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Kala Ghoda Art Festival 2016: Mumbai's Pride

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on February 15, 2016 at 04:08 PM

The Kala Ghoda arts festival in Mumbai is one of the biggest free cultural festivals in the world. Initiated with the objective to conserve the unique heritage of South Mumbai, as an art district, the event encompasses music, dance, theatre, fine arts, photography, cinema, and more. Through seminars, workshops, presentations and displays, the event is engaging and informative for the visitors. Organised by the Kala Ghoda Association, the nine-day festival is an attraction for tourists and has thousands of visitors streaming in not just from the city or country, but even from across the world.

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Visual Arts

As it is rightly said “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see” and this year too the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival takes in varied group of artists that find a space for their talents and thoughts through interactive installations and photography. A variety of events like the Chitrakaar (Art competition at Sir J.J. School of Arts), Tabiyat (plurality of cultures of medicine, healing and well-being) are organised; and numerous installations like the Tyre canopy, Tower of Babel '16, Family of Wire Figures, and Mumbai Beyond play with all your senses and sensibilities. An out-of-the-box 3D optical illusion art “A different perspective” that challenges your visual and intellectual process while carrying quirky metaphors - was our favourite.


The theme for the literature section ‘Unmapped’, called attention to debate rather than simple celebration, reflecting on the public urgencies of our time, and the intimate connection of literary practice with such urgencies. The festival worked with a five-language structure, examining not only the richly assorted practices and contexts of writing, counting forms such as the novel, non-fiction, poetry and so forth; but also broadened the definition to a range of writing in other fields and disciplines such as Music, Architecture, Visual Arts, Theatre, Cinema, Heritage and Philosophy.

Urban design & Architecture

The state of architecture in India, its practices and processes needs an artistic yet analytical approach, and to discover the enormous possibilities this year the theme “Crossing the Threshold” provided both a broad perspective on the physical aspects of our city, and an exposure to future architects, city planners, public administrators, and writers on urban problems and solutions. The architectural segment noticed events, exhibitions, curatorial talks, and presentations mainly focusing on the struggles and ideas that shape design concerns and processes in India today.

Heritage walks

Cities develop a language that connects with the people, the structures, the cultures that have existed and still exist; and to highlight these, a series of heritage walks were programmed ranging from food walks experiencing cinematic Mumbai, to the multiple heritage bus tours witnessing the landmarks and grandeur.

Cinema & Theatre

Like every year, the entertainment fraternity showcased a collection of vibrant dramas, documentaries and movies while the theatre in itself collaborates all the performing artists and fine arts at the theatre stage where veteran/amateur actors, directors and playwrights, grandstand their talents across diverse genres and languages.

Music & Dance

Music and dance always represent a delightful amalgamation of a journey through traditional India to the India of today. This year, the music at KGAF celebrated the uniqueness and versatility with harmonious performances showcasing the traditional and contemporary stories found in central Asia featuring eminent legends and various upcoming independent musicians. The dance section came up with performances from Indian provinces, Contemporary, Ballroom, and Popular dances. Bollywood as always gave opportunity to its audience – to sway, to groove, to weep, to laugh and take back with them, stunning audio and visual memories.


“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces - just good food from fresh ingredients”- Julia Child. KGAF being in Mumbai - a city as famous for its street food as for its fine dine repertoire - also included food demonstrations and talks tailored around the theme of sourcing locally grown, fresh, organic ingredients. With hosting a market space that introduces brands and restaurants that work with local produce and Indian suppliers, to an initiative towards changing the city’s culinary palette the food festival was stupendous!


The Children’s segment was specially designed to interest curious and cheerful minds through fun- filled workshops and shows. To encourage our young budding artists, a Children’s Art Installation Exhibit's was organised where students will represent their schools via art work thematically showcasing ‘All Things Bright and Twinkly &lsquo.


Reflecting a bridge between the past and the future a prominent amount of workshops were conducted in all the creative and socially popular fields including music, fitness, art, film making, travel writing, lifestyle, photography, cartooning, voice modulation and much more. Exploring the extensive potential of art, the interactive workshops added an element of fun!

Street & Stalls

Street plays, puppet shows, folk dances regaled audiences on the streets at the KGAF whereas the Art & Craft displays and the food stalls on the sidewalks by the restaurants in the area were a major attraction.

Make In India Festival

Further, the Kala Ghoda Association (KGA) has collaborated with Make in India and thus some of the art installations and cultural inputs of KGAF have been extended and given slots in the MAKE IN INDIA program. Artist Kanika Bawa (See her TFOD Profile Now) - who had two large art installations - Kolhapuri Chappals and Kathakali Chair - at KGAF, now has them displayed as a part of Make In India program. 

Thus evolving its mandate, the Kala Ghoda Art Festival - a wonderful cultural event with public participation - is set to zoom ahead in popularity in its 2017 edition!

Your may also like to read more about: Kanika Bawa's Art Installations!

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