By Arghyadip Hatua
The Govandi Arts Festival was a vibrant and engaging celebration of arts and culture in the marginalized neighborhood of Govandi in Mumbai.
The festival was a platform for artists, musicians, and performers to showcase their skills and talents, and it provided a unique opportunity for the community to come together and celebrate the creativity and resilience of its people.
As I arrived at the festival, I was immediately struck by the energy and vibrancy of the crowd. There were people of all ages and backgrounds, all gathered together to celebrate the arts and culture of their community. The festival was held in an open-air space, with stages set up for musical performances, dance shows, and theater productions.
One of the highlights of the festival was the lantern march, which was organized by a community-led NGO from Bristol. The march was a beautiful display of creativity and imagination, as participants carried brightly colored lanterns through the streets of Govandi. The lanterns were made from recycled materials, and each one was unique and stunningly beautiful.
As the lantern march wound its way through the streets, I could feel the sense of joy and celebration in the air. People were laughing and dancing, and the music and singing filled the air. It was a truly magical experience and one that I will never forget.
Another highlight of the festival was the art exhibition, which featured works from local artists as well as pieces from creative professionals from Bristol and The British Council. The artwork was diverse and eclectic, ranging from paintings and sculptures to installations and mixed media pieces. It was inspiring to see the talent and creativity of these artists, and to see the ways in which they were using their art to speak to the experiences and challenges faced by their community.
Throughout the festival, there were also workshops and performances for children, including puppet shows, storytelling sessions, and interactive art activities. It was heartwarming to see the children engaged and excited about the arts, and it was clear that the festival was having a positive impact on their lives.
One of the most powerful aspects of the Govandi Arts Festival was its emphasis on celebrating the resilience and creativity of the community. It was not just a showcase of talent, but a celebration of the people who had overcome so much to make it to this point. It was a reminder that even in the face of adversity, there is always hope and beauty to be found.
As the festival came to a close, I felt a deep sense of gratitude and inspiration. The Govandi Arts Festival had provided a window into the heart and soul of this vibrant community, and had shown me the power of the arts to bring people together and to create positive change. It was an experience that I will carry with me always, and I look forward to returning to Govandi in the future to continue to celebrate and support the creativity and resilience of its people.
Special Thanks to: Sandhya Nair,Natasha Sharma – Curators of the event also from – Community Design agency
Vineeta Shetty – Founder of Placemaking India
Co-partner of the event – British Council India -UK, Community Design agency, Lamplighterarts cic, Streets reimagined, Navnirman Natwar Parekh Association
Arghyadip was born in Kolkata, the ‘City of Trams’ in India. He is a Public Transport and Urban Policy enthusiast and Advocate. He aims to start a revolution for tramways and walkability in Kolkata as well as broadly in India.
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