15 Nov 2023  |   03:26am IST

A grander stage for artistes in Goa to showcase their art

Goa Open Arts Festival is back with its second edition after a four-year-hiatus and today, November 15, is the last day for aspiring artistes to be a part of the festival. Next year, the festival will be held at a prominent venue in Panjim, and promises to be grander with much more participating artistes and the audience too will experience different art forms from February 9 to 18, 2024
A grander stage for artistes in Goa to showcase their art

Team Cafe

After getting a taste of the first and one-of-a-kind festival, the artistes’ community in Goa are enthusiastic to participate in the second edition of Goa Open Arts Festival. While the core members of the festival were busy even during Covid-19 pandemic, with various art projects and workshops, the four-year-hiatus since the two editions, gave enough time for artists in Goa to prepare their works that they would like to share with the wider Goan audience. The small state of Goa has always been open to new ideas and experimenting with art, music and performances. This festival promises to have much more.

The festival is open to participants who are Goa-based. Artists of all backgrounds, disciplines, and experience levels are welcome to submit their projects including visual arts, performance art, installation art, music, dance, multimedia, poetry and culinary arts. Artists working in any medium or format are invited to submit proposals to display completed works along with images / sketches of the proposed work and an artist’s statement. The works have to be original, innovative, and relevant and artists should propose completed and ready-to-display projects.

Goa Open Arts was initiated in 2020 with the intention of creating a platform to celebrate the diverse creative communities’ in Goa. Goa Open Arts footprint has since expanded to include artist grants, community art projects, exhibitions, artist commissions and more. In 2020, the festival had over 75 artists including musicians, poets, visual artists and sculptors showcasing their works. This year, an open call was sent out to the artist community on October 25. After the deadline of submitting their proposals on November 15, the artists will be shortlisted on December 5 and between January15 to February 1, 2024. The Goa Open Arts Festival will be held from February 9 - 18, 2024 in Panjim at a bigger venue which allows more space for the artistes.

Gopika Chowfla, a graphic designer and visual artist also a member of the organising committee says, “Our first Goa Open Arts festival in 2020 was an exhilarating experience. There was an incredible sense of community in the entire process - from building up of the concept to installation and the actual festival. For this edition the scale is bigger, the location is more central, there is so much new and diverse local talent - so it’s an exciting challenge. So a lot of it will be new - but what we hope to retain is the spirit of community, because that is what Goa Open Arts is about. It is a platform for and by the creative talent of Goa!”

Sitara Chowfla is a curator and former programme manager at India Art Fair. She is also a core member of the Goa Open Arts Festival. “For the 2024 festival we are shifting location from Nagoa to Panjim - which is really exciting because it immediately opens up to a whole new audience and possibilities for engagement. Unlike our first festival - which was Goa Open Arts debut project - we now have four years of activity in Goa and have worked with over 150 artists from Goa. So we’re sure audiences have a greater expectation of what kind of presentation we will make - and we’re looking forward to doing something really engaging and fun!,” says Sitara.

Diptej Vernekar is an artist and founding member of the Goa Artist Collective and a core member of the Goa Open Arts Festival. Diptej has been strongly growing in the field of art over 15 years and as a graduate from Goa College of Art, Altinho, Panjim, he is hopeful to see a lot more young Goan talent coming to the fore. “Since this festival is open to all artforms, it provides a perfect platform for every form of art. The organising committee has been consistent in these four years, organising different programmes as well as giving grants for artists. This edition, we are quite ambitious and are looking at a bigger number of participating artists from Goa. The festival is open to artists who are 18 years and above and students can apply too. Covid-19 has changed the way we search for opportunities and many artists also had the time to work on their art as well as the way they write for their art. Besides their art, they can also present better proposals too,” says Diptej, who is optimistic of a great response from the artists.

The core members of the Goa Open Arts festival also includes Gurpreet Sidhu, designer and design entrepreneur, who has established and managed People Tree in Delhi and Goa and Prashant Panjiar, a noted photographer and curator with experience in spearheading and organising three editions of the Delhi Photo Festival.

While providing ample of space for the artists at the festival, the focus will also be on community building. Goa Open Arts festival will host a parallel program of activities which highlight issues of sustainability and environmental impact. These subjects will be addressed through specially commissioned artworks, programs with children from the local community, performances, music and more.


Idhar Udhar