If you’ve explored Goa beyond its beaches, parties and other standard cliches, you’ve probably crossed paths with her art. Many many talented artists, musicians, poets, filmmakers, writers, photographers, designers, chefs and others, make home here — some of who are native to Goa, while others have travelled from various parts of India and the world and settled down here. But we rarely get to see much of that showcased in Goa itself. A news arts festival initiative — Goa Open Arts is looking to change just that!
Scheduled between Feb 13–16, it’s happening at Don Joao Lawns & Heritage House, Calangute-Mapusa Road. The festival is curated by a bunch of five artists of immense repute — Prashant Panjiar (former curator of photography programs at Sunaparanta and Serendipity), Gurpreet Sidhu (co-founder of People Tree Collective), Gopika Chowfla (graphic designer and visual artist previously exhibited at Serendipity Art Festival), Diptej Vernekar (artist and founding member of the Goa Artist Collective) and Sitara Chowfla (curator and former programme manager at India Art Fair). Naturally, the festival is already pegged to becoming a premiere art festival in the country.
The format is that of a multi-arts programme, full with a visual arts exhibition, dance, spoken word and poetry performances, as well as a music stage that will host a whole range of acts from Jazz, Fado to Rock and Electronic. In their first edition, the festival is hosting a whole bunch of talented artists — Goan artist Walter D’Souza, performer Nikhil Chopra, visual artist Nandita Kumar, artist Kausalya Gadekar, printmaker Viraj Naik, photographer Bharat Sikka, chef Anumitra Ghosh Dastidar (Edible Archives), Alakananda Nag, Orijit Sen, Sonia Shirsat, The Coffee Cats, Tritha Sinha, Ramdas Gadekar, Adrien Roche, Ayesha Seth, Bharath Ramamrutham, and many emerging talents from Goa including Shilpa Mayenkar, Rujuta Rao, Mustafa Khanbhai, Dheer Kaku, Alvaro Pinto Furtado, Bhisaji Gadekar, Pakhi Sen, Rajendra Mardolkar, Okedo & King Prawns, Nishant Saldanha and others. Sumptuous food and drink options from some of Goa’s best artisanal eateries will keep those hunger pangs in check!
In fact another feather in its cap is that at a time when investment in the arts is reducing rapidly, most of the festival funding has been crowdfunded, successfully creating bridges between patrons and artists from all over. The festival is planned to be an annual event, with a focus to community building, local impact and bringing awareness to social issues and will host a parallel program of activities, highlighting pertinent issues like sustainability and environmental impact.