The Goa Open Arts festival, a new artist-driven programme to galvanise the creative community of Goa took place at Don Joao Lawns and Heritage House, Nagoa, last month. The festival was an addition to Goa’s cultural calendar and was conceptualised with an aim to contribute towards establishing it as an artistic hub of India.
The festival idea grew out of the observation that Goa has attracted a disproportionately large number of creative people – artists, musicians, designers, writers and others. Moreover, Goa has traditionally had music talent and the art scene has been invigorated by other large festivals and initiatives. The Goa Open Arts festival was incepted to bring together this resident creative community, both established as well as emerging artists, in a format that is unfettered by curatorial guidelines and open to all artists to apply with their proposed work. The intention has been to encourage and provide a platform for creating new work and for artists to retain control over what and how they show. The festival featured art, music, poetry, performance, dance, and immersive installations – all in one venue. Many of the artworks were specially created by artists for the festival. Some highlights included a selection of work by Goan printmakers including Walter D’Souza, Leticia Alvares, Viraj Naik, Sripad Gurav amongst others; a photo-installation by up and coming artist Nishant Saldanha; sculptural installations by Rajendra Mardolkar of the Goa Artist Collective and ceramicist Thomas Louis; art performances by Nikhil Chopra and Bhisaji Gadekar and more.