‘Bigger and better’, Serendipity Arts Festival opens Saturday

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Panaji, Dec 14 (IANS) Turning the spotlight on Indias rich tradition of music, dance, theatre, culinary arts, crafts, and visual arts through 90 diverse projects, the third edition of the Serendipity Arts Festival will open on Saturday with the participation of over 1,500 artistes.

The multi-disciplinary event, which has carved a niche for itself in India’s festival circuit over its past two editions, aims to “bring art to public and move away from galleries and museum spaces alone”.

Serendipity Arts Foundation Director Smriti Rajgharia promised visitors an upscaled affair this year, and maintained that art enthusiasts can expect to be spoilt for choice with a variety of experiences across disciplines.

“This edition has grown in scale. We have more projects, different curators and new venues. This time around, we have many more artists, collaborators and many more international artists as well.

“We have commissioned a lot more work, with an emphasis on the performing arts,” Rajgharia, who also oversees the Foundation’s annual Dharti Arts Residency, told IANS in an email.

The eight-day festival will engage audiences in 13 locations across Goa’s capital — including some public spaces like the DB football ground, the historic Adil Shah Palace, the old Public Works Department, and the Old Goa Institute of Management.

“Many of the Festival venues are spaces that are only recently being looked at as interesting spaces for the public to engage with art. These were selected for their unique layouts or architecture, as well as being accessible spaces for general audiences to enter.

“(They) are infused with a history of their own, and as a result, add to the ambience of the projects, while being inviting to the public,” Rajgharia said.

But, why Goa in the first place?

Rajgharia said that while most people may think of Goa as a place for “sun, sand and holiday”, for the organisers, Goa is an “extremely interesting cultural hub”.

“Its location, its multi-cultural history, its climate all contribute to an environment that is conducive to making, talking about and showcasing the arts. (We) wanted to move away from some of the obvious metropolitan hubs, and focus on a Festival which gave the audience something from everyone.”

What also makes the Festival interesting is its list of curators, released earlier this year, which features noted names from each field selected.

They are Rahaab Allana and Ravi Agarwal (Photography); Ranjit Hoskote and Subodh Gupta (Visual Arts); Rahul Akerkar and Odette Mascarenhas (Culinary Arts); Leela Samson and Ranjana Dave (Dance); Atul Kumar and Arundhati Nag (Theatre); Aneesh Pradhan and Sneha Khanwalkar (Music); and Annapurna Garimella and Rashmi Varma (Craft).

The festival will also host special events to celebrate the 175th anniversary of Panaji (previously Panjim) through creative and community-focussed projects.

An intriguing line-up of dance, musical and theatrical performances, visual arts and photographic exhibitions, and events surrounding crafts and the culinary arts await the audiences, who can access most of the festival venues without cost.

Serendipity Arts Festival will run from December 15-22.

–IANS

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