The District of Art
For nine days every year for the last 15 years in February, the art district of Kala Ghoda is transformed into a celebration of everything that’s art. The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival sees everything from music to theatre, the visual arts to literature and street acts to heritage walks at venues ranging from the National Gallery of Modern Art to the Horniman Circle Garden and the Asiatic Library. “Around the eighth year, the festival really consolidated itself and it has grown huge now in every aspect,” says Brinda Miller, festival director. “People volunteer to be a part of it, in programming too it has reached a landmark, the big and small acts are getting bigger and while earlier it used to be a niche crowd, people now come from all over.”
This year, the 15th edition of the festival begins on February 2 and will continue till February 10. Rampart Row, the street that lies opposite Jehangir Art Gallery and has a number of eateries, art venues and the like, will continue to be the centre of the festival, with street acts, visual art events and more. Various galleries in the vicinity, including Gallery Beyond and Art Entrance will host cinema, visual arts and workshops, Cross Maidan will see music and dance events, the Max Mueller Bhavan theatre and cinema. “We’ve always had a theme for the festival but never really pushed it,” says Miller. “But this year because the festival has grown bigger, we realised the need for curation. The theme for the festival is change.”
Each of the individual categories of events — which include dance, music, theatre, visual arts, cinema, literature and food — also have their respective themes keeping the broader theme of change in mind. The cinema events, for instance, centre around the theme ‘Cinema for Change’ and will attempt to discuss questions such as whether cinema is an art, whether it should be entertaining or deliver a message and if it should allow viewers to escape to fantasy or make them realise reality.
The music events will be based on the theme ‘Changing Keys’ and include musicians playing classical and experimental genres, while the theme for food is ‘Appetite for Change’. Among the many other categories, the visual arts will explore the theme ‘Mumbai Dreams... Art for Change’, the street acts ‘Walk the Change’, literature ‘The Book of Changes’ and theatre ‘Play for Change’.
Music: World Music with Tjupurru on February 7
Theatre: Animal Farm, based on the novel by George Orwell on February 3
Food: Sweet Nothings with Pooja Dhingra of Le 15 Patisserie on February 9
Literature: Jeet Thayil in conversation with Ranjit Hoskote on February 9
Cinema: Pollock, directed by Ed Harris on February 2
Street: Nat acrobats from West Zone Cultural Centre on all days of the festival
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