Image Credit: Face to face by Gigi Scaria, for Serendipity Arts Festival 2018
In a world of binaries, the arts are often divided into categories of accessibility. The bifurcation across what caters to the mainstream and what is more suited to the limited few who ‘truly’ appreciate art, hampers the overall perception, reception and propagation of the industry. In this larger narrative, India does not only look at making a mark amidst contemporary art movements, but has to simultaneously preserve and foster its rich bank of cultural heritage.
This is where Serendipity Arts Festival (SAF) bridges the gap and helps bring together a community, creating a broader and inclusive ecosystem for the arts space in the country. Established in 2016 by Sunil Kant Munjal, it is an outreach programme of Serendipity Arts Foundation. SAF is India’s largest multi-disciplinary arts festival, featuring performative, visual, and culinary practices, over an 8-day festival in Goa. It brings together the best of creative minds from across the nation and abroad, presenting a world of innovation, opportunity and creativity for the masses.
Since the first two editions, the Festival has commissioned over 70 new works across the visual arts and performance disciplines, bringing together more than 1300 artists and artisans for 120 projects and hosting over 4,00,000 visitors. This year the Festival will showcase 90+ projects, featuring over 1500 artists, spread across 10 venues in the cultural landscape of Panaji, Goa from 15-22nd December.
The Festival brings forth the innate essence of Goa, contradictory to the contemporary understanding of it just being a hub of beaches, cafes and clubs. There is so much more to Goa, masked in its rich and unique heritage, imbibing tradition and modernity in the same weave. Missed by most visitors, Panaji is a hidden jewel, safeguarding a layered history that becomes the perfect canvas to paint a story of the evolution of arts in our country.
The Festival hence lays a special focus on Goan heritage and culture. This year it brings a mix of Goan craft workshops, and exploratory walks traversing the ecological spaces of Goa. Also featuring a recreation of the lately disappearing Goan market- Tinto, a culinary workshop on Feni, musical cruises at Mandovi and more!
Moreover, it touches upon a myriad of traditional and contemporary cultural themes, through the lens of relevant social issues like ecology, sustainability, gender, equality, sexuality, marginalisation etc. It will also showcase a variety of classical, indigenous and folk art forms, while laying a special focus on propagating them through interactive workshops! In its endeavour to take art to the masses, special theatrical performances will take place in off-beat intimate spaces like homes, restaurants etc., along with art coming to the public through performances and street art. SAF hopes to bring people together across generations, geographies and genders- all for the love of art!
Strongly committed to arts education and offering equal opportunities, the festival organises multiple dance, culinary, and photography workshops that facilitate awareness and innovation in their respective fields. In addition there are symposiums touching upon themes like the relevance of art residencies, evolving practices in the performing arts, art practices in South Asia etc. The festival also has an accessibility project that makes art accessible for the differently- abled members of our community, featuring walks and workshops for all ages.
Serendipity Arts Festival promotes new creative strategies, reasserting the value of arts’ patronage resulting in the creation of productive artistic interventions and cultural partnerships. These programmes and projects are designed to foster cross-cultural exchanges and collaborations with institutions across the 7 creative disciplines.
In a world where Indian art forms are increasingly interacting and being adapted by the western counterparts, there exists a dire need for channelising the soft power of our country in an organised manner. The arts present an untapped potential to enhance the country’s economic and political strengths, for long-term development is incomplete without leveraging the power of arts! With such a hope to ignite the very essence of our country, bundled in its art forms and to spread it amongst the larger public, Serendipity Arts Festival is a catalyst that promotes innovation and collaboration, while also working towards preserving the rich cultural heritage of India.
This free cultural space hopes to welcome a wide spectrum of audiences from 15-22nd December in Goa.
Click here to register for the festival for free and curate your own experience!