Get over beaches, art takes centre-stage in Goa

Panaji, Dec 17 (IANS) Think of Goa and what instantly comes to mind are exotic beaches that draw tourists from around the globe but the premier edition of a multi-disciplinary arts festival has provided a perfect blend of theatre, music, craft and visual arts alongside an opportunity to interact with industry stalwarts and leading art connoisseurs in this sunny city.

The first edition of Serendipity Arts Festival kicked off here on Friday with a wide array of some of the most enthralling art and photography exhibitions, display of craft work and captivating musical performances.

The festival commenced with the Serendipity Arts Conclave hosted by Ranjit Hoskote which saw leading art connoisseurs come together to deliberate on “What should an arts institution of the future in Goa look like?”

Throwing in their subjective views based on their professional expertise and experience, illustrious artists, poets, scholars and historians such as Maria Aurora Couto, Arshia Sattar, Tishani Doshi, Aneesh Pradhan, Mortimer Chatterjee, Shukla Sawant, Manisha Patil and Rahaab Allana came together to delve on the subject.

The day also witnessed some installations such as “The Power of Art” at The Old GMC Compound, put together by Katharina Kakar from the Tata Trust where a group of 10 children, including two who were blind, brought together a fresh way of experiencing and accessing art that touched upon all the senses.

A captivating display of Goan costumes was brought together at The Adil Shah Palace by renowned Goan fashion designer Wendell Rodericks. The session, “Ten Histories”, decoded the mythology and traditions associated with each of the showcased costumes.

“Lucid Sleep”, a unique performance art project curated by Goa’s HH Art Spaces Foundation featured live performances that blurred the line between visual and performing art, to create an immersive space for audiences. This featured Uriel Barthelemi, Bhisaji Gadekar and Yasmin Jahan Nupur.

A fair spread of musical and dance performances across multiple venues of the Kala Academy and D.B. Ground here has given an all new definition to the otherwise exotic city.

On Friday, for instance, a specially curated performance by Sanjeev Bhargava brought forth an extraordinary amalgamation of dance styles in Pravaha, performed by Leela Samson, Priti Patel and their respective troupes.

The performers responded to the idea of life, preservation and conservation using the river as a narrative. Adding to the fervour was a musical performance, “Living Traditions”, a concert of Hindustani classical music which was curated by Shubha Mudgal. The performance featured Murad Ali, Kaushiki Chakraborty and Mohammed Akram.

The series of events and exhibitions continued on Saturday.

The Adil Shah Palace witnessed photography exhibitions such as “Old Homes, New Homelands”. This exhibition was based on the private collection of Arminio Rebiero. The photos exhibited aimed to encapsulate the Goan Diaspora experience from their geographical clusters.

“Our Eyes, Our Stories” was another exhibition which included six qualified photographers from across the globe who, through their unique photography told stories of the connection between man and nature, issues of identity, metaphysical realm of individual existence and the grief of the rape survivors and victims in India.

Serendipity Arts Festival is the first of its kind, multi-disciplinary arts event that celebrates the diversity in art with a special focus on music, dance, theatre, crafts, visual arts, and culinary arts.

The ongoing festival has transformed Goa into a celebration of music, dance, theatre, visual arts, and culinary arts on the banks of river Mandovi over a 1.8 km stretch. Visitors are seen engaging in a host of activities, interacting with acclaimed artists and attending exhibitions among others.

The eight-day event will continue till December 23 at various venues like Adil Shah Palace, Gracia de Orta garden, Old GMC Complex, Kala Academy, Football ground, SAG ground and Campal bungalow.

(Saket Suman is in Panaji at the invitation of Serendipity Arts Festival. He can be contacted at