THE EQUESTRIAN statue of the Black Horse stands tall yet again. Even the novel Coronavirus could not keep the mother of all art festivals down!
Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, one of the premiere iconic arts and crafts festivals of Asia, will now take on a digital avatar from February 6-14 this year, commencing as always on the first Saturday of February, and closing on the second Sunday of February, refusing to let the cacophony of the pandemic drown the annual cultural awakening which will include 70 programs!
For the first time ever, the festival is also set to take its stalls (a huge attraction at the festival every year), online. The Marketplace will open on 6th February, but will go till the end of the month- 28t February. A showcase of an eclectic collection of handicrafts and other products, the Marketplace can be accessed at www.kgaf2021.com
Says Brinda Miller, Honorary Chairperson of the Kala Ghoda Association, “Kala Ghoda Arts Festivals has kept its date with Mumbai for the past 21 years. This 22nd year again, we are celebrating art and culture through a different medium that has spurred us on to ‘unlock’ the entire festival and make it virtual, including the much sought after KGAF stalls. Our partners, artistes and collaborators, who have worked with us through the years, have stepped forward this year too, to make this festival a ‘virtual reality’. What is encouraging is that we have well-wishers from around the world who are excited to be part of our festival this year. This has been an opportunity for us to reinvent the wheel!”
Organised by the Kala Ghoda Association (KGA), a non-profit organisation, the festival to be hosted on Insider (www.kgaf2021.com) will reach out to embrace global audiences with discussions, workshops and demonstrations about dance and music, visual arts, theatre, cinema, literature, book launches, tributes to famous personalities — in short, the festival presents plenty of events which reflect the rich history of art in Mumbai.
Emphasizing on having something for each and every attendee, the festival showcases numerous programs in films and filmmaking, arts and crafts, prose and poetry, culture, music, dance, storytelling, culinary arts, martial arts and theatre among others.
The 2021 schedule brings forth nine days of programmes and contests, under categories such as Workshops, Panel discussions and Talks, for children and adults alike. Themed under KGAFunlocked and Funlocked, the general and children’s programmes, respectively, promise a week of edutainment for our patrons.
The Kala Ghoda Spotlight features entertaining performances and talks by Leslee Lewis, TM Krishna, Usha Uthup, Ankur Tewari, Rahul Mehrotra, among many biggies, brought by various collaborators including Teamwork, Mahindra Kabira Festival, Team Rewind, Kommune, MAMI and Sula Wines among others, with the highlighting session with #AamhiKon?, a concept that promotes lyrical Marathi Hip Hop and showcases MCs , poets and writers from Maharashtra.
Unlocking Heritage takes us through the city and its renowned architectural precincts; in association with Art Deco Mumbai Trust and Khaki Tours thought Heritage Walks.
Key Conversations promises engaging conversations with luminaries including Ruth Padel, Devdutt Patnaik, Ranjit Hoskote, Prem Chandavarkar, Swiss-Romanian novelist Dana Grigrocea, TM Krishna, Perumal Murugan, Pankaj Udhas with Kavita Krishnamoorthy, Tahira Kashyap, Neena Gupta and Vikas Khanna, Padma Shri Shubha Mudgal, Shilpa Rao, Dia Mirza with Licypriya Kangujam, and Talat Aziz with Pratibha Singh Baghel, Vikas Khanna and Neena Gupta.
UpSkill features workshops by the Arzan (scissorhands) Khambatta, musicians Gino Banks, Rakesh Chaurasia, Ojas Adhiya, Purbayan Chatterjee, Team M N M Talkies on podcasting, Unlocking Anxiety with Sonali Gupta.
In a similar vein, Shake a Leg features workshops with renowned international dancers such as Bea Dabrabant (for Tai Chi), Laura Kenyon (Flamenco), Tommaso Petrolo (contemporary), Naima Yazbek (Brazilian Samba) and Natya Kalari by Dr. Sreejith TR of Dancity India. Other Indian names include Ashley Lobo.
Laugh Out Loud, as the title suggests, brings forth the best in the business of comedy including Atul Khatri, Aditi Mittal, Sorabh Pant, Vir Das, Rohan Joshi, Sonali Thakker and Kashyap Swaroop.
Kitchen Secrets focusses on culinary specialists’ demos and features Saransh Goila, Zeba Kohli, Pooja Dhingra, Tara Deshpande and Michelin Star Chef Fabio Mazzolini from Italy.
KGAF Specials this year also include a section titled Artists’ Studio that will take audiences into the workspace of artists including Arzan Khambatta, Paresh Maity, Ajay De, Madhvi Subrahmanian, Brinda Miller, Sameer Kulavoor, Sunil Padwal, Dhruvi Acharya, Seema Kohli and Rekha Rodwittiya.
Kashish International Film Festival will also be showcasing cinematic works, both Indian as well as International, and will also be hosting a panel of trans artists in the cinema world!
Funlocked, the children’s section, includes an exciting workshop by Harun Robert, storytime with Kahaani Online, Anand Neelakantan and Shabnam Minwalla, celebrated authors both. Meera Warrier’s The Treasure Chest with Maya brings alive the story of the Kala Ghoda for kids, and the talented team at Amar Chitra Katha shares the story behind some of their iconic characters!
This year, KGAF’s partners include KOMMUNE, Kashish, MAMI, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Bangalore International Centre, Nehru Science Centre and Amar Chitra Katha, as also cultural embassies including the Institute of Italian Culture, Consulate General of Switzerland, the Italian Cultural Centre (Mumbai), the Brazilian Consulate and the Consulate General of Sweden.
The proceeds from KGAF are used for restoration projects in the Kala Ghoda precinct. In the past few years, the Kala Ghoda Association has funded restoration of iconic structures such as the Elphinstone College building, the Institute of Science, the Khyber Restaurant wall mural, the Cama Hall exteriors, garden of the David Sassoon library, the Bomonjee Hormusjee Wadia Clock Tower (located at Perin Nariman street), the Seth Gangalal Nandlal V Mulji Pyav located at the entrance of the Horniman Circle Garden and the Ruttonsee Muljee Jetha water fountain, among many others. The Chhatrapati Shivaji Vaastu Sangrahalaya (The Prince of Wales Museum) ,Elphinstone College,Rhythm House and the Asiatic Library have also been recipients of the Association’s funds and support.
KGAF 2021 will be hosted on Insider. Schedules will be on www.kgaf2021.com