Goa, renowned for its culture and picturesque landscapes, is not just a tourist destination but also a hub for creativity. The Goa Open Arts Festival, an initiative by a group of independent creative practitioners, has been playing a crucial role in fostering the artistic community in the state since 2020.
Founded by a collective of artists, designers, curators, and photographers who call Goa home, the Goa Open Arts platform aims to build an inclusive and open space for Goa's creative community. The focus is on supporting, invigorating, and bringing together the diverse and ever-growing creative talent residing in Goa through exhibitions, artist grants, workshops, interactive sessions, and community-centered projects.
At the heart of the festival lies the commitment to being a truly homegrown celebration. The organizers emphasize their dedication to showcasing the artistic wealth that resides within the state, contributing to making Goa one of the most exciting cultural hubs in the country.As the anticipation builds for the another edition of the festival from February 23-28, 2024, at the historic Maquinez Palace in Panjim, the organisers, Goa Open Arts, invite locals and tourists alike to experience the essence of Goa's diverse creativity.
The festival's flagship event, the Goa Open Arts Festival, boasts an extensive program that spans visual arts, music, spoken word, performance, and films. The historic Maquinez Palace (Old GMC) in Panjim serves as the vibrant backdrop for the festivities, attracting a significant footfall of visitors – tourists, students, and local residents alike.
The visual arts exhibition, a central component of the festival, features over 30 artists working across various media. From sculpture and print to performance, the works on display capture the essence of Goa's artistic heritage and contemporary culture. Notable artists, including Pradeep Naik, Swapnesh Vaigankar, and Rajendra A. Mardolkar, showcase their creations alongside emerging talents like Bharat Sikka, Vinita Barretto, and Chetan Morajkar.
The music stage, curated by Aviv Pereira, promises an unforgettable experience with original performances by Goa-based artists. From acoustic sets by singer-songwriter Jenn Steeves to jazz by the Karan Khosla ensemble and legendary performances by Ash & Maria Chandler and Susmit Sen Band, the musical program ensures a lively and diverse atmosphere.
Sachin Chatte leads the film screenings, offering a global cinematic journey with a focus on films set in Goa that address local socio-political issues. The inclusion of a screenwriting workshop by Anjum Rajabali adds an educational dimension, catering to film enthusiasts and aspiring screenwriters.
Curated by Rochelle D’Silva, the poetry stage celebrates Goa's emerging spoken word and poetry scene. Performances in English, Hindi, and Konkani reflect the diverse population of Goa, encouraging audience participation through open mic sessions, poetry circles, and writing workshops.
Insia Lacewalla curates the food and pop-up market, highlighting Goa's status as a culinary hub. Attendees can indulge in a range of flavors and foods crafted by homegrown chefs, pâtissiers, and baristas, creating a gastronomic experience that complements the overall festive spirit.
The venue, the historic Old GMC and Maquinez Palace, strategically located in the heart of Panjim, is expected to draw a diverse audience. Goa Open Arts prides itself on being a platform that welcomes audiences of all age groups and backgrounds, fostering a family-friendly environment.
As the festival approaches, the organizers are launching a crowdfunding campaign to support their goals. By supporting this initiative, patrons contribute to promoting creative practices, fostering artistic interest in the community, engaging local school children in art education programs, promoting local heritage, and enhancing Goa's reputation as a growing artistic and cultural hub in the country. Ultimately, the Goa Open Arts Festival seeks to leave a lasting legacy through media coverage and documentation, providing a platform for artists and enriching the cultural fabric of Goa.
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