“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up,” the artist Pablo Picasso once said. At the Hindustan Times Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, however, you can aspire to be an artist, a dancer, a writer or a chef, irrespective of age or experience.
With 41 workshops, the festival offers a canvas where Mumbaiites can dabble in everything from the latest tricks on Instagram to Chinese calligraphy, with sessions handpicked by curators to ensure that there is something for everyone.
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“Every year we have at least a few people telling us they took the week off from work just to participate in the workshops,” says three-time section co-curator Tripti Ayyar, smiling. “People from all walks of life come and display creativity in ways that continue to surprise us.”
Some of the arts you can expect to hone this year include traditional Indian ways of draping a sari; Lippan or mud-and-mirror art work from Kutchh; cartooning, in a session conducted by Savio Mascarenhas of Amar Chitra Katha; and song-writing, with some help from Canadian jazz musician Kevin Dean.
There will also be workshops on travel photography, dance, hot-wax painting, pottery, fitness, and personality development.
“This year we have Meena Naik, an internationally renowned puppeteer, conducting sessions on how to make puppets out of waste material like tetrapaks, cloth scraps and plastic bottles,” says section co-curator Ami Patel.
Mumbaiities are already blocking dates for the festivities.
“I am a regular at Kala Ghoda and I never miss the workshops,” says Monisha Pratap Shah, 53, a fashion designer, freelancer writer and Matunga resident. “Every year, the artisans connect me with new, diverse forms of art from across the globe. I try and integrate the new ideas into my designs to give them freshness. My daughter, who is a jewellery designer, is also a regular at the workshops.”
For history-lovers, there are 20 heritage walks on offer too. “Every year we try and highlight different aspects of the city’s history, culture and architecture,” says Kruti Garg, curator of the Epic Channel heritage walks section. “This year, we are going back in time to see how the city became the financial hub of the country, with walks through the old banking district.”
There will also be a walk from the city’s first luxury hotel, Watson’s, to the Taj Mahal Palace; and for book-lovers, a tour of the city’s most historic libraries, including the Asiatic, JN Petit and David Sassoon libraries.
Among the special sessions for kids will be workshops on storytelling, singing, dancing and cooking. “The session on chocolate-making by Zeba Kohli promises to be a special delight,” says section curator Nuriya Rao.
Foodies, whether adults or kids, can also experiment with workshops on Asian, organic, Canadian and Italian cuisines, as well as desserts, salads, wines, breads and teas, in the Bertolli food festival powered by Living Foodz. Workshops will be conducted by the likes of Sanjeev Kapoor, Ranveer Brar and Maria Goretti.