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SAF returns for fourth edition

Arts will take centre stage in and around the capital city in the coming week as Serendipity Arts Festival returns with an exciting eight-day programme

The fourth edition of the Serendipity Arts Festival (SAF) is all set to return to Goa from December 15 to 22. Featuring over 100 dynamic projects across the visual, performing, and culinary arts sphere, it will involve over 1500 regional and international artists.

Accompanying these will be a series of special projects curated by Nancy Adajania, Anurupa Roy, HH Art Spaces, Harkat Studios, St+art India Foundation, Aradhana Seth and Vidya Shivadas, among several others. Like always, the festival will involve a larger participation of artists from South Asian countries apart from performers from around the world.

The eight-day festival will be held across 12 venues in Panaji, which includes Children’s (Art) Park, Panaji; DB Ground, Panaji; Institute Menezes Braganza, Panaji; Multi-level Parking, Panaji; Old GIM, Ribandar; Old GMC, Panaji; Old PWD Complex, Panaji; The Adil Shah Palace, Panaji; Panaji Promenade; SAG Ground, Panaji; Santa Monica Jetty, Panaji, and St Inez Creek.

 “We are very excited to be back with the fourth edition of SAF. I feel Panaji is a home for the arts. There are many things to look out at the festival from archival shows to experimental projects, from commissioned work to performance art. We are furthering our mandate of creating a robust programme that is accessible and inclusive for everyone,” said director, SAF, Smriti Rajgarhia. She added that the festival will also focus on sustainability and eco-friendly practices. These will include biodegradable cutlery, segregated waste bins, etc, which will be accessible across venues. Some of the culinary arts projects will also focus on sustainable food practices.

To further cut down on carbon footprint and use of paper, the Serendipity Festival App was also launched recently. “Along with that there will be touch-pods with programme details and other important information available at each venue, for ease of navigation and wide creative and digital inclusion. We also encourage people to use the shuttle service to visit and travel in between the venues,” added Rajgarhia. The commitment to renovating old buildings will also continue.

The line-up of curators for 2019 includes, craft: Pramod KG, Kristine Michael; music: Aneesh Pradhan and Sneha Khanwalkar; theatre: Atul Kumar and Arundhati Nag; dance: Leela Samson and Mayuri Upadhya; culinary arts: Rahul Akerkar and Prahlad Sukhtankar; visual arts: Jyotindra Jain and Sudarshan Shetty; photography: Rahaab Allana and Ravi Agarwal. There will also be a number of special projects, panel discussions, children’s programmes, and workshops.

Among the special projects focusing on Goa are ‘Mundo Goa’ and ‘Goa Familia’ headed by Vivek Menezes; and Lina Vincent and Akshay Mahajan respectively. ‘Mundo Goa’, stated Menezes, explores and celebrates the coming together of international artists from the Goan diaspora. “The project will pay tribute, and highlight the infinitely varied ways of being and belonging, that artists, writers, and intellectuals derive from this unique cultural scenario,” he said. Participating artists include Amruta Patil, Antonio E Costa, Aruna D’Souza, Anjali Arondekar, Brendan Fernandes, Solomon Souza, and Sergio Santimano.

‘Goa Familia’, meanwhile aims to chronicle the socio-cultural footprint of Goa and Goans through family archives. Vincent said that the project is about gathering memories and looking at oral history through the means of the family album. “The family album is such an amazing place because it touches upon a variety of things from history to culture, to commentaries on society, to ecology from a very mandate experiences to really staggering events that take place,” she explained. The exhibition will have some beautiful original pieces as well as objects that Goan families have generously loaned.

Vincent also informed that ultimately all the images and stories that they collect will become part of a larger continuing archive that will not end with this exhibition.

Besides this, culinary arts curator Prahlad Sukhtankar is curating the Farmer’s Market, an initiative to showcase agricultural produce intrinsic to the sustainability of the Goan region. There will also be a community project titled ‘Nhoi’, (meaning ‘river’ in Konkani), curated by Rhea D’Souza and Elizabeth Kemp.

In the last two years Serendipity Arts Foundation has concentrated efforts to focus on writing in the arts. This year, they have collaborated with HarperCollins India for a series of research and writing from the festival programmes titled ‘Projects/Processes’. There will also be a dedicated space at the Old GIM for people to browse publications from this initiative as well as its blog on art writing, titled ‘Write, Art, Connect’.

The festival also aims to be accessible and inclusive through a number of workshops and special projects like Senses 4.0 by Siddhant Shah. These workshops will be a combination of tactile art, workshops, curated walks and activities aiming to make the festival more accessible to differently-abled visitors and school children from the locality.

 (To register for free for the festival, visit the official website)

Serendipity Arts Grants

This year, Serendipity Arts Foundation has started seven grants. Rajgarhia said: “The festival is one of the projects of the foundation. We started seven grants because we wanted the foundation to make a deep rooted impact while the festival makes more of an outwardly impact. We have a grant for a new theatre piece, research, visual and performing arts,  and documenting performance art.”

For Goa they have started four artist grants. “We had an eminent jury that came together and selected these four artists. The intention was to showcase the four artists within Old GIM not together as a show but individual practices,” she said. “The grants are usually used for experimentation so we are not looking for a completely finished product. The idea is with that money they can actually experiment and practice,” she added.  The four artists chosen are Akshay Chari, Rajaram Naik, Nishant Saldanha and Rujuta Rao.

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