SAF goes virtual



One of the most looked forward to festivals in Goa; the Serendipity Arts Festival (SAF) has given lovers of the arts plenty of entertainment and learning ever since its first edition in the state. And while the pandemic may have put a hold on the organising of the physical edition this time around, the Serendipity Arts Foundation is all set to launch a new digital experience called SA Virtual.

Starting from December 4, 2020, SA Virtual will be spread across two weeks and the programming will be hosted and linked from a specially designed website, which will give everyone free access by simply registering.

SA Virtual will feature curated projects, performances, workshops, talks, engagement-based initiatives and discourse around the arts. Some of the curators whose projects will feature are Amitesh Grover, Anmol Vellani, Anuja Ghosalkar and Kai Tuchmann, Kristine Michael and Chandrika Grover Ralleigh, Lina Vincent and artistic collaborator Akshay Mahajan, Mandeep Raikhy, Veeranganakumari Solanki, Siddhant Shah, and more.

Explaining the idea behind SA Virtual, founder patron, Serendipity Arts Foundation, Sunil Kant Munjal says: “Historically, the arts have survived perilous times and emerged stronger because of an innate ability to adapt, acclimatise and evolve. Over the last few months, the internet surge has catalysed this evolution. Through SA Virtual, we have tried to draw attention to the limitless possibilities that arts as a practice and the internet as a medium can offer each other.”

And according to director, Serendipity Arts Foundation, Smriti Rajgarhia, the Foundation has always believed in the power of innovation and creativity. “The pandemic has given us the opportunity to find new avenues and formats for the arts, and an effective way to create greater impact through the power of the internet, reaching out to new audiences while expanding conversations about and around the arts. We have attempted to use the internet as our ‘site’ for artistic journeys, taking it beyond its everyday use.”

One of the highlights of the performances will be ‘My story | Your story | Our story’, curated by Anmol Vellani. This project will have two performances – in live and recorded medium respectively, and an unfinished story.

Another, ‘The Last Poet’, is being curated by Amitesh Grover, as a multilayered art form with theatre, film, sound art, creative coding, digital scenography, and live performance – to be navigated by visitors as rooms and doors leading to experiences. Meanwhile, Mandeep Raikhy’s ‘The Body-in-Movement’ is imagined as an interconnected web of thinking, seeing, making and writing. This curatorial proposition is conceived of as a laboratory that enables a group of artists from across disciplines to think through what it means to move/create/perform in these times, what the digital space has to offer to the emergent discourse of the body, and the ways in which presence/ absence of the body is constructed and experienced within the digital web.

Additionally, the programme features Vertigo Dance Company’s performance ‘One, One & One’, choreographed by Noa Wertheim and a dance workshop, supported by the Embassy of Israel in India. A performance of ‘Introducing… Antigone, Interrupted’ by Scottish Dance Theatre will be presented during the virtual programme, with support from British Council India.

SA Virtual will also offer a selection free workshops and conversations. Highlights include craft artisan workshops like phad, madhubani and gond paintings, guided drawings, inclusive art workshops for children, DIY sensory engagement activities, kite making, scroll painting, sanjhi paper cutting, recipes from Goan restaurants, and much more. Viewers will also get to attend Zoom talks and active engagements around the commissioned SA Virtual project. Conversations also include roundtables on the iconic yesteryears arts and literary journal, The Modern Review that shaped India’s political and cultural discourse as part of an upcoming research project called
‘Text / Matters’, and exploring the print publics of the past and present.

The official hashtag of the SA Virtual will be #PressEnterClick, and the new webpage will carry the essential details about the daily