Tomorrow is the last day of Mumbai’s much-loved and much awaited annual Kala Ghoda Arts Festival (KGAF). The Festival is organised by the Kala Ghoda Association, a not-for-profit organisation, with the aim of “physically upgrading the Kala Ghoda sub-precinct and making it the Art District of Mumbai”. All events of the KGAF are held within a one kilometre radius of the Kala Ghoda area in South Mumbai.
The KGAF makes space for all kinds of arts and through its various components ensures participation of a very large cross-section of the population. According to the Festival’s website,
The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is an expression of the inclusiveness of art where all gather in a joyous spirit of celebration of the finest talents producing momentous and uplifting work.
In its 13th year now, the KGAF 2011 had children’s events, workshops, literary events, heritage walks, film screenings, theatre, music, and dance performances, and a street festival as well. In addition to all these events, artists from across the country set up stalls to showcase and sell their products.
Seeing the crowds at the Kala Ghoda, I felt the whole city was there ! It’s obvious that the popularity of the KGAF is growing by the year, and for a city that is starved of such events the Festival is like a breath of fresh air. I went for the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus heritage walk (this will be another post, so watch this space), watched some of the cultural shows and, along the way took in the art installations and the mela-like atmosphere, met people who I unfailingly meet only at the KGAF every year, and observed how every visitor had a camera of some sort or the other. And yes, I shopped. I bought some Malkha fabric, organic hand-pound Indrayani rice, cushion covers from Nagaland (courtesy Ritika Mittal), some Dokra jewellery, apricot bath oil from the Uttarakhand-based Aarohi… 🙂
A selection of some moments from the KGAF 2011:
Anybody who has lived in Mumbai or even been here as a casual visitor will realise that it is very unlike other cities in India. No, I am not talking about the “spirit of Mumbai”; I am talking about its ability to make space for everybody and everything—the classy, the kitschy, the bizarre, the trite, the queer, the morbid, the migrant, the son/daughter of the soil, the single woman, the live-in couples, the much married… You can add whatever else you want to the list and can be sure that it would have a place in the city.
The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is exactly like the city it is held in. It has something for everyone, and therein lies its appeal and popularity. Indeed, the KGAF is a metaphor for the city of Mumbai itself.
Read about the other editions of the KGAF