Local technology, ingredients and art: Serendipity Arts Festival 2019 highlights Indian innovations and culture

Art is a great way to promote local innovations, as shown in this photo essay and curator interview. Local creativity also extends to activism, expression, and support for human rights.

Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 415 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festivaltelecom expomillets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.

Spread across more than 15 venues, the fourth edition of the Serendipity Arts Festival (SAF) brings eight days of creativity to Panaji, Goa. It covers the visual, performing, and culinary arts, as well as film, literature, and fashion.

See our interview with Smriti Rajgarhia, Director, Serendipity Arts Foundation, as well as curator insights and our earlier photo essay from the festival launch. The panel discussions also feature academics and practitioners of art and entrepreneurship like Dr Anil Gupta, author of Grassroots Innovation: Minds on the Margin are not Marginal Minds (see our book review here).

In this photo essay, we feature some exhibitions and workshops at Old Goa Medical College, such as Look Outside The House (curated by Sudarshan Shetty). Exhibited innovations include 100 Suns, 360 Degree Tractor, Avani Pine Needle Coal, Air Ink, AgriCrete, and Wello Water Wheels.

Other artists and entrepreneurs showcase the importance of recycling and upcycling, in addition to frugal innovation (eg. Khaloom’s recycled yarns). The use of art for empowerment was highlighted by Aravani Collective and The Dalit Devi. Mapin Publishing showcased a wide range of illustrated books on Indian art.

“The vision for the exhibition started with my long-time interest with indigenous innovations that are essentially reliant on local know-how and technologies,” Sudarshan explains, in a chat with YourStory. “We also looked at songs and poetry that seek a certain change from the present conditions these artists find themselves in,” he adds.

There are four works that were specially made for the exhibition. “For example, the zero-energy coolant, developed by Ant Studio, has cones arranged in beehive pattern for drip irrigation,” Sudarshan says.

The Stampede Mat, designed by Nilay Kulkarni, analyses footfall trickling in at a particular location. In 2015, it helped prevent recurring stampedes at Kumbhmela, Sudarshan explains. He also has a couple of solo exhibitions lined up for 2020 in France and Germany.

“It is the artist’s responsibility to make things that are interpretative and have something to take away for participants, in their own way, from that experience of the work,” Sudarshan emphasises. “Keep working towards what you truly believe, things will fall into place,” he advises aspiring artists and entrepreneurs.

There was also a workshop titled “The Art, Science and Magic of Beer” conducted by Mumbai-based Thirsty microbrewery’s brewmaster Alex Barlow. The interactive experience included a chance for the audience to sniff and taste a range of core ingredients like malted barley, hops, and adjunct ingredients from Europe and India.

The brewery takes care to include local seasonal fruits such as mango and jamun, as well as ingredients like red rice from Northeast India. CEO Akriti Agarwal explained that care was being taken to ensure cross-usage of ingredients in the brewery, bar and kitchen, in keeping with environmental concerns to reduce wastage.

The evening ended with Girish Karnad’s play in Kannada, Hayavadana. The climax was a performance of folk music by musicians and dancers from six states, called Dhun Mela (curated by Aneesh Pradhan).

Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and put on your creative innovator hat?

Got a creative photograph to share? Email us at PhotoSparks@YourStory.com!

See also the YourStory pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups,’ accessible as apps for Apple and Android devices.


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