Celebrating a decade of Excellence
The culturally rich Semana da Cultura Indo-Portuguesa (Goa) will complete a decade with the tenth edition of the event, set to begin this weekend. The annual event is an effort to celebrate and appreciate the rich cultural flavours of the two nations – India and Portugal. In its 10th year, Café looks back at the journey of Semana da Cultura Indo-Portuguesa (Goa) through the years
“India and Portugal are both regions steeped in rich heritage and culture. India is a mingling of diverse cultures, all special in their own way. Goa too has its own unique identity and culture, which is a blend of Indian and Western nuances. Goa has assimilated the essence of both regions, where people coexist in harmony and joy. Through Semana da Cultura Indo- Portuguesa (Goa), we would like to share and enjoy the essence of our diverse culture,” says Francisco Martins, Chairman of the Executive Committee planning the event.
The Semana da Cultura Indo-Portuguesa (Goa) celebrations will kick off with the inaugural event, today, September 29, 2018, at 6 pm at the iconic Hotel Mandovi, with a discussion on ‘Portuguese Influence on Goan Culture’. Semana da Cultura Indo-Portuguesa (Goa) was set up and established in the year 2008 at the initiative of the Portuguese Consulate in Goa and by various local organisations, namely Indo Portuguese Friendship Society - Goa, Clube Vasco da Gama, Clube Nacional, Clube Harmonia, Institute Camões, Fundação Oriente and BPS Club Margao, with an aim and objective to maintain and keep alive the unique Goan culture and Goan identity. In 2008, there was a performance by Grupo Folclórico da Associarão dos Professores do Planalto Mirandêsfrom Portugal. Since then, in the last decade, Semana da Cultura Indo-Portuguesa (Goa) has worked tirelessly to encourage and promote Goan and Portuguese culture including art, cuisine, films and other art forms through Goan and Portuguese artistes who performed in Goa and delighted audiences. Taking the event beyond the shores of Goa, the fourth edition in 2012 was held in Lisbon, Portugal. An exhibition of photographs by celebrated Goan photographers Assavri Kulkarni and Sanjeev Sardessai was organised at the Fundação Champalimaud over an evening of cocktails. Breathtaking images of Goa’s landscapes were showcased to guests through the week-long event. The then Ambassador of India to Portugal, Brij Tyagi, hosted the lovely evening. In 2013, Semana da Cultura Indo-Portuguesa (Goa) hosted the first ever Fado singing competition at Institute Menezes Braganza hall in Panjim, which turned out to be a massive success. Since then, there has emerged an abundance of young talent.In an effort to encourage the beautiful art form, Semana da Cultura Indo-Portuguesa (Goa) collaborated with Institute Menezes Braganza to host the Fado singing competition every year. Workshops are held by Fadista Sonia Shirsat and coordinated by Professor Delfim Correia Da Silva. Goa witnessed Fado by some noted Fadistas from Portugal, such as Maria Ana Bobone, Cuca Rosetta, Deolinda, Minguel Capucho, Claudia Duarte, who also performed with Goa’s Nightingale Sonia Shirsat and noted classical singer Praveen Gaunkar. Speaking about the biggest takeaway from the last ten editions, the executive committee members say that at the end of the day, it is the connection with the people attending it that helps make it all worthwhile.“Goan culture is unique. We are a product of our rich heritage and culture. We would like to keep these art forms alive and celebrate its existence. From photography to films, which are a window into the life of a community, to music and cuisine, we want to celebrate everything that is truly Goan. It is also our responsibility to hand over the baton of Goan culture to the next generation so that they can appreciate our past,” the executive committee members add. The executive committee includes stalwarts from society with a shared vision, who have come together for a common cause. Everyone pitches in to help make the event a success. Yes, planning and coordination begin months in advance with different individuals taking on various tasks. The committee meets regularly to take stock on the situation and plan ahead. “Each year is different in some way or the other. This year, we have a number of events lined up from the end of this month right up to January 2019. We will kick off the celebrations with a discussion on Portuguese influence on Goan culture, where historians will deliberate on the amalgamation of rich cultures that has lead to the unique Goan identity. The events that will follow include a photography exhibition of rare portraits shot by the extremely talented Pantaleo Fernandes. The Fado contest is an eagerly anticipated event every year, since its inception five years ago, we have seen an abundance of talent show up which has revived the art form. This year, we are also honoured to host Portuguese fadista Ana Pinhal for a concert in Goa. The event is being organised by our partners Fundação Oriente and Instituto Camões,” adds Francisco Martins.
Past Chairpersons speak on the last decade of Semana da Cultura Indo Portuguesa (Goa):“Semana da Cultura Indo-Portuguesa (Goa) completes a decade, which is a milestone by itself. We have an excellent team that works together and collectively curate and put together a great programme. The event truly is a fusion of Indian and Portuguese art and culture that has been appreciated over the years. I am confident that the 10 years will continue to 20 years and more.” AUDHUT CARO, Past Chairman of the Executive Committee (2017)
“Goans have a remarkable ability to assimilate different cultures and be enriched by that experience. We have myriad Indian cultures embedded in the culture of Goa. We are lucky to have criss-crossed so many cultures – Indian and foreign – giving Goan culture a cosmopolitan character. The three-month-long cultural programme covers a fairly wide canvas of history, education, music, food and films. I believe that events of this nature give an opportunity to appreciate the distinct cultural syncretism that exists in Goa, a result ofthe fusionof many cultures that have taken place over centuries, leaving an indelible mark on Goan way of life.”
ORTY SOARES, Past Chairperson of the Executive Committee (2016)
“India is a mingling of diverse cultures, all special in their own way. Goa too has its own unique identity and culture which is a blend of Indian and western nuances. Goa has assimilated the essence of both regions where people coexist in harmony and joy. Through Semana da Cultura Indo-Portuguesa (Goa), we would like to share and enjoy the essence of our diverse culture and keep the unique Goan identity alive.”
JOSE ELMANO COELHO PEREIRA, Past Chairman of the Executive Committee (2013-15)
“Indian and Portugal, both regions, are steeped in rich heritage and culture. Semana da Cultura Indo-Portuguesa (Goa) celebrates the diverse cultures – the languages, architecture, art, literature, music and other elements. Through the years, we have offered a diversified presentation of some of the most innovative and contemporary art forms and artists, each of which are rooted in our traditional culture.”
ANIL COUNTO, Past Chairman of the Executive Committee (2008-2012)
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