Celebrating the best of Arts

The Serendipity Arts Festival, now in its 4th year, held in Goa from December 15-22, featured over 100 dynamic projects highlighting India’s rich traditions of music, dance and theatre

River Raga - a Hindustani classical music concert on a ferry cruise along the Mandovi river
River Raga - a Hindustani classical music concert on a ferry cruise along the Mandovi river
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Rohit Bhandiye

Graphic novelist and painter Amruta Patil was quite excited to be in Goa. After all, her retrospective exhibition titled ‘Altar-Mundo Goa’ marked its debut at the Serendipity Arts Festival. The retrospective was of her drawings and paintings representing the past 11 years of her life and other stages.

Patil, who is India’s first female graphic novelist, has got her degree from Goa College of Art, Panaji. “It’s very special,” she says, describing what it feels to be back in Goa. “There are so many fond memories associated with this place. It’s like homecoming.”

Her interest in arts began when she was quite young. In fact, Patil has depicted various stages of her life in this exhibition through her drawings and paintings. “My mother would give me a paper and crayons to play with and I would be writing and scribbling since then. I have shown that in my art when you enter the exhibition,” she adds.

Being a graphic novelist doesn’t mean she just paint but writes as well. While her exhibition features the various stages in her life, her first story ‘Kari’ was an urban contemporary story about young people. Her latest graphic novel ‘Aranyaka: Book of the Forest’ features mythological aspects which uses the Mahabharata and Puranas as a base for her story.

Patil’s work has also been recognized by the Government of India. In 2017, she was awarded the ‘Nari Shakti Puraskar’ by then President of India, Pranab Mukherjee for her contribution to the cause of women’s empowerment.

The Serendipity Arts Festival, now in its fourth year, held in Goa from December 15-22, featured over 100 dynamic projects highlighting India’s rich traditions of music, dance and theatre, alongside culinary arts, craft, and visual arts exhibitions with over 1500 artists. This year, the festival, attended by over a lakh visitors, was held across 10 different venues in Panaji.

The Serendipity Arts Festival also marked the debut of the ‘Farmers Market’. Curated by Prahlad Sukhtankar, the Farmers Market is envisioned as a project that promotes sensitivity and awareness towards sustainable food and its origin. It also aimed at educating people about the forgotten varieties of vegetables and fruits along with showcasing artisanal products.

The Farmers Market also focused on the craft of cooking food with 28 different workshops held at the Inox Courtyard. Well known chefs such as Chef Alfred Prasad, Chef Maria Jose, Chef Thomas Zacharias and Chef Prateek Sadhu conducted workshops on diverse cooking techniques.

Visitors were offered a series of uniquely Goan culinary experiences, including a series of workshops on ‘Goan Bread Making’, led by Shaeen and Wilson Gomes that focussed on the making of different types of bread, and how bread making is perceived today.

What set the Farmer’s Market project apart was that it not only featured organic farming but also had natural farming.

Another specialty of the Farmer’s Market was that people dropped in for lunch to enjoy the tradition tribal food made using natural ancient grains. “We are serving an Adivasi tribal lunch made using very rare naturally farmed ancient grains and ancient crops. One will get to taste varieties of lost ingredients at the Farmers Market and it’s unique,” says Sukhtankar.

Another unique exhibition put up at the festival was the installation titled ‘My Glass Galaxy’ by Kolkata-born artist Srila Mookherjee, who happens to be India’s first studio glass blower.

Mookherjee has always been fascinated with creating art with glass. “There is something simply magical about it,” says the artist, who was also part of glass bead making workshop.

With planets, moons, stars and other debris orbiting around the massive ball of hot gas known as the Sun, the earth’s cosmic neighbourhood is a rich source of inspiration for a glassmaker. The shapes, textures and colours of celestial bodies are a glassblower’s dream and the perfect expression of the spectacle that is our universe which was depicted in ‘The Glass Galaxy’.

Mookherjee has always been fascinated with creating art with glass. “There is something simply magical about it,” says the artist, who was also part of glass bead making workshop.

With planets, moons, stars and other debris orbiting around the massive ball of hot gas known as the Sun, the earth’s cosmic neighbourhood is a rich source of inspiration for a glassmaker. The shapes, textures and colours of celestial bodies are a glassblower’s dream and the perfect expression of the spectacle that is our universe which was depicted in ‘The Glass Galaxy’.

Highlights of this year’s music projects included ‘Dhun Mela’, a folk song extravaganza bringing together groups of musicians and dancers from various states; ‘River Raga’, a Hindustani classical music concert on a ferry cruise along the Mandovi river; an evening of Jazz with Louiz Banks and Braz Gonzalves; ‘Dastaan Live’, a genre-defying art-rock project; a performance by Rekha Bhardwaj, national award winning playback singer; and a unique collaboration between Israeli musician Shye Ben Tzur and Rajasthani musicians and singers.

The festival concluded with a sizzling performance from the Nooran Sisters — Jyoti Nooran & Sultana Nooran, Coke Studio who are known for their signature mix of fusion music.

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Published: 5 Jan 2020, 3:30 PM
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