Goa is more than its sandy beaches, though its histories, arts, architecture and diverse communities rarely get their dues. As people from across the country throng to the ‘Sunshine State’ to bring in the new year, another cultural takeover is currently happening in Panaji, or Panjim as it’s also known, and you really don’t want to miss it. The Serendipity Arts Festival, a multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary event is being hosted in the Panaji from December 15th to the 22nd, bringing together a spectrum of artists, musicians, craftsmen, performers and more, curated by eminent artists and stalwarts from the respective fields.
This eight-day long immersive experience has a vast array of workshops, performances, events and exhibitions with 1500 artists’ work to choose from – it can get a bit overwhelming. We’ve put together our recommendations for things you just can’t miss this year. Events and showcases, which are free and open to all, are taking place across 10 different venues including Kala Academy Goa, Adil Shah Palace, Children’s Park and the Santa Monica Jetty, to name a few. You can view the complete schedule at the Festival’s website here.
Visual Arts & Photography
Including mediums like performances and film, this year’s programme of Visual Arts at the festival has been curated by Ranjit Hoskote. Like the previous year, this year’s Festival showcases emerging artists from the subcontinent in Young Subcontinent. Immerse yourself in The Sacred Everyday, which examines how elements of the divine leak into the rituals of daily life in India, with exhibitions from collections of the Charles Correa Foundation, Museum of Christian Art, Sunaparanta Centre for the Arts, Sarmaya Collection, Swaraj Art Archive, to name a few, and artists like Ghulam Rasool Santosh, Priya Pereira and Youdhisthir Maharjan, and more.
Be on the look out for street art projects by St+Art Goa, a special project by St+Art India Foundation, and the Senses 3.0 with Siddhant Shah which includes workshops for the differently abled, making art accessible to all. Curated by Rahaab Allana and Ravi Agarwal, hop by Ephemeral: New Futures for Passing Images in the Photography showcase.
Dance & Theatre
Leela Samson and Ranjana Dave have curated an incredible programme for Dance, as have Atul Kumar and Arundhati Nag for the Theatre showcase, many of them even overlapping in medium such as Akshayambara and Agent Provocateur. Many of the performances and shows, such as Queen-size and Lavani Queens...Double Mazaa! explore gender, fluidity, sex and sexuality.
Parayan Maranna Kadhakal (Untold Forgotten Stories) is a workshop production that you really don’t want to miss. The Gentlemen Club produced by The Patchworks Ensemble is a cabaret-like show involving music, dance and play by drag performers set in Mumbai, too will be an experience you never forget.
Th curation this year by Rashmi Varma and Annapurna Garimella focuses on local crafts of Goa in a specially designed space, continued from last year. Be sure to keep a look out at Art Park (Children’s Park) and Adil Shah Palace for The Charpai, that will be exploring this very Indian piece of furniture from a historical and cultural perspective and seeing how we carry this tradition forward. There will also be a number of craft workshops taking place for people across age groups.
Rahul Akerkar and Odette Mascarenhas have put together a unique food experience through curated workshops for the Festival this year. Mr Akerkar’s Spice Lab is a multi-sensory experience for participants to explore the variety of spices and their uses as dry rubs, wet grinds, oil tempering, infusions, and more. He will be conducting coffee roasting workshops where you can learn more about brewing techniques. There are also beer tastings and home-brewing sessions with John Eapen and Apoorv Ranade.
Aneesh Pradhan and Sneha Khanwalkar have brought together a variety of genres and forms for this years Music showcase. You get a chance to look through history with the exhibition Revolutions Per Minute: Early Hindustani Music Recordings by Goan Musicians which looks at the legacy of Goan musicians, their journey in the industry and their career in the age of gramophones. Sounds in My Head is a surreal experience, a sound museum of sorts broken up into sound spaces, aimed at triggering the sense and your physical being. It uses technology to bring the science of sound, changing the way we experience music.
There will be a host of musical performances across genres – you can take a sunset cruise with classical music along the Mandovi river with River Raga, or enjoy Music in the Park with performances in different styles at the Art Park everyday.