Serendipity Arts Festival 2018 celebrates India’s tangible cultural heritage through craft

Curated by Dr. Annapurna Garimella, Delhi-based designer and an art historian and Rashmi Varma, one of the Craft projects’ focus this year will be on local Goan crafts.
Craft at Serendipity Arts Festival 2018
Craft at Serendipity Arts Festival 2018

India’s first multi-disciplinary arts event, the Serendipity Arts Festival 2018 will set Goa alight from 15-22 December 2018. Over 90 dynamic projects highlighting India’s rich traditions of music, dance and
theatre, alongside culinary arts, craft, and visual arts exhibitions will be on display at this year’s event.
Alongside the more traditional disciplines of music, visual arts, theatre and dance, the Festival also celebrates craft and artisan artforms which are physical and tangible products of human creativity, not usually associated with the ‘high art’ invested with cultural significance in our society.

Curated by Dr. Annapurna Garimella, Delhi-based designer and an art historian and Rashmi Varma, one of the Craft projects’ focus this year will be on local Goan crafts that will be displayed in a specially designed architectural structure, in continuation of one of last year’s projects. The exploration of everyday objects brings to light their histories, and the status of Indian handicraft in the present time, encouraging an equal collaboration between designers and craftspeople.

The Serendipity Barefoot School of Craft: Made in Goa pavilion
Curated by Annapurna Garimella
The Serendipity Barefoot School of Craft is a unique architectural project that was initiated in the previous edition of the festival. The first stage was accomplished by creating a vision, through the selection of fifteen models in an architectural competition, which were displayed at Serendipity Arts Festival, 2017. This year, a residency in Goa with the architects, which took place from 9–21 May, allowed us to turn the vision into a design for a pavilion that will function as a talking, working and collaborative space, bringing together architects, craftspeople, students and visitors. We seek to inaugurate the pavilion prior to the festival as a space for the local community to make and buy
products of historic and new Goan crafts. The programme will start from December 2018 and end in January 2019, with workshops, pedagogical talks and discussions taking place every week.

Matters of Hand: Craft, Design and Technique
Curated by Rashmi Varma
Venue: Adil Shah Palace Date: 15 to 22 December, 2018 Time: 10 am to 6 pm Admission: Free
This exhibition explores how the handmade in India is experienced through objects of utility ranging from recent innovations and artisanal expression to ubiquitous objects found in public and private spaces. Forms of shelter, furniture, floor covering, lighting, kitchen utensils and storage are imbued with stories and embody thought processes, perfect-imperfections, function and aesthetic integrity extending from the creators themselves. Matters of Hand: Craft,

Design and Technique exemplifies how the traditional is also modern craft, both continuously
in flux and moving along a continuum that embraces a dynamic past and future, resisting categorisation.

Special Project: The Charpai
Curated by Ayush Kasliwal
Venue: Children’s (Art) Park & Adil Shah Palace Date: 15 to 22 December, 2018 Time: 10 am to 6 pm Admission: Free
If one were to imagine a single piece of furniture that is truly Indian, it would be the charpai. The charpai is a rectangular wooden frame having four legs (hence the word char pai), with a woven fibre/ fabric as the surface. It is used across the Indian subcontinent, particularly in the hot and relatively dry regions of Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Maharashtra. The variant in the wet climates have a solid wooden surface. The project aims to explore the charpai from a historic and cultural point of view, and simultaneously carry it into the future by inviting leading thinkers and designers to interpret the charpai, and present it at the festival. The thematic extension of the charpai is achieved by placing them in multiple locations, positioning it in creative ways, thereby encouraging use as well as recognition of the
charpai as furniture that is relevant and unique to India.

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 1300 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.


Annapurna Garimella
Annapurna Garimella is a Delhi-based designer and an art historian. Her research focuses on late medieval Indic architecture and the history and practices of vernacular art forms in India after Independence. She heads Jackfruit Research and Design, an organization with a specialized portfolio of design, research and curatorial. She is also the Founding and Managing Trustee of Art, Resources and Teaching Trust, a not-for-profit organization that runs a public art library, conducts independent research projects and does teaching and advisement for college and university students and the general public. Her most recent curatorial projects include Vernacular, in the Contemporary (Devi Art Foundation, New Delhi) and Faith: Manu Parekh in Benaras 1980-2012 (Art Alive, New Delhi) and Drawing 2014 (Gallery Espace, New Delhi). Her most recent book is about a collaboration between a Rajasthani miniature painter and expatriate American photographer and is titled The Artful Life of R. Vijay (Serindia, 2016).

Rashmi Varma
From an early start in interior design, art and architecture, Rashmi Varma went on to work in fashion, film & theatre. A profound love and respect for crafts led her to launch a women’s wear label Rashmi Varma in 2013, with garments that celebrate design, functionality and the rich imperfections of the human hand for the 21st century. Prior to moving to India to start her clothing line, she worked extensively as a costume designer in films ranging from indie to big budget Hollywood productions. Her designs, performances and installations have been exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Museum of Canadian Contemporary Art and the Textile Museum of Canada. Her book, Sār: The Essence of Indian Design, co-authored with Swapnaa Tamhane, was published by Phaidon Press in 2016. Sār distils Indian design aesthetics into 200 living objects, both machines made and handcrafted throughout India. Rashmi Varma was born in Montreal, Canada and is now based in New Delhi, India.

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