If you love gardening, but the only plot you have is a windowsill; if you are alarmed at the rise in the number of cybercrimes but don’t know what to do about it; if you love designer threads but cannot afford the price tags, the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival can help.
The workshops section offers a total of 34 events — all of them free — where you can learn new skills, work with the masters and create masterpieces of your own.
“In keeping with the festival’s theme, ‘Sparsh’ or touch, the concept driving the workshops is Ehsaas or experience. It takes the idea of touch forward, and every workshop caters to skills that offer a good experience and make everyday life more beautiful,” said section co-curator Tripti Ayyar.
The workshops cover a range of areas: you can learn flower arrangement from Dr Sujala Pathare, Byzantine mosaic art from Italian artist Sara Guberti, innovative cooking from food blogger and consultant Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal, and how to adapt runway trends for everyday wear from designer Nachiket Barve.
This year, D Sivanandan, former state director general of police, will hold a session on protecting yourself from cyber crime and e-terror.
There will also be workshops on dance and fitness, storytelling, block-printing, painting and personality development.
“The effort here is to have something for everyone. We have Roshani Shah, who does fantastic work growing herbs and shrubs in bottles. This will resonate with space-starved Mumbaiites who would love to have a garden,” said section co-curator Ami Patel. “There is Rugmani V, who will show you how to make jewellery from discarded odds and ends about the house. Overall, the aim of the workshops section is to make the arts relatable, accessible.”
The festival also has workshops by sculptor and architect Arzan Khambatta and photographer Avinash Gowariker. “The idea is to bring people who have done good work in diverse fields onto one platform,” Ayyar said.
For the kids, there are special sessions on dancing, writing and robot-building. “They have been organised with one idea in mind — building the child’s body, mind and soul. The festival’s theme is touch, and the children’s activities are about bringing a touch of joy to themselves, to the environment, and to their lives,” said Tasneem Rajkotwala, curator of the children’s workshops section.
For volunteers at the festival, part of the thrill is the opportunity they get to interact with those who conduct the workshops, and the enthusiasts who attend them. “My experience volunteering at the Kala Ghoda festival last year was so diverse, with so much hands-on involvement, in such a variety of activities, that I am back this time around too,” said engineering student Omkar Kashikar, 21.
Mumbaiities are already blocking the dates. “I have attended workshops on cooking and therapeutic dance,” said Vikas Sangle, 39, a freelance writer and Colaba resident. “The workshops introduce you to new concepts and teach you skills you can take home.”
The Kala Ghoda festival is an important date in the city’s cultural calendar. It is a reflection of a vibrant and throbbing city. The festival also provides a platform for budding artists, craftsmen and artisans.
~Rakesh Maria, commissioner of police