Preview: Kala Ghoda Festival / Return of the Black Stallion / Sushma Sabnis
Crossing the Threshold, the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival opens in Mumbai on the 6th February. Adored by art lovers from every strata of society, this year it promises to be bigger, better and brilliant, assures Director Brinda Miller.
With the onset of spring, art and cultural activities spring into action in Mumbai with the city’s very own Kala Ghoda Arts Festival at Rampart Row and spilling over to other venues. The festival slated from 6th February to the 14th February, would also be having a three day ‘Make in India’ cultural fest at Cross Maidan organized by the Kala Ghoda Association.
The much loved arts festival will bring in an array of cultural activities to cater to the eclectic tastes of the Mumbaikars and anyone else who chooses to be part of it.
Each year the Kala Ghoda Festival is held at the Rampart Row area and this year the venue will be extended from the parking lot to a part of Cross Maidan and key traffic islands through out the city. Music related programs would be held at Cross Maidan and this year stalwarts like flautist Hariprasad Chaurasia and singer Shubha Mudgal would be performing at the festival.
This year the theme is ‘Crossing the Threshold’ and Director Brinda Miller explains, “Each year we try to make it ( the Kala Ghoda Festival) more and more visual.. This year even the street decor will make it look different. It is a big challenge. However, we surprise and surpass ourselves and make it happen with new programming..”
“We will be having many more Visual Art installations spread across KGAF, some of which will be on the traffic islands in and around Mumbai..” she says, “..around 100 art installations are planned for the festival. Besides the 50 odd at Rampart Row itself..we have many at Cross Maidan as well as the under -18 section at CSMVS Garden for schools”.
Talking about the public art projects chosen to be displayed at the KGAF over the years, Brinda tells us that this is the only festival of its kind in India where the public can actually interact with the art on the street without being self-conscious. She reiterates that Art on the street is meant for every strata of society to engage with and enjoy. And Kala Ghoda Festival as been instrumental in making it happen over the years and continues to do so.
KGAF will see an interesting mix of designers and artists works, some well known, established names such as Seema Kohli, Krsna Mehta, Lekha Washington, Preeti Vyas Giannetti along with some emerging artists like Hetal Shukla, Sumeet Patil’s works are the attraction this year.
There is a creative engagement for the art lovers and art connoisseurs alike, at Mumbai’s art district, with projects by eminent artists of the city which focus on environmental awareness. Sculptor Arzan Khambatta and painter Sunil Padwal would be conducting a workshop for kids of all ages, on making art from waste material such as styrofoam plates and plastic cutlery.
This year, apart from sporting a large installation at the David Sassoon library, the literature bugs are in for a treat with the launch of two books. These are not just any books but inspired by Kala Ghoda, one book titled, ‘Flavours of Kala Ghoda’ authored by Nicole Mody features iconic recipes from 17 local restaurants from the Kala Ghoda area. The other book to be launched during the festival would be ‘Celebrating Mumbai’s Art District’ by restoration architect Abha Narain Lambah which focuses on the area’s architectural gems and maintaining them.
When asked how she sees the Kala Ghoda festival bring about change in the society, Brinda says, “It brings about a certain unity in the city… people from all ages and strata of society visit and mingle. The festival has free entry..
Every city needs a dash of culture and this festival is a forerunner in every sense of the word. I think India needs more creative festivals. There is no other festival like the KGAF. The more the merrier…”
On that optimistic note, the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival will open for public from 6th of February till the 14th February 2016.