Goa in the month of December tends to conform to a general stereotype, becoming a place somewhat limited in scope. At this time of the year, life in Goa seems to revolve around one thing and one thing alone: welcoming the New Year, through parties, carnivals and various other hackneyed and over-the-top forms of merrymaking. This applies to all big cities more or less, but most of all it applies to Goa — that goodtime hub of the country where the spotlight is always on fun, games and revelry.
In all this noise, it’s easy to overlook the relatively quieter, though by no means lesser, delights that Goa has to offer in December. The annual arts and culture festival Sensorium, organised by Sunaparanta, Goa Centre for the Arts, being the best-known among them.
Sensorium 2015 — which opens on 14 December in Sunaparanta in Goa’s Panjim area and goes on till 15 February next year — will see a wide selection of contemporary Indian and international artists participating in events as various as exhibitions, symposia, workshops and concerts. Some of the more prominent names on the list of this year’s participants are Atul Dodiya, L.N. Tallur, Anita Dube and Bharti Kher among others.
Interestingly, the theme for this year’s festival is “love” — “the idea, the feeling, the practice,” as the event’s official website puts it. “Built around the theme of love, Sensorium will feature theatrical performance, musical performances and visual art featuring 40 of India’s leading artists,” said Isheta Salgaocar, executive producer, Sensorium. “We will also showcase original works in response to our central theme from artists like Anju Dodiya, Mithu Sen, Hema Upadhyay, Sharmila adamant, Surekha, Kedar DK, Aditya Pande and Atul Bhalla among others. Love enables conversation in a way few other things do, and all artists who are part of Sensorium are joined together in creating a stunning symphony.”
The inaugural event on Monday features performances by Jana Prepeluh, Atish Saha and Himanshu Suri, as well as a live rendering of Shakespeare’s famed comedy Twelfth Night, which will be presented by Filter Theater in association with the Royal Shakespeare Company. “Sensorium this year is a chorus of masterful voices engaged with the idea of love,” said Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi, honorary director, Sensorium. “Artists as varied at Atul Dodiya and Roger Ballen, Anita Dube and Mithu Sen, will elaborate on this most misunderstood and powerful of human impulses, rescuing it from clichés that shadow it. There will be theater, music, a salon series, and performance art on the grounds of Sunaparanta from 14 December to 15 February. And all events are free.”
Sensorium festival, in its latest edition, is also showcasing by way of multiple exhibitions the best that the world of contemporary arts in India has to offer. Installation works, sculptures, paintings, videos and mixed-media artworks from across disciplines will be put on display for the duration of the festival, according to Leandre D’Souza, Sensorium’s exhibitions curator. “Sensorium,” he said, “is a visual epicentre of the language of love and desire explored and animated through sculpture, painting, installation and performance. Today, people connect more easily with things, rather than with other people. The Sensorium, edition love, alters this and reconnects us to this most fragile and complex human emotion.”