Projects > PANJIM ART DISTRICT
PANJIM ART DISTRICT
Through its partnership with Serendipity Arts Festival – an annual multi-disciplinary arts initiative, St+art has hosted three editions of its street art festival in the city. In addition to prominently engaging with Goan culture through a string of murals by national and international artists in the Panjim Art District, the 2019 edition of the festival sought to branch out to locations other than Panaji.
A mix of 6 national and international artists then worked throughout last December to make additions to Goa’s very own art district as well as create public art projects in the multi-faith neighbourhood of Talegaon.
St+art Goa 2019 also included the production of artist Hanif Kureshi and Prof. Jyotindra Jain’s ‘The Travelling Photo Studio’ – hosted for a week at the Serendipity Arts Festival 2019.
Situated on the coast, Goa has been an area of transit and encounters between its indigenous residents and foreigners since its discovery. Panjim, home to the city’s colonial past consistently represents this notion through its hybrid Portuguese-Goan culture. St+art began working in Panjim in 2017 focusing on exploring the heritage of Goa through the diverse identities that it accommodates.
Working alongside the framework of the Serendipity Arts Festival, St+art aimed to use flavourful experimentation of Urban Art practices to unravel the city’s fabric in some of its key areas. From A4 paste ups to large scale murals and temporary installations, India’s fourth art district took shape, narrating the tangible and intangible aspects which characterise the fibre of Panjim.
With a history that goes back to 1007—1050, Panjim’s landscape has been challenged constantly, making it now the home to urban fables. Using muralism as a medium to reflect on its past, while commenting on its contribution to the present, the artists have transformed facades—colonial and modern—with stories that denote this transition. From Rickey Lee Gordon’s gentle tribute to the fisherfolk community to Do & Khatra’s illustrative take on a local fruit market ‘regular’, each mural builds over another as the passerby traverses through the city.
Panjim being the embodiment of the Goan identity connects with other parts of the state seamlessly. The artworks draw on this broader identity by framing stories from its surrounding areas as well. Guido Van Helten’s tribute to Mapusa potter Teresa Wallace is symbolic of this as it frames an artisanal tradition that is bound within Goa, connecting different regions together. The artist’s decision of painting Teresa’s hand alludes to her ability to make pots without the wheel. Now immortalised on a facade in Panjim, this mural is a reminder of the many traditions that are slowly disappearing. This premise is built on further by exploring forgotten areas to reconnect them with the city once again.
In 2019, Fountainhas, a region historically relevant to Panjim was activated with Guerilla interventions across abandoned shops. An area that was already a playground for street artists, revived with the vision to welcome young visitors and reconcile them with their declining urban heritage.
The ephemerality of these small scale interventions will soon set in; such projects will disappear into decadence. But it is nothing new that the art district has not witnessed before. Every year, Panjim activates in unexpected ways with the Serendipity Arts Festival revitalising historic spaces of the city for art exhibitions, performances and so on. Contributing to the temporality of the festival, St+art curates one installation every year, reusing spots within the city as points for creative conversation. Each distinctively interactive and thought-provoking in its own right, these installations are temporarily placed within the art district, bringing something fresh and memorable to the viewers.
Borrowing from the philosophy of Daku, who rendered the residents of 31st January Road awe-struck with his installation, “Time changes everything”. In the interest of not limiting the exploration of the city’s infrastructure within its borders, St+art ventured into its neighbour,Taleigao to create a project that would be an offshoot of the district. Building connections across regions, the murals in Taleigao reflected over its urban landscape, with a special focus on its ecology. Abundant in forest land, the village was traditionally known for agriculture and horticulture. Using this as the root of the project, the murals within this region explore the diverse and rich ecological landscape, all the while encouraging the protection of it as well.
Today, the murals within Panjim and Taleigao represent the permanent trace of an experiment. Demarcating the evolving geographical and cultural terrains of the city, this experiment continues to improvise with new mediums and ideas to open up an unparalleled dialogue between the locals and the tourists who visit it every year.
Volunteers from SAF
Kenan Carmo Savio Vaz
Vishaka Munjal Singh
Volunteers from SAF
St+art India Foundation
St+art creates public art projects through art districts, experiential exhibitions and installations contributing to the urban regeneration and to community living across India. Its aim is to make art accessible to a wider audience by taking it out of the conventional gallery space and embedding it within the cities we live in.
Since 2014, with the constant support of Asian Paints, St+art has spearheaded Urban Art projects across 20 cities by bringing together multiple voices such as regional government bodies, foreign cultural institutions and street artists. These projects activate otherwise neglected spaces through art and cultural activities, thus enabling the citizens to reimagine how public spaces can be utilised.
St+art has so far established art districts in the cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Goa and Coimbatore. Each representing the contemporary face of India, these districts have been realised under the vision of India’s Smart Cities Mission.
Within its framework, the foundation also provides a platform for education and social awareness through a range of curated workshops, tours and community engagement activities.