Imagine a two-acre garden with art sculptures, scores of watering spots for horses and children and women making colourful handbags amidst green hills. The idyllic picture gets better when you know the handbags are being made from recycled waste.
This summer vacation, the weekend gateway of Matheran has more to offer – from May 21 to 25, the hill station will host an eco-friendly arts and culture fest, the Matheran Green Festival.
From art installations, paintings, graffiti, performing arts, music, photography exhibitions to film screenings and more, the festival has a lot to offer. The brainchild of New Bombay Design, a design firm, it is being organised with the help of the Matheran Municipal Corporation and Matheran Pratishthan, an NGO. Kala Nirvana, an organisation dedicated to art residency, is curating the event.
Professionals from France, Scotland, Israel and South Africa will be part of the festival, along with local artistes and school children.
“We have a long-term vision for the festival where we want Matheran to become a green destination for tourists and locals alike,” said Sukant Panigrahy, 38, the founder of New Bombay Design. “We hope to train people in various kinds of arts, as there is no exposure here to music, dance and other disciplines.”
Locals have welcomed the initiative.
“I love singing but after passing school, there is no way for me to learn, except by watching TV. The organisers of this festival are training us and we will perform at the event,” said 19-year-old Tabassum Gulab Mujawar, a resident of Matheran. “They are also teaching us how make the place environment-friendly.”
Mujawar’s teacher is equally excited.
“It is great to be a part of the festival. I am training 12 girls and all are showing equal promise,” said crochet artist Faiza Belaid Beyret.
Artists like Rajan Khosla, filmmaker of Gattu, Benny Prasad (inventor of Bongo guitar), Tritha Electric (from Kolkata), Japanese Odissi dancer Masako Ono, photographer Alexia Webster will be a part of the festival.
Twenty-five locals are working daily to create art sculptures out of waste and a floating garden is also in the works. “I am excited they have planned a long-sustaining initiative and hope it spreads across the country,” said Dr Deepak Patil, chairman of the alumni association of IIT-Bombay, who will speak at the festival.