Govandi Arts Festival to celebrate the talent and creativity of Mumbai’s youth

India’s Community Design Agency presents Govandi Arts Festival along with Bristol-based Lamplighters Art CIC and Streets Reimagined as part of the India/UK Together Season of Culture.

Dharitri Ganguly Published :  22nd October 2022 03:43 PM   |   Published :   |  22nd October 2022 03:43 PM

Yeh hamara ghar hai (This is our home) is a mural painted as part of creating shared spaces within the neighbourhood

India’s Community Design Agency (CDA), Lamplighter Arts CIC, and Streets Reimagined from the UK have come together to create the first-of-its-kind Govandi Arts Festival. The artist mentorship that started in August, this year will culminate with the festival on February 15, 2023, with an array of events open to the public.
Govandi Art Festival has a robust arts-based framework focussed on building and showcasing the talents of culturally marginalised communities through inclusive processes. Supported by the British Council, the art fest is part of the India/UK Together, a Season of Culture. The season celebrates and strengthens the bilateral relationship, friendship and vibrant cultural bonds between the two countries and also marks India’s 75th anniversary.

Mural painting in progress

Govandi, one of the most densely populated and polluted areas of Mumbai, the city of dreams, has been living in the shadows for a very long time. In addition to the refineries and thermal powers in its vicinity impacting the average life expectancy in the area, the lack of sanitation and cramped housing made it even more difficult for the residents of Govandi during the pandemic. Despite its challenges, Govandi is brimming with talent that seeks a chance to express itself. The art festival will be one step in
the direction of celebrating the neighbourhood and giving access, exposure and agency to the artists coming out of this area. The Govandi Arts Festival has two overarching goals. First to provide residents—especially youth, with access to high-quality artistic mentorship and a public platform to express themselves joyfully and secondly to use art as a gateway for those outside the neighbourhood to understand its human joys and complexities, washing away entrenched stigma and judgement.
Jonathan Kennedy, director of Arts India, British Council says, “India/UK Together, a Season of Culture will establish a network of Indian and British artists to support a more diverse, inclusive, and sustainable creative sector. The must-see Govandi Arts Festival will celebrate the resilience, inspiration, and creativity of young people in both countries.” Sandhya Naidu, founder and managing director of Community Design Agency says, “CDA has engaged with Govandi residents since 2016, working alongside them to support social cohesion and reimagine inadequately built spaces. Art and creativity are central to our work there, so launching an arts festival feels like a natural, exciting evolution that will have long-term, positive impact.”


An orientation workshop in progress

The festival activities include a mentorship program where 45 youths were selected to work with Mumbai-based artistes for six months, with the areas of focus being theatre, filmmaking, photography, public art, and rap and music.