South Indian performance arts take centre stage at Serendipity Arts Festival, Goa

India’s first multi-disciplinary arts event, the Serendipity Arts Festival 2018 ignites Goa from the 15-22 December 2018.
To Die Upon a Kiss: An Adaptation of Shakespeare's Othello 
To Die Upon a Kiss: An Adaptation of Shakespeare's Othello 

October 2018: India’s first multi-disciplinary arts event, the Serendipity Arts Festival 2018 ignites Goa from the 15-22 December 2018, with over 90 dynamic projects highlighting India’s rich traditions of music, dance and theatre, alongside culinary arts, craft, and visual arts exhibitions. Dance forms and performative arts from South India will take centre stage at the 2018 festival.

One of the key objectives of the this unique festival is to be a catalyst for cross-cultural exchange, fostering a sense of unity and erasing regional divisions in the country and offering equal opportunities to artists, artisans, indigenous and folk art forms, performers and other creative practitioners from all over India.

This year dance and theatre programmes will have a particular emphasis on Southern Indian arts and dance, curated by Chennai-based bharatanatyam exponent, choreographer, instructor and Padma Shri recipient Leela Samson, and Ranjana Dave, dancer and arts writer.

The dance discipline at this year’s festival engages almost all traditional forms Indian dance, including folk. The interdisciplinary projects intend to explore the interrelationships between the performing and visual arts, venturing into alternate spaces, and emphasising gesture and the body.

Highlights of this year’s dance projects include, To Die Upon a Kiss: An Adaptation of Shakespeare’s Othello, led by Sadanam Balakrishnan, performed in Kathakali, Karnatic Kattaikuttu, uniting Karnatic music involving eminent musicians including TM Krishna and Kanchipuram-based P Rajagopal from Kattaikkuttu Sangam.

An enthralling Kuchipudi performance by Jaikishore Mosalikanti and the troupe Kattaikkuttu dance in an exuberant collaborative performance, Abhanga Ranga, a presentation that captures the spirit of the Varkari saints of Maharashtra through the medium of bharatanatyam, Nidravathwam from Adishakti Theatre arts presenting vignettes of the Ramayana, and Karalsman, a unique Chavittu Natakam performance originating from 16th Century Kerala.

<em>A still from Karnatic Kattaikuttu curated by Ranjana Dave</em>
A still from Karnatic Kattaikuttu curated by Ranjana Dave

Music projects will include Revolutions Per Minute: Early Hindustani Music Recordings performed by Goan musicians and curated by Aneesh Pradhan, one of India's leading tabla players River Raag; a special project curated by classical singer Shubha Mudgal.

Other programming highlights include shadow puppetry traditions from across the country, an interpretation of the Mahabharata, curated by Arundhati Nag as part of the theatre projects, and also Akshayambara a feminine representation of the Yakshagana, male-dominated theatre form from Karnataka also curated by Arundhati Nag.

Artists from Tamil Nadu participating at this year’s event in Goa include theatre and dance practitioners from Coimbatore, Pondicherry, Kancheepuram, and Chennai.

<em>Karnatic Kattaikkuttu </em>
Karnatic Kattaikkuttu 

I am delighted to curate the dance discipline for this year's Serendipity Arts Festival with Ranjana Dave. The projects on display engage almost all the traditional forms of Indian dance, including folk - with an emphasis on dance from the south of the country.

The festival is a wonderful way for the public to experience India's diverse arts heritage and we hope it will be a catalyst for cross-cultural exchange, fostering a sense of unity across the regions, said Leela Samson, Curator Dance, Serendipity Arts Festival.

About this year’s edition and participation of artists from across the country Smriti Rajgarhia,
Director, Serendipity Arts Festival said: “One of our key objectives at the Serendipity Arts Festival is to unite the country through the arts. We want to ensure that we represent and showcase rural and folk art forms from all regions and thus offer diverse opportunities for arts engagement, across demographics and communities. The festival truly celebrates our rich artistic heritage, and we hope that this will foster cultural growth and energise contemporary practice not just in Goa but across the country. We’re delighted to present this years Festival with 1,300 artists from across the country.”

<em>New retellings of the Mahabharata</em>
New retellings of the Mahabharata

The primary initiative of the Serendipity Arts Foundation a non-profit organisation with a vision of energising arts production, awareness and practice across South Asia, the Serendipity Arts Festival is now in its third edition.

In previous years, the event energised Goa’s cultural milieu, attracting more than 400,000 visitors, with dynamic projects that included internationally acclaimed performances highlighting India’s rich traditions of music, dance and theatre, alongside culinary arts, craft, and visual arts exhibitions.

This year the festival will take place across 10 venues in Goa and involve over 1,300 artists, transforming Panaji into a vibrant cultural space with multiple exhibitions, performances and immersive arts experiences.

Serendipity Arts Festival is the only arts event in India which unites the creative disciplines, committed to creating tangible change across the country’s cultural spectrum by engaging the public and increasing awareness of how art can impact society. It also aims foster the development of thriving artistic communities across India by making the arts inclusive, educational and accessible.

Projects at the Festival will be further activated by diverse collateral programming including panel discussions, children’s programmes, and workshops for the differently abled. These initiatives are an integral part of the Foundation’s key mission of making the arts accessible, and developing arts audiences both in numbers and in diversity.

<em>The Dance Curators at Serendipity Arts Festival 2018</em>
The Dance Curators at Serendipity Arts Festival 2018

2018 Festival curators:
Rahaab Allana and Ravi Agarwal
Visual Arts: Ranjit Hoskote and Subodh Gupta
Culinary Arts: Rahul Akerkar and Odette Mascarenhas
Dance: Leela Samson and Ranjana Dave
Theatre: Atul Kumar and Arundhati Nag
Music: Aneesh Pradhan and Sneha Khanwalkar
Craft: Annapurna Garimella and Rashmi Varma

The 90 projects this year will be accompanied by a series of Special Projects including St+art curated by Hanif Qureishi, Out of Turn curated by Asia Art Archive and Meenakshi Thirukode and a Film Programme by Sabeena Gadihoke.

Serendipity Arts Foundation, a Munjal initiative for creativity, is a not-for-profit arts and cultural development Foundation that fosters cultural development and supports emerging artists across South Asia.

The Foundation aims to promote new creative strategies, artistic interventions, and cultural partnerships which are responsive, addressing the social, cultural and environmental milieu of South Asia.

The Foundation’s programmes are designed and initiated through innovative collaborations with partners across a multitude of fields, impacting education, promoting social growth via community development programmes, and exploring interdisciplinarity across the arts. 

The Foundation's primary initiative and largest project, Serendipity Arts Festival is a multi-disciplinary arts event held annually every December in Goa. Curated by a panel of eminent artists and institutional figures, the festival is a long-term cultural project that hopes to instigate positive change across the arts in India on a large scale. Spanning the visual, performing and culinary arts, the festival’s programming includes music, dance, visual arts, craft, photography, film and theatre.

The festival addresses pressing social issues such as arts education and pedagogy, cultural patronage, interdisciplinary discourse, and accessibility to the arts. Serendipity Arts Festival’s intensive programme of exhibitions and performances is energised by spaces for social and educational engagement.

The third edition of the Serendipity Arts Festival will take place in Goa from 15-22 December 2018.

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