A festival in a vaddo


Danuska Da Gama

GoaPhoto is an international photography festival that will be held from December 6 to December 8, in Aldona, a quintessential Goan village that holds a rich historical and material culture in Bardez.

Curated by Akshay Mahajan and Lola Mac Dougall, the venues of this unconventional festival include private residences where traces of the Portuguese presence in the region can still be found.

The exhibitions are site-specific and span a small area of a chosen village so that visitors are given a rare opportunity to access these homes while visiting this walking festival.

There will also be four-day masterclass organised in collaboration with Magnum Photos at Thinkering, Nachinola. Besides, this year the Travelling Library will offer a selection of titles on travel and photography published by Humboldt Books in a setting designed by Josmo and populated by their furniture creations.

The festival is open to all and includes exhibitions, walks, meals, workshops (even a workshop for kids organised in collaboration with the Alban Couto Reading Room and Bookworm Library), talks, etc.

Excerpts from an interview with Lola Mac Dougall

Q. Tell us how this festival will be unique and different.

GoaPhoto is an international photography festival held every two years in Goa. It is an unconventional festival as its venues are private residences. The exhibitions are site-specific and span a small area of a chosen village – in this edition, the beautiful village of Aldona – so that visitors are given the rare chance to access these homes while visiting this walking festival.

Q. What is the aim of the festival?

The aim of the festival is to promote awareness of international trends in photography, and create links between Goa and the rest of the world in the field of photography. We are bringing a panel of experts, who will be advising, free of cost, photographers who have registered for this one-on-one session called ‘portfolio reviews’.

We have partnered with Magnum Photos, and their photographer Olivia Arthur will guide a group of participants through a four-day masterclass organised in collaboration with the agency. There is one scholarship reserved for a Goan photographer. The festival highlights Goa’s unique heritage and ways of living – because the homes or venues continue to be lived in and used as residences, the project proposes an innovative approach to working with ‘living heritage’.

 Q. Why have you chosen Aldona for this festival?

Aldona, a quintessential Goan village nevertheless globally linked, was once known for its wealth and, as a result, holds a rich historical and material culture.

Both Akshay Mahajan (the co-curator) and I are based near Aldona, a village which nobody can deny is Goa at its most charming. We are regulars there, as some friends are based in the village. Since we could count on the access to these homes, we thought we should put to use that initial advantage and the list of home-venues has eventually grown to six. The idea of a walking photography festival is very dear to us, and our area of intervention is restricted to a particular ward (vaddo) Quitula- we jokingly refer to this edition of GoaPhoto as #afestivalinavaddo.

Q. How different is this edition going to be?

Aldona, Through Family Eyes is one of the most important projects in this coming edition. It is an artistic exploration of vernacular photographs from Aldona, a village not only rich in history and in personal anecdotes but, also a valuable legacy of photographic archives. The aim here is to offer a glimpse of these riches and to also re-interpret them.

In the first stage, in collaboration with a Portuguese anthropologist presently working with Goa University, Pedro Manuel Pombo, informal family ‘archives’ are explored through a recording of oral histories, collected regardless of the holders’ social and religious background. We hope that a history of the village will slowly emerge through this exploration. The images will be digitised and made available online.

In the second stage, this archive will work as a ‘primer’ to which artistic interventions will be added. Indian photographer Akshay Mahajan, in collaboration with the anthropologist, will artistically interpret those vernacular images and create new imagery, using the archive alongside domestic objects and family memorabilia. Portuguese artist, Angela Berlinde will also intervene in the images by creating new painted photographs.

In this edition, we are also exploring the relationship between food and photography and we have three exhibitions exploring that subject. Also, Edible Archives (one of the hits of the latest Kochi Biennale) is another highlight. It will take place in one of our most beautiful venues: The Condillac-D’Sa family sala. This is the setting we offered to Chef Anumitra (chef and founder of Edible Archives). Her brief was to curate a meal for the festival using some of the local produce, to create a farm-to-table communal meal that celebrates both visual and palatable memories.

Detailed Programme


Curator’s walk. Meeting point: House of Contemplation.

Humboldt Books meets Photocaptionist 3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Rahul Srivasta House 4:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

D’Sa House 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Boom and Bini House 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Kokum House 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Avani Tanya 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.


Location: Moira Club. Vijai Patchineelam in conversation with Hemant Sareen.

The Photographs of Sambasiva Rao Patchineelam: A Collective Reading. 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Simon Brugner’s The Arsenic Eaters. 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Anne Golaz’s Corbeau. Live performed reading with projection followed by a conversation with Federica

Chiocchetti 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Closing party at Moira Club 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.


Location: D’Sa Residency. Presentation of Aldona

Through Family Eyes project With Melvyn Mesquita who uncovered the curious tale of the S S Britannia.

12:30 p.m. to 1:10 p.m.

Offset Pitara Event: Guftgu Jari Rahe. Kaamna Patel and Avani Tanya in conversation 1:10 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Pop up lunch by The Edible Archives at the sala of the D’Sa residency 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Visiting Hours: 10:00 am – 12:30 pm and 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. | House venues

(To register contact Ayeesha: 70834 62035)