The explosion of artistic energy at the nine-day interdisciplinary Serendipity Arts Festival (SAF) 2023 continued on the fourth day – December 18 – as visitors poured into its various venues across the city to immerse themselves in unique and unprecedented experiences.
Day 4 of SAF 2023 succeeded in providing its participants with a staggering range of activities, exhibitions and programmes – a wide and eclectic fare of events that left them spoiled for choice.
The Art Park resounded with the sharp and beguiling sounds of conch shells as percussionist artist Divesh Gadekar took the listeners at his workshop – ‘Acoustics With The Conch Shell’ – on a historic trip of the spiral-shelled musical instrument blown by Indians on auspicious occasions.
This two-day programme (December 17 and December 18) had a limited capacity of 10 people. Gadekar’s installation ‘ConHear’ adorns three of the SAF 2023’s venues, including the Art Park.
At another corner of the Art Park, a different story was brewing. Praveen Rengaraj, founder of Motley Brews, transported participants at his storytelling session from sultry Goa to the undulating mountains of the tea and coffee estates of India. ‘A Collection of Motley Tales of Your Favourite Brews’, hosted by Rangaraj, was an eye-opener on everything coffee-related.
One of SAF’s popular sections – food and beverages – has always been every gourmand’s delight as it uncovers innovative and tastebud-tickling recipes. This year, the festival turned its attention to chocolate and cocktails.
‘The Bean-To-Bar Chocolate Movement in India’, curated by Chef Thomas Zacharias and The Locavore Team and facilitated by chocolatier Mansi Reddy at The Food Lab in the Old GMC Complex, acquainted chocolate lovers with the difference between artisan chocolate and mass-produced chocolate.
Bean-to-bar chocolates, made in small batches by following a rigorous process, have distinct and original flavours. Their popularity has gained momentum over the recent decades. Reddy’s talk covered every aspect of why they have captured the consumer’s imagination. It was capped with the participants savouring the crafted chocolates along with the bitter yet aromatic cacao nibs.
Earlier at the same venue (The Food Lab), a session on ‘Local Ingredients Cocktail Workshop’ saw sommelier Pankaj Balachandran tease the palates of tipplers with cocktails crafted with exotic flavours of local and regional ingredients from India. Every cocktail was a narration of a distinct note, transcending cultural and traditional boundaries to take mixology to a new level.
Applauding SAF’s efforts in bringing together different cultures and traditions through art, Rohit Monserrate, Mayor, Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP), said the city has a history like no other.
“It was the first cosmopolitan city to allow different influences of culture to co-exist. Through festivals like Serendipity (Arts Festival) we want to make Panjim the culture capital of the country,” said Monserrate.
“SAF helps not only in bringing people and communities together but also engages non-Goans with the history of the state. Culture creates infrastructure and boosts the state economy, but what it does best is build sustainable communities. I wish the Serendipity Arts Festival 2023 and Panjim a successful step towards cultural progress.”
'Doodle Mandalas And Mindfulness’ at the Access Lounge offered an opportunity for visitors to merge art with mindfulness to create intricate designs in an attempt to soothe themselves and enhance their concentration power.
But SAF 2023 is not just about relaxing nerves or prodding sensorial experiences; the festival also tries to leave participants with thoughts to chew on. Late Turkish playwright Tuncer Cucenoglu’s three-act play Avalanche, directed by Gandharv Dewan, was one such bid to rattle the audience into taking a closer look at reality.
Enacted in a novel way, the play used nameless characters with subdued actions and hushed speech to create an oppressive environment. Set against a mountainous backdrop, it weaved a story of disruption in a village, where the old ways of silent living are fiercely being opposed by the young.
The 2023 edition has several project and institutional partners, such as Institut Français (India), the British Council, Boxout, Japan Foundation, Pro Helvetia Swiss Arts Council, Sampad, Paper Boat Collective, Art South Asia Project, JCB Literature Foundation and more.
The official hashtag for SAF 2023 is #ComeTogetherAtSAF, a sign of celebration and sharing of a vision that has been widely supported. This is the Festival’s 8th edition, of which two were digitally presented in 2020 and 2021, respectively.