Stills by Minzayar OO from Myanmar.
Stills by Minzayar OO from Myanmar.

The fourth edition of arts initiative Serendipity Arts Festival to be held in Panaji, Goa

India’s biggest multi-disciplinary festival will once again curate across seven creative genres – and bring the richness of art and craft to the masses from December 15-22, 2019

India’s biggest multi-disciplinary arts initiative Serendipity Arts Festival has announced the dates of its fourth/2019 edition. To be held from December 15-22, 2019 in Panaji, Goa, the festival will once again curate across seven disciplines – craft, music, theatre, dance, culinary arts, visual arts and photography. Founder Sunil Kant Munjal shares exclusive festival highlights with us...

Sunil Kant Munjal.

How will the festival make art more accessible and inclusive?
Serendipity Arts Festival, since its inception, has attempted to make the initiative accessible…The programming addresses not just physical accessibility, but also brings projects which haven’t been seen before, or have been forgotten. From braille catalogues to maquettes of artworks, to sign language walkthroughs, the accessibility programme for the differently-abled will include technology that supports easier communication. Public heritage buildings which don’t have the facility for elevators are being analysed to create temporary ways of making all parts of Serendipity accessible. This year, efforts are being made to make arts accessible to children – not through instruction, but through involvement. Events throughout the year in Goa, theatre for early years and special commissioned content with sign language actors for theatre, are just a few things I would like to mention. The last aspect that I am personally very happy about, is the accessibility project on mental health…we will be addressing the growing issue of depression and the role art can play as a healer.

What are you most looking forward to from this edition?
2019 has taken on an ambitious start with a very eminent panel of curators: Aneesh Pradhan and Sneha Khanwalkar for music; Leela Samson and Mayuri Upadhya for dance; Atul Kumar and Arundhati Nag for theatre; Rahul Akerkar and Prahlad Sukhtankar for culinary arts; Rahaab Allana and Ravi Agarwal for photography; Jyotindra Jain and Sudarshan Shetty for visual arts; Pramod KG and Kristine Michael for crafts...We are challenging boundaries and questioning the status quo for the arts ecosystem. I wouldn’t want to reveal too much too soon, but the 2019 edition of the festival will see site-specific performances that address public spaces as a stage, while experiments with sound continue.

What kind of contributions are expected from the architecture community?
Many of our crafts have a deep connection with the built form. Whether it is the wooden construction methods or the carvings on an architrave, the architecture and design community can play a very important role in keeping these beautiful artisan skills relevant through contemporary use in new building technologies. The use of indigenous methods and material can go a long way in preserving the intangible heritage of the nation and contribute in many ways to sustainability, both environmental and economic. Whether it takes the form of the building material or becomes art associated with a function, the intervention of the design community can really support the skills of various artisans that often remain unexplored.

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