Each of our 14 curators work towards assembling a combination of acclaimed works, commissioned pieces, and innovative adaptations within their field of expertise. They will be present at this multi-disciplinary arts festival in Goa to engage, mold and mentor ideas into fruition. Meet them here and on ground.
Discipline Curation by Dinesh Khanna and Prashant Panjiar
This year’s photography programming experiments with display and ways of viewing, looking at archival and contemporary photographic practices. The focus is on interdisciplinarity in photography, with projects addressing a myriad of topics ranging from environmentalism to the history of Indian jazz. This discipline will also include, as special projects, collaborative shows with eminent people and institutions from this field, which expand photography to include a focus on film, photobooks, and projection as a relevant photographic medium.
Dinesh Khanna is the co-founder of the Delhi Photo Festival. The last 25 years have seen him involved in creating images for advertising, editorial and corporate clients, specifically in the area of food, still-life, people and interiors. His solo exhibitions include In my own World shown at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Varanasi, Living Faith exhibited at Delhi, Kolkata, New York and San Francisco, Colours – an Indian Language shown at the World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland. His group exhibitions are numerous and in addition to them he has also published three books – Bazaar, Living Faith and Right of the Line – The President’s Bodyguard, which was commissioned by the Rashtrapati Bhawan and Sahapedia.
Dinesh is also the co-founder and managing trustee of Nazar Foundation, which has been set up to promote photography as an art-form. Photography is not just a profession and a passion for Dinesh but his means of understanding and feeling the world and life around him.
Prashant Panjiar is a photojournalist and a self-taught photographer who works independently focussing on reportage, editorial and documentary photography. A photo editor and curator, Prashant has served on the jury of the World Press Photo Awards, the China International Press Photo Competition, Indian Express Press Photo Awards and the National Foundation of India’s annual photography fellowship.
He has worked with the Patriot Newspaper, India Today and the Outlook Group of Publications until 2001 after which he has been working independently. Being the co-founder of the Delhi Photo Festival, Prashant has curated all the three editions of the festival, the latest in November 2015. In the same year he conceived and curated the first edition of Sensorium, a festival of arts, literature and ideas for Sunaparanta, the Goa Centre of Arts. Prashant takes an active interest in advising and guiding younger photographers through Nazar Foundation, which he co-founded.
Discipline Curation by Manjari
Nirula and Annapurna Garimella
A large part of the focus of the craft programme for this year’s edition of SAF will look at Goan craft and architecture as a long term engagement with the region. In addition to this, the craft curators will explore specific motifs and forms across various techniques and types of craft practiced in the region, coupled with artisan workshops and other forms of engagement.
Manjari Nirula has been instrumental in reviving languishing crafts, the marketing of craft products and the participation of craft-persons in regional and international fairs. The vice-president of World Crafts Council Asia-Pacific Region and the Crafts Council of India, and member of the Indian government’s committee for the selection of master craft persons, Manjari has been coordinating the UNESCO Award of Excellence Programme for South Asia since 2004. She has served on the International Jury for this Award in South East Asia and Central Asia. She is a member of the Commitment to Kashmir (CtoK) panel that examines business plans of young Kashmiri craftsmen and women to allocate interest-free loans to them in order to begin a small-scale business. The panel also conducts workshops, field visits and individual mentoring for selected applicants.
Annapurna Garimella is a Delhi-based designer and an art historian. Her research focuses on late medieval Indic architecture and the history and practices of vernacular art forms in India after Independence. She heads Jackfruit Research and Design, an organization with a specialized portfolio of design, research and curatorial. She is also the Founding and Managing Trustee of Art, Resources and Teaching Trust, a not-for-profit organization that runs a public art library, conducts independent research projects and does teaching and advisement for college and university students and the general public. Her most recent curatorial projects include Vernacular, in the Contemporary (Devi Art Foundation, New Delhi) and Faith: Manu Parekh in Benaras 1980-2012 (Art Alive, New Delhi) and Drawing 2014 (Gallery Espace, New Delhi). Her most recent book is about a collaboration between a Rajasthani miniature painter and expatriate American photographer and is titled The Artful Life of R. Vijay (Serindia, 2016).
Discipline Curation by Ranjit Hoskote and Riyas Komu
Expanding from last year’s exhibitions, visual arts curators Ranjit Hoskote and Riyas Komu will be engaging with the subcontinent in both the contemporary as well as an archival context. In addition to this, the spectrum of serendipity painting looks at guest curators addressing different media and forms of art such as street art, public art, and current contemporary art practices, along with a special show that includes artistic traditions and art community of Goa.
Ranjit Hoskote is a poet, cultural theorist and curator. A seminal voice in Indian art criticism, he has been pivotal to shaping contemporary art discourse in India, and in registering multiple cultural issues, artistic domains, and moments of history.
In his role as an art critic, Ranjit has authored a critical biography as well as a major retrospective study of the painter Jehangir Sabavala, and also monographs on the artists Atul Dodiya, Tyeb Mehta, Sudhir Patwardhan, Baiju Parthan, Bharti Kher and Iranna GR.
Having curated his first exhibition when he was 25, Ranjit has conceived and organised twenty exhibitions of contemporary Indian as well as international art since 1994. He was recently co-curator of Former West: Documents, Constellations, Prospects, Berlin, 2013. His other curated projects include, The Needle on the Gauge, Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia, Parkside, 2012; Everyone Agrees: It’s About to Explode, Indian Pavilion, 54th Venice Biennale, Venice, 2011.
He has edited the collection Dom Moraes: Selected Poems (2012) and is the author of over 25 books including I, Lalla: The Poems of Lal Ded (2011) and Die Ankunft der Vögel (2006), Zones of Assault, The Cartographer’s Apprentice, The Sleepwalker’s Archive, Vanishing Acts: New & Selected Poems 1985-2005 and Central Time.
Riyas Komu is the co-founder and secretary of the Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF), and a multi-media artist and activist working towards encouraging art education and developing art infrastructure in India. His critically acclaimed political works have been exhibited extensively in India and abroad, which include several key works that focus specially on the political and cultural history of Kerala. Riyas, who shuttles between Kerala and Mumbai, was one of two artists from India to be selected by curator Robert Storr for the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007 and he represented the Iranian Pavilion at Venice Biennale in 2015.
Having his roots in Kerala, football seems to run in Riyas’s veins as he went on to create significant projects focusing on the game, including Mark Him First Half & Second Half, and Left Legs with the Iraqi National Football Team (2008/2010), Subrato to César 2010, reflecting on the current issues of Indian Football at Gallery Maskara, Mumbai, and Beyond Gods, retrieving the multiculturalism of French football at Centre Pompidou, Paris, as part of their “Paris-Delhi-Bombay” exhibition. In addition to these projects, he co-curated the first ever International football film festival in India at the Goa International Film Festival and Trivandrum International Film festivals in 2012.
Being at the helm of KBF he has initiated the Children’s Biennale, Students Biennale and Artists Cinema as part of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. He is currently working as a director of programmes for the Foundation and also develops projects focusing on Art Education in India.
Discipline Curation by Lillete Dubey and Anuradha Kapur
Keeping the ethos of the festival in mind, the theatre section of Serendipity Arts Festival 2017 aims to transcend boundaries in theatrical practices and engagement, creating a unique experience for visitors. This year’s programming, apart from bringing acclaimed Indian theatre performances to the festival, looks at immersive, physical, urban popular and experimental forms of theatre which question spectatorship and audience participation.
Lillete Dubey is a well known film, television and stage actress as well as a theatre director. She has been the artistic director of her own Theatre Company, The Primetime Theatre Company, for over 25 years and her theatrical work has travelled the globe. Over the span of nearly 40 years, Lillete has played the lead in over 60 theatre productions ranging from Shakespeare, Greek Tragedy, Brecht, Musical Comedies, to Contemporary Drama and Absurd Theatre.
The company aims to showcase original Indian writing and give English theatre in India its own voice, and just completed 25 years with over 3,000 shows across the globe with landmark productions such as Dance Like a Man, 30 Days in September, Sammy, Autobiography, Adhe Adhure, Gauhar and several others. She will open a new play, an operatic montage of the Mahabharata, at the end of 2017.
Lillete has over 40 feature films to her credit including Baghban, Kal Ho Na Ho, Pinjar, Zubeida, Monsoon Wedding and the two Best Exotic Marigold Hotel franchises to name a few. Her upcoming film & TV projects include Indian Summers Part 2 (Season 2), a ten part mini-series for Channel 4, UK and PBS/Masterpiece Theatre, U.K. in which she stars alongside Julie Walters and Roshan Seth.
Anuradha Kapur was at the helm of the National School of Drama in Delhi for six years and she was instrumental in putting together the foundation for NSD Bangalore. She now focuses on the one thing that drives her the most – directing plays. She is the author of Actors, Pilgrims, Kings and Gods: The Ramlila of Ramnagar.
Most of Anuradha’s directorial work has been in collaboration with visual and video artists and filmmakers, including Arpita Singh, Bhupen Khakhar, Ein Lall, Madhusree Dutta, Nalini Malani, Nilima Sheikh, Sumant Jayakrishnan, and Vivan Sundaram.
She is one of the founder members of Vivadi, a working group of painters, musicians, writers and theatre practitioners, formed in 1989. Her theatre work has travelled to countries including Germany, Japan, Brazil, UK, and Korea.
In 2004, Anuradha was awarded the Sangeet Natak Award for Direction in the Theatre.
Among her acclaimed productions are Rabindranath Tagore’s Ghar aur Bahar, Umrao, Romeo and Juliet, The Job, Sundari: an Actor Prepares, a play based on the life of Jaishankar Sundari, Henrik Ibsen’s The Wild Duck in collaboration with Ein Lall; a Hindi version of JB Priestley’s An Inspector Calls and many others.
Discipline Curation by Shubha Mudgal and Ranjit Barot
Moving away from traditional musical performances, the music curators are exploring innovations in music using technological interventions and a myriad of genres and styles. While Ranjit Barot is showcasing national and international excellence through different forms of music, Shubha Mudgal is exploring interdisciplinarity in music by showcasing diverse formats of representation.
Shubha Mudgal has been trained by some of the finest musicians and musicologists in India. Born into a musically-dedicated family and trained by eminent scholar-musician-composer Pandit Ramashreya Jha ‘Ramrang’, she also received guidance from Pandit Vinaya Chandra Maudgalya and Pandit Vasant Thakar. She later learnt stylistic techniques from maestros Pandit Jitendra Abhisheki and Pandit Kumar Gandharva. She also received training in thumri from Smt. Naina Devi and is thus a versatile and popular performer.
In addition to being a performer, Shubha Mudgal is also recognised as a composer. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Padma Shri in 2000, and the Gold Plaque Award for Special Achievement in Music at the 34th Chicago International Film Festival, 1998, and the Yash Bharati Samman from the Government of Uttar Pradesh in 2015.
She has also been closely involved with several projects related to music education in India. Formerly a member of the Central Advisory Board of Education constituted by the Government of India, Shubha also chaired a focus group discussing the need for introducing an arts education program in mainstream school education during the National Curriculum Framework 2005. Shubha Mudgal was also a Nana Shirgaokar Visiting Research Professor for traditional music at Goa University.
Ranjit Barot is a drummer, singer, music composer, music director and music arranger. Born into a family steeped in Indian classical music and dance, melody and rhythm has always been an integral part of Ranjit’s life. He started playing at the age of 12, encouraged by his mother, the legendary Kathak dancer, Sitara Devi.
His early career saw performances with Louis Banks & the Jazz Yatra Sextet, Pandit Ravi Shankar, the maestros, (late) Don Cherry & (late) Charlie Mariano. Ranjit Barot is today on the forefront of both worlds, the mainstream popular Indian/World music and Jazz fusion genres. He is the musical director for all of A.R. Rahman’s live concerts and is the drummer for guitar legend John Mclaughlin and the 4th Dimension band.
Ranjit has also had a long career in composition and music production, working out of his own studio facility, in Mumbai, India. His strong roots in the Indian classical tradition and his own world‐view of music gave him a unique perspective on the Indian film genre. His career spans projects over the last almost four decades as a featured drummer and arranger for musicians such as R.D. Burman, right up to A.R. Rahman. Ranjit was the music composer and sound designer for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010, and Music Producer for MTV Unplugged (Season 1 & 2).
Discipline Curation by Sanjeev Bhargava and Tanusree Shankar
This year’s dance programming expands its focus from last year to explore classical and contemporary dance forms in new and interpretive ways. The programming will be an energetic and compelling blend of commissioned pieces featuring emerging talent, as well as luminaries in the field.
Sanjeev Bhargava has designed some of the most admired cultural events that the capital has witnessed in recent times — in the areas of dance, music, theatre, art and cinema – such as Bhakti Utsav, Delhi Jazz Festival, the South Asian Bands Festival and Ananya at the backdrop of Purana Qila remains as one of the biggest dance festivals of India.
Through Seher, the cultural organization he founded in 1991, he has also discovered fresh talent from remote corners of India. Many of today’s well-known artists were given their first break by him.Sanjeev has been curating some of the most iconic cultural programmes for the Office of the President of India. The Trafalgar Square Festival in London was organised by Seher in collaboration with the Mayor of London and the GLA to mark 60 years of India’s independence in the UK.
In addition to organising the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra Tour of India, Sanjeev has organised some of the most important events for the United Nations systems in India. Most recently, he was instrumental in conceptualising the Udaipur World Music Festival February 2016, a world music event featuring 100 artists from over 15 countries including Italy, France, Spain and others. This festival has since become an annual event and set a benchmark for presentation of International artists from across the globe.
Tanusree Shankar is the choreographer and the chief inspiration of the academy and troupe bearing her name. Tanusree, who trained for seven years under Amala Shankar, has developed a kind of choreography, which reaches out to audiences worldwide. Her choreography is not a combination of classical dances, but is original, giving concrete shape to the music that inspires it and is based on the Uday Shankar technique of “New Dance”.
She choreographed several events, including the Asian Games, the Festival of India in the USSR and the Wills World Cup Cricket Championships. In 2007, she was chosen to be the chief choreographer for the National Folk Dance Festival, assigned by the Indian department of culture. Tanusree choreographed an Indo-French Ballet called Padmavati directed by Indian film maker, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, in Paris in 2008.
A Sangeet Natak Akademi winner, Tanusree instructs master classes at Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. She has also conducted various workshops in Reading for the WOMAD Festival, Birmingham and Leeds in UK. Her troupe members have participated in the prestigious Edinburgh International Fringe Festival in 2001.
Discipline Curation by Odette Mascarenhas and Manu Chandra
Moving away from the idea of food as sustenance alone, this year’s culinary arts curators will take a closer look at food as an art form through curated dinners and workshops, with a focus on local recipes and regional flavors. The culinary arts Goa festival will explore food and the experience of eating as something which is playful, engaging and magical.
Odette Mascarenhas is a food historian and critic, author and television host. Her stint as the food & beverage manager at the Taj Group of Hotels has helped her define a keen palate towards the nuances of different ingredients used in food preparations.
Her passion for the written word is the reason she has nine books to her credit. Odette’s first book, Masci: The Man Behind the Legend, which she wrote on her father-in-law, Miguel Arcanjo Mascarenhas, who was the executive chef at Taj Mahal Mumbai in 1939, won a Special Jury Award at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2008.
Her ninth book, The Culinary Heritage of Goa, brings alive the kitchen tradition of Goan households all around the state. She has followed the culinary journey of Goa down the ages, from the times of the Chalukyas, Kadambas, the Vijaynagar Empire, the Muslim Bahamani Sultanate, the Portuguese rulers, to the present times and how it is all reflected in the evolution of Goan Cuisine. The book has won the Best in the World for Historical Recipes and Best Self Published Book in India at the Gourmand World Cookbooks 2015 awards.
She is the co-founder of the Goan Culinary Club – a non-profit venture which strives to preserve the authenticity of Goan cuisine and researches lost recipes of the past with local chefs and restaurateurs.
Manu Chandra is the chef partner, responsible for the hugely fun and first of its kind Gastropub brand – Monkey Bar in Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi; the trendy Asian Gastro Bar The Fatty Bao in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore and more recently Toast & Tonic – the East Village inspired International restaurant and bar in Bangalore. He is also executive chef of the much-acclaimed Olive Beach in Bangalore.
Manu’s passion for food surfaced at a young age, thanks largely to a foodie family. Food, the cooking of it, the discussions and arguments around it, and most importantly the celebration of it, were so integral to his family’s normal functioning that it was hardly a surprise when he opted for it professionally.
Manu enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) Hyde Park, New York, where he apprenticed with some of the City’s most celebrated kitchens, including Restaurant Daniel, Le Bernardin, Gramercy Tavern, Café Centro, Jean Georges and Town and also opened the now legendary Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Manhattan.
A lover of slow cooking, Manu leans towards painstakingly controlled and cooked things, a process that enables one to extract flavours and textures. On the flip side, he’s fond of incredibly fast cooking, which keeps the integrity of ingredients and freshness intact. A minimalist, he believes that removing an ingredient rather than adding one usually improves the flavour of a dish.