Serendipity Arts Festival, Goa – Must-See Happenings

  • 20 Nov '19
  • 9:30 am by Nuriyah Johar
Photograph of Martin Parr From the Merchant of Images Studio at Format Festival, Photograph Credit: Serendipity Arts Festival

One of South Asia’s biggest multi-disciplinary art initiatives, Serendipity Arts Festival (SAF) returns to Panaji, Goa from the 15th to the 22nd of December, 2019. Now in its fourth edition, SAF’s extensive programming spans the visual, performing and culinary arts, while exploring genres with film, live arts, literature and fashion. From Craft projects which focus on the historical exploration of everyday objects, to the Visual Arts program that spotlights art beyond the mainstream, the festival aims to facilitate pluralistic cultural expressions. 

The week-long event has been curated by experts across several disciplines, including Kristine Michael, Pramod Kumar, Rahul Akerkar, Prahlad Sukhtankar, Mayuri Upadhya, Leela Samson, Aneesh Pradhan, Sneha Khanwalkar, Rahaab Allana, Ravi Agarwal, Atul Kumar, Arundhati Nag, Sudarshan Shetty and Jyotindra Jain. Here our roundup of the must-see happenings in the Konkan state – 


Special Project Curator: Aradhana Seth

15 – 22 DEC | 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Location To Be Decided

‘The Merchant of Images’ by Aradhana Seth is a mobile project that takes its audience back in time, to the age of the old-fashioned photo studio. During this nostalgic era, the realist medium of photography was always subverted and playfully tweaked by fantastic backdrops, theatrically staged poses, or by hand painting the final image to infuse it with colour. What the artist offers through ‘The Merchant of Images’ is a chance to become a part of a choreographed image, and stillness in the age of the selfie.

Seth’s studio has travelled the world. From Vancouver to Jaipur, Kochi to Derby and most recently to Delhi, finally the studio travels to Goa with The Serendipity Arts Festival for a specially commissioned backdrop. 

Srila Mukherjee with Firozabad blown glass craftsmen, Kindling Change, Photograph Credit: Serendipity Arts Festival



Curated by Kristine Michael

15 – 22 DEC | 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Old PWD Complex, Panjim

This exhibition will reference artistic modernism in contemporary ceramic and glass in India, responding to the global recognition of non-Western craft. Beginning with the reworking of stylistic forms from pan Asian or European influences, designers and NGOs working with craft drew selectively from a range of artistic legacies of craftsmanship, iconographic and mythological sources.

Through the installation works of six key design interventions with ceramic and glass craftsmen, the exhibition will comment on transnational modernism, a creative identity that grapples with the dilemmas of tradition, and independent artistic expression. The importance of building new institutional frameworks of patronage, collections, marketing, sustainability, and display is highlighted – along with the eschewing of a ‘hybrid’ between tradition and modernity, or the mimicry of Far Eastern and Western aesthetic styles.

Sea of Serenity, Pierre Friquet and Kannakee, Photograph Credit – Serendipity Arts Festival


Curated by HH Art Spaces

Performance by Pierre Friquet and Kannakee, with live-video broadcast by Jean-Baptiste Friquet (Bruxelles).

Installation: 15-22 December | 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Performance: 16-18 December | 5:00 PM – 5:45 PM

Fifty years ago, the lunar module of Apollo11 landed on the moon, the first steps onto which were broadcasted globally, to over 500 million viewers. The black-and-white videos were transmitted from the moon to the earth by a poor quality radio signal.

Drawing from and re-enacting this historic moment, screens live broadcast the experience of a performer, psychonaut, who enters a flotation pool. She prepares herself like the 3 astronauts of the Apollo 11 mission with a waterproof VR helmet similar to a NASA diving suit, to get immersed. Live-cameras capture her experience viewing the Sea of Serenity and broadcast the content to the audience is seated around the installation. As a translator between worlds, the performer will serve as the eyes of the audience into an imaginary environment which is inaccessible to human senses. 

Shelter, Ramona Poenaru, Gael Chaillat, Photograph Credit – Serendipity Arts Festival


Ramona Poenaru, Gaël Chaillat

15 – 22 DEC | 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Children’s (Art) Park, Panjim

Shelter is a monumental participatory installation created by assembling cardboard modules of identical shape and size, by interlocking, without using tape or glue. Inviting the audience to participate in the construction process, the idea reflects on how men inhabit the world. We think by doing, and so the aim of Shelter is to activate thought by putting it into action. Open for all, the project is inspired by the concrete and philosophical experience of Henry David Thoreau, which is transcribed in his book Walden or Life in the Woods.

Shelter was first created in Berlin four years ago, after which it travelled to several cities in France, Romania, and Iran. Each variation finds its identity as per the context and the participants. In India, local peculiarities will influence and make their mark on the project.

Goa Familia, curated by Lina Vincent, Photograph Credit – Serendipity Arts Festival


Special Project Curator: Lina Vincent

15 – 22 DEC | 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Old GIM, Ribander

Goa Familia is set to be a reflection of the past and the present, exploring the multidimensional aspects of family histories. Directed at seeking out physical material such as photographs, postcards, ancestral heirlooms and memorabilia, as well as oral and recorded histories, the archive will become a participatory space for people to contribute personal and collective stories. In a world of swiftly changing contexts, this repository will attempt to bring varied narratives into the public sphere and rediscover diverse Goan trajectories of history.

The project looks backwards from a digitally advanced present – bringing to the forefront printed photo albums, slides, negatives, prints, along with countless objects that have survived the passage of time. 

The week-long event has been curated by experts across several disciplines, including Kristine Michael, Pramod Kumar, Rahul Akerkar, Prahlad Sukhtankar, Mayuri Upadhya, Leela Samson, Aneesh Pradhan, Sneha Khanwalkar, Rahaab Allana, Ravi Agarwal, Atul Kumar, Arundhati Nag, Sudarshan Shetty and Jyotindra Jain.