of personal experiences and shared ideas.

FRIENDS AND THEIR FRIENDS by ANOOP RAY

“They are from a personal space of my world. These images come from relationships, not observation. This body of work is my dairy, my relationships and my history” — Anoop Ray

Photographic Prints | 2006-2017

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VENUE: OLD GMC BUILDING

THE DELHI WALLA by  MAYANK AUSTEN SOOFI

It is very unlikely that in the world of photography or writing you have never been introduced to or ever stumbled upon one of the India’s great artist Mayank Soofi AKA The Delhi Walla. He have captured Delhi streets in a way no one ever did on his instagram and twitter. A short caption he wrote makes the photograph means something you get attached into. He ain’t from Delhi, but I bet he knows Delhi streets more than a local Delhi guy knows (probably he knows the streets more than a local police or thief’s. Just Kidding!!).

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VOIR LA MER 2011 by SOPHIE CALLE

“In Istanbul, a city surrounded by the sea, I met people who had never seen it. I filmed their first time. I took them to the Black Sea. They came to the water’s edge, separately, eyes lowered, closed or masked. I was behind them”. — Sophie Calle.

SPICE LAB by RAHUL AKERKAR

Spice Lab, a workshop curated by restaurateur Rahul Akerkar, we explored how spices such as dry rubs, wet grinds, oil tempering and infusions are combined while cooking.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetSpices can say a lot about a culture’s cuisine and are used in a wide variety of savoury and sweet foods. Using a little spice can make the most basic recipes taste new and interesting. Spices come from the bark, buds fruit, roots, seeds or stems of various plants or trees. (An herb, on the other hand, is from the leafy parts of plants that do not have woody stems. They can be fresh or dried. Dried herbs have a stronger flavour than fresh but lose their strength quickly).

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We explored spices essential to everyday cooking, how to substitute spices, which herbs and spices give you a boost and how to track your herbs’ freshness. The visitors were allowed to make their own spices and take back home. It was such a wonderful experience. A month long, I used that Goan spices in my food. I met people from different continents and made few friends during this workshop. Learned about their culture, their city, the town they live, the food they eat, the spices they use, their habits. I guess this is the part of this Festival 🙂 the world comes together under one roof and you become the Global Citizen for real 😀

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The Spice Lab was under the big tree and the decoration was pretty good. Many have left notes under tree.

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TRADITIONS AND CELEBRATIONS – Enjoy food prepared for local festivities of Goa by Odette Mascarenhas, Joanna D’Cunha and Sangeeta Pai Dhungat

Through melodies, stories, and rangoli derived from food powders, Joanna D’Cunha and Sangeeta Pai Dhungat introduced us to the traditions and different kinds of celebrations in Goa which was followed since Portuguese time. Joanna act as the Portuguese neighbor who visited Sangeeta Pai’s home during the Goan Festive time. The preparations started early in the morning till evening right from the making meal from scratch and later at night the feast begin.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetI was one of the participant who act as a guest at Sangeeta Pai’s home. Feast consisting of a variety of traditional vegetarian dishes served on a banana leaf and a Konkani summer drink, Sol Kadhi. It is a delicious recipe of a digestive drink made of kokum (a plant of the mangosteen family) which is a refreshing. The kokum fruit is largely produced in this Konkan region and used as an astringent or souring agent in many of the specialties of the area. This Solkadhi uses coconut along with kokum and the drink is either had with rice or consumed as a digestive beverage at the end of a meal.

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Odette Mascarenhas is a food historian and critic, author and television host. Her stint as the food & beverage manager at the Taj Group of Hotels has helped her define a keen palate towards the nuances of different ingredients used in food preparations.

Her ninth book, The Culinary Heritage of Goa, brings alive the kitchen tradition of Goan households all around the state. She has followed the culinary journey of Goa down the ages, from the times of the Chalukyas, Kadambas, the Vijaynagar Empire, the Muslim Bahamani Sultanate, the Portuguese rulers, to the present times and how it is all reflected in the evolution of Goan Cuisine. The book has won the Best in the World for Historical Recipes and Best Self Published Book in India at the Gourmand World Cookbooks 2015 awards. She is the co-founder of the Goan Culinary Cluba non-profit venture which strives to preserve the authenticity of Goan cuisine and researches lost recipes of the past with local chefs and restaurateurs.

VENUE: PWD COMPLEX

PANJIM 175

The heritage city of Panjim has a unique cultural and social history, both within the context of the former Estado da India Portuguesa (1510 -1961) and the post-Liberation period as the capital of India’s smallest state. 2018 marks the 175th anniversary of the ascent of the riverside urban entity to the status of “urbs prima” in the territory, as well as within a vast maritime arc that stretches from Mozambique to Macau. The traders of the city and its nascent institutions were entirely global in their outlook and ambit, which is another difference between Panjim and so many other small cities scattered throughout the subcontinent.

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MYSTICAL DIVINE GRACE: THE SEVEN SISTER GODDESSES by SONIA RODRIGUES SABHARWAL

Features large portraits of the seven sisters who are worshipped as goddesses in different parts of Goa. They are Lairai in Shirgao, Mahamaya in Mayem, Kelbai in Mulgao, Morjai in Morjim, Shitali who walked in the Arabian Sea, Anjadipa who continues to wander around the Earth in search of the divine, and Milagres who converted to Catholicism and is venerated in Mapusa. The Milagres Feast day is celebrated by both Hindus and Catholics. Devotees worship Milagres by pouring oil on her statue, traditionally a Hindu practice.

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NOVA GOA – TRADE CENTRE OF THE WORLD by SANDESH NAIK

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VENUE: SANTA MONICA JETTY

RIVER RAGA – vocal by ADITYA KHANDWA |curated by SHUBHA MUDGHAL 

This was soothing! A beautiful sunset cruise along the river Mandovi with a series of curated classical music concerts. Wind touches your face and the music calms your mind. The cozy view of the Mandovi bridge. Also I get a chance to meet the legend Shubha Mudghal ji and took an immense courage to ask her for a photograph (I said ‘an immense courage’ because generally I never take a selfie or ask for a photograph to any celebrities. I just love meet them and have a short conversations. Appreciate their work and listen to them).

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VENUE: KALA ACADEMY

A DOUBTFUL GAZE AT UBER AT MIDNIGHT by SIDDHARTH MENON | curated by ATUL KUMAR

Saket (Siddharth Menon), a self-proclaimed ‘anti-national’ has called an Uber to reach home at midnight. Saket gives directions to the Uber driver, but the driver is understanding what he is saying. Meanwhile, Suna, a self-proclaimed ‘urban Naxal’ is caught watching pornography at Saket’s house, and the Narcotics Department has discovered the marijuana plants at Saket’s house. As midnight gets metaphorically darker, we realise that the roads Saket was way home Saket was trying to describe never existed. Perhaps the Uber driver doesn’t exist either. This was an original piece commissioned for Serendipity Arts Festival.

Sometimes while I overthink about any situation, this play comes to my mind. We live in such a chaos world that the inner voice tend to get lost sometimes. Would love to watch this play again.

VENUE: DB GROUND

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SERENDIPITY SOUNDSCAPES PRESENTS MAVERICK PLAYLIST curated by ANEES PRADHAN, composed by SUBHA MUDGHAL | SINGERS: OMKAR PATIL and PRIYANKA BARVE | 21-DEC-2018

It was outstanding!! Omkar and Priyanka won the audience heart. The magical flute and saxophone played by Omkar was the best I heard in a while ❤ The best concert I attend till date. Goa Vibes are so much positive and soothing. Can we have the concert in Ahmedabad please? Anyone from the crew reading this? Universe, please help!!

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COKE STUDIO FEAT. CLINTON CEREJO | VOCALIST: BIANCA GOMES and SUDEEP JAIPURWALE | 22-DEC-2018

Ah! That “Banjara” song still plays in my head. You can listen the song here.

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THE FAREWELL – SAF 2018 VOLUNTEERS

Sunil Kant Munjal, Founder, The Serendipity Arts Foundation wants the festival “to become a catalyst for change — for artists, the community, the public and the country, impacting daily life and ultimately changing the way we interact and respond to creativity and the arts across demographics.” He said, “The festival is a platform for underrepresented and emerging artists, and also presents the curatorial vision of some of our country’s most esteemed cultural practitioners.”̣

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You can watch the video highlights of 8 days fest here. Browse till end you will get it. 

That’s all for now folks!! Time to say good-bye with a promise to come back with another post super soon!! Until then, keep reading, explore new places and have a great Sunday!! and for those who have holiday tomorrow on the eve of Mahashivratri, happy long weekend ya’ 🙂 Don’t forget to share the post. Thank you.

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