Intro – Serendipity Arts Festival, founder patron Sunil Kant Munjal sheds light on the curatorial approach of 2023 edition and shares how the event is a catalyst for dialogue on important issues like sustainability, inclusivity, ecosystem among others.
What is the vision of the Serendipity Arts Festival?
The overarching vision of SAF, which is an interdisciplinary Festival, is to celebrate diversity, foster collaboration, promote accessibility, and make a positive impact on both the artistic community and society at large. We continuously strive for improvement by seeking feedback from participants, artists, and the community and use this feedback to refine and evolve the festival with each iteration. Additionally, we also make a conscious effort to use the festival as a platform to address social issues and promote positive change. This includes partnering with Foundations, individuals and organisations that are working in varied fields of sustainability, literature, conversations or inclusivity. So for us at SAF the festival becomes a catalyst for dialogue on important issues.
How has using old and heritage buildings as venues helped the festival include Goa’s cultural and historical legacy within its overarching ambition of cultural assimilation?
Making old city heritage buildings as venues has added a distinctive charm to the festival. These structures often carry a rich cultural legacy, and incorporating them into the festival preserves their historical significance and creates a unique atmosphere that modern venues may lack. Moreover, utilising such venues aligns with the festival’s overarching goals by promoting cultural appreciation, heritage preservation, and community engagement. It transforms the festival into more than just a series of events; it becomes a celebration woven into the fabric of the community’s history, fostering a deeper connection between the audience and the cultural engagement the festival aims to showcase.
How are art events and festivals happening offline pushing the boundaries of how art can be a bigger stakeholder in building community and dialogue on pressing issues?
Art in any form is a powerful tool to communicate a message differently. At Serendipity, we deeply care about sustainability. So our curatorial approach always looks at the subject through a lens that would involve people. For instance, Our culinary arts curation this year, put together by Chef Thomas Zacharias and the Locavore Team advocated “Doing Good Through Food”, looking at all how we consume and educate ourselves about food with a focus on the local and sustainable – whether it is through “Zero Waste Cooking”, or “A Know Your Desi Vegetables” installation, or a variety of educational workshops and talks on topics such as solutions for human-animal conflict, and climate-first futures with millets. We also covered subjects related to the environment through our exhibitions related to the craft exhibitions – Bamboo: A Way of Life; and Blue Carbon and Time as a Mother which looked at the intersection of art and ecology. Additionally, we aim to be sustainable through our messaging and the materials we use, as much as we possibly can.
What is the way forward to the next edition?
The Serendipity Arts Festival has always sought to foster a sense of cultural unity and exchange, promoting inclusivity and accessibility to the arts. We are committed to showcasing the rich tapestry of artistic talent that India possesses within India and internationally. This year, we showcased our commissioned projects to the people of Delhi and Kolkata, and the response has been phenomenal. So now the festival aspires to bring its multidisciplinary approach to different cultural hubs, allowing communities throughout the country to immerse themselves in a vibrant amalgamation of visual arts, performing arts, music, literature, and more.
Serendipity Arts Festival 2023 is happening at different venues at Panaji, Goa from Dec 15 – 23, 2023.