Tradition calling – The Hindu


Music, dance, cinema, theatre, literature, heritage walks… the Kala Ghoda Arts Competition had one thing for everybody.

A mild breeze wafted throughout the sprawling ‘Cross Maidan’ as the gang cheered the stay band enjoying on the 16th version of the Kala Ghoda Artwork Competition (KGAF) in Mumbai. Each inch of area was taken, forcing latecomers to sit down on the again garden in entrance of a large display screen. Anuradha Pal, the tabla virtuoso, set the tone of the night. The evening superior to a rollicking affair as singer-musician Amit Trivedi took cost of the stage.

This was simply considered one of many top-notch performances. With 450 occasions, unfold over the primary 9 days of February showcasing 12 artwork types, every slicing throughout genres, the fest was open to all, freed from price, to be loved on the streets, in gardens and in public heritage buildings.

Brinda Miller, KGAF Committee Director, remembers how harmful the realm was within the early days: the streets had been darkish and drug addicts roamed the place freely. There have been no eating places. Now the annual fest has turned the realm into an artwork and tradition hub with personal artwork galleries, boutiques and nice eating choices galore.

Whether or not it’s music, dance, cinema, theatre, literature, heritage walks, workshops, meals, road fests and stalls, visible arts, city design and structure, KGAF has one thing for everybody.

The second we stepped into Rampart Row, the most-frequented venue at Kala Ghoda, the revellers’ rush lifted our spirits. From 19th century museums, library, gardens and pure society heritage buildings; internet hosting the cultural occasions, it was a pleasure to stroll by Mumbai’s colonial previous. The structure in Victorian neo-Gothic and Indo-Saracenic types was a visible deal with.

“No matter cash we make from KGAF primarily comes from the stalls and goes into restoration of the heritage constructions within the neighborhood,” mentioned Miller. Latest revamps embody the David Sassoon Library backyard and the continuing restoration of Bombay Pure Historical past Society constructing. Yearly they contribute to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vaastu Sanghralaya (museum). They’ve already restored the Horniman Circle backyard, Elphinstone School constructing and the Institute of Science and constructed an amphitheatre.

Nonetheless, for some, the seek for the elusive ‘Kala Ghoda’ got here to naught, because the equestrian statue of King Edward VII — from which the place derives its title — was eliminated way back. Some noticed an equestrian artwork set up and posed excitedly for pictures at Rampart Row.

We took a leisurely stroll alongside the varied stalls and promptly stopped for the scrumptious Burmese Khow Suey straight from the steaming pot and freshly-made waffles served with dollops of whipped cream, luscious strawberries and yummy chocolate sauce. Quirky artwork installations conveyed social messages of justice, equality, gender discrimination, girls’s rights and girls’s well being. A lopsided weighing scale confirmed girls not getting justice. Younger artist Sidharth Somaiya painted a big guitar mannequin replete with pasted surgical bands “to create breast most cancers consciousness.”

With over 50 stalls providing a spread of merchandise, guests may bask in some guilt-free procuring since they had been instantly supporting conventional artisans. Take as an example the NGO Avani. The organisation has been reviving conventional crafts of weaving and spinning in Berinag village of Pithoragarh district in Uttrakhand. An allied mission will get villagers to extract dyes from 80 crops and ploughs again the earnings into neighborhood welfare.

Among the many well-known artists and writers who took half in KGAF this 12 months had been William Dalrymple, Cyrus Mistry, Welsh harpist Georgia Ruth, singer Nikhil D’ Souza, sarod gamers Amaan and Ayaan Ali Khan, Mallika Sarabhai and Farhan Akhtar. For the primary time, an eclectic bunch of English, Hindi, Gujarati and Marathi performs had been staged to succeed in a bigger viewers. Brinda sums up the essence of KGAF: “It’s a mixture of all the pieces and we wish to make it as various as potential.”

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