Curtain raiser: Serendipity Arts Festival 2018 opens with grand performance, art dialogue

Serendipity Arts Festival sets itself apart from other arts festivals in the country as the only arts event which unites the creative disciplines, showcasing performative, visual performances.

author_img N.J. Pinto Published :  15th September 2018 06:03 PM   |   Published :   |  15th September 2018 06:03 PM

Serendipity Arts Festival 2018

The Serendipity Arts Foundation launches the Serendipity Arts Festival 2018 with two days of events on 27 and 28 September 2018: The Dark Lord at the Royal Opera House, Mumbai and a symposium on contemporary art in India Common Ground: Location and Memory in Arts Practices at the Goethe Institut, Mumbai.
Founded in 2016 by Mr. Sunil Kant Munjal, Serendipity Arts Foundation is a non-profit organisation with a vision of energising arts production, awareness and practice across South Asia.  The Foundation’s primary initiative, the Serendipity Arts Festival is now in its third edition. In previous years, the event transformed Goa, showcasing a range of dynamic projects, including internationally acclaimed performances highlighting India’s rich traditions of music, dance and theatre, alongside culinary arts, craft, and visual arts exhibitions.  
Speaking about the curtain raiser event, Mr Sunil Kant Munjal, Founder of The Serendipity Arts Foundation said: "We are delighted to announce the 2018 edition of the Serendipity Arts Festival with the curtain raiser performance and contemporary art symposium in Mumbai. Both events further our objectives of showcasing the various facets of the creative disciplines, whilst also fostering cultural growth and energising contemporary practice across India. This is a very small taster of what's to come at the third edition of the Festival, where we'll present almost ninety projects, exhibitions, performances and workshops. Our vision is that the Serendipity Arts Festival becomes a catalyst for change — for artists, the community, the public and the country, impacting daily life and ultimately changing the way we interact and respond to creativity and the arts across demographics."
Serendipity Arts Festival sets itself apart from other arts festivals in the country as the only arts event which unites the creative disciplines, showcasing performative, visual, and culinary practices. Conceived as a long-term platform creating tangible change across the country’s cultural landscape. It aims to foster the development of thriving artistic communities across India, making the arts inclusive, educational and accessible whilst maintaining rigour and depth.  With a particular emphasis on interdisciplinary exploration, this year’s Festival will build on the success of previous years, advancing in vision, scope and engagement. The first two events planned in the lead up to the Festival will formally launch this year’s edition which will be held in Panaji, Goa from 15 - 22 December.
“We are really proud to announce the third edition of the Serendipity Arts Festival with these unique lead-up events in Mumbai that demonstrate the diversity of this year's festival. They highlight our strong commitment to collaboration across the creative disciplines, and further our vision of expanding the scope and depth of our festival with each passing year to be more inclusive, educational and accessible, whilst maintaining artistic rigour and quality.  The Serendipity Arts Festival 2018 will unite artists, disciplines, and creative processes from across the country and truly celebrate the culture of the subcontinent,” Ms. Smriti Rajgarhia, Director, Serendipity Arts Festival.
27 September 2018 | Royal Opera House Mumbai
Serendipity Arts Festival 2018 Curtain Raiser event

Presenting a special performance of The Dark Lord by Rukmini Vijayakumar and The Raadha Kalpa Dance Company, at the Royal Opera House Mumbai on 27 September, the evening will introduce this year’s 14 lead curators, representing Visual Arts, Photography, Culinary Arts, Craft, Music, Dance, and Theatre. The event will also screen the Festival curtain raiser film for the first time presenting vignettes of 2018’s dynamic projects.
The Dark Lord: Lament of the Poetess combines the dance and theatre experience to depict images of the many seekers of Lord Krishna. Following the life and voice of Meera, “the poetess of love”, the story parallels the struggles, madness, lament and ultimately, the surrender of these devotees. The life of Meerabai as a child, her love at first sight for the Krishna idol, her fascination with the countless stories of the butter thief prankster Krishna and her marriage to Rana, moves on to the life of adult Meera who continues her devotional journey with Krishna, much to the contempt of her in-laws.
Drawing on the classical Indian dance vocabulary of Bharatanatyam, the experience challenges the boundaries of performance and theatre, creating a visual impact by breaking down the barriers between the performer and audience.
28 September 2018 | Goethe Institut | Symposium
Common Ground: Location and Memory in Arts Practices

Rethinking art practices and institutional mandates, the symposium features speakers and panel participants who engage with different facets of art making, management and display including artists, curators, academics and historians from across all the creative disciplines. The symposium aims to examine organic dialogues and synergy between various strands of creative practice, considering the changing significance of visual and performance culture in contemporary India. Panellists and speakers will address prevailing notions about ‘high’ and ‘low’ art as well as innovative and appropriated styles of representation. The focus of these talks will be on photography and its role in the visual arts, considering the moving image, literature in the context of pedagogical engagements and projects.
The symposium sessions will be co-chaired by Rahaab Allana, Curator Photography and Annapurna Garimella Curator Craft at the Serendipity Arts Festival 2018. The Keynote address will be presented by Ranjit Hoskote, Curator Visual Arts.
Other notable speakers and panellists include: Riyas Komu, Girish Shahane, Annapurna Garimella, Anusha Yadav, Abhishek Hazra, Karan Shrestha, Sabeena Gadihoke, Diwas Raja, Kaiwan Mehta, Abhay Sardesai, Ram Rahman, Sukanya Ghosh, Hanif Kureshi, Savia Viegas, Naman Ahuja, and Massoud Hossaini.
Notes To Editors
Rukmini Vijayakumar is the Founder and Artistic Director of the classical dance company, Raadha Kalpa and Founding Director LshVa, and art space in Bengaluru. Rukmini’s style is a summation of all her learning and experiences. Her primary training and rigorous practice has been in Bharatanatyam. Initiated into the form by Guru Padmini Rao, she later pursued a deeper study and understanding of Bharatanatyam under Late Guru Narmada Rao. Her Bharatanatyam practice and ideas of movement are influenced greatly by her training under Guru Sundari Santhanam, in Karanas (the research of Dr. Padma Subramanyam). She went on to intensify her training and practice in Modern Dance and Ballet at the Boston Conservatory, obtaining a BFA in Modern Dance and Ballet. Her approach to choreography and movement changed through her years of intense training in Boston, and her study in the pedagogy of western movement forms made her find new avenues of training the body for Bharatanatyam.
She has performed in many venues in India and abroad and has been appreciated for her unique style, innovative choreography, athleticism, arresting emotions and attention to detail. Her performances at the 80th Anniversary of the Jacobs Pillow dance festival (USA), Erasing borders Festival (USA), the Korzo theater (Netherlands), and Milapfest (Liverpool), were well appreciated. She has received the title of Arsha Kala Bhushan from Swami Dayananda Saraswati, and was recently awarded the prestigious Jiří Kylián Grant for her residency the Korzo Theater in the Netherlands.
Raadha Kalpa Dance Company
Founded by Rukmini Vijayakumar in 2009, Raadha Kalpa is a classical Indian Bharatanatyam dance company dedicated to the promotion of art and culture through performance, artistic collaboration, experimentation and preservation of classical traditional ideals. Raadha Kalpa Dance Company primarily uses Bharatanatyam and theater as a performance media with the extensive use of Karanas, the ancient dance technique of India as prescribed by the Natyashastra.
Raadha Kalpa Dance Company primarily periodically produces commissioned dance productions. Many of the company’s productions have toured many cities all over the world and have been well received by diverse audiences, “Megham”, “Raadha”, “Kannah”, “Shankarabaranam”, and “Raadha Raani.” Recently, Nayani and Prabhavati were toured extensively around India, the US, and the Middle East, and were well received by various audiences. In addition to its production, the company has performed at many prestigious festivals and podiums such as Gudiya Sambhrama Dance Festival (Bangalore), Ayyappa Utsavam (Chennai), and The Natyanjalis (Tamil Nadu), to name a few.

About Serendipity Arts Foundation
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.

About Serendipity Arts Festival
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.