This western state, otherwise known for its beeches and laidback lifestyle, has been transported into an altogether different world, one that is replete with the ethereal aspects of art, exhibitions, theatre and culinary and music offerings at the second edition of the Serendipity Arts Festival. The art-event, which did not see many visitors last year, has already crossed a footfall of over 50,000 in the 72 hours since it opened on December 15.
The festival, which will continue till December 22, is a multi-disciplinary event. Curated by a panel of eminent artists and institutional figures, the festival is a long-term cultural project that attempts to reflect the positive change in the arts in India, with the major emphasis being on bringing the genre to the public space.
"In just the first 72 hours, we've seen astounding numbers of visitors at our venues. The doors to thrilling and titillating experiences once again open, with the organisers, artists and performer alike taking up their positions to beguile audiences. I welcome everyone to come have a glimpse of the performances. Each one will captivate your heart and there will memories to capture until 2018 brings yet another grander scale of this year's version," said Sunil Munjal, chief patron and founder, Serendipity Arts Foundation.
This year's edition, after a rather disappointing turn-out in 2016, seems to be all about scale and pushing boundaries -- the various exhibits seem to be experimenting with site, form and display. The festival is much broader in its content too.
In addition, it is also addressing issues such as arts education, patronage culture, interdisciplinary discourse and accessibility of the arts.
Consider "Explorations with Shadow and Light," for instance. Curated by Ranjit Barot, a celebrated and illustrious musician who has shared the stage with known names and newcomers, it brings an unmatched musical saga in electronica, jazz and blues tempered with Hindustani classical tempo and beats. This contemporary classical music compilation serenades audiences with original songs by the band Shadow and Light in collaboration with a line-up of truly exceptional artists.
Similarly "Dark Borders," curated by Neelam Mansingh Chowdhury, one of India's known theatre connoisseurs, transforms theatre by presenting Saadat Hasan Manto's stories based on forms and dimensions of violence -- a form of free-flowing embodied texts based on translations of the original. It depicts the atrocities brought upon women from the days of the great migration and the losses they suffered. Also highlighted are the lives of forgotten people living on the fringe of society.
The festival has also joined hands with Siddhant Shah, an art access consultant, to create a tactile experiential programme called, SENSES 2.o @ Serendipity Arts Festival, Goa 2017 -- products designed to make the space more disabled-friendly and accessible. The main aim of this programme is to make the event, spaces and its artworks more welcoming and accessible to the visually impaired visitors along with others with special needs (hearing impaired, slow learners, learning disable and autistic) so that one goes back with a fulfilling experience.
There is a lot more happening for the next four days here in Goa.
(Saket Suman is in Goa at the invitation of the organisers of Serendipity Arts Festival. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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