What is the task of an art educator? – To ignite passion about something and to create what we thought impossible! Tasneem Rajkotwala aspires to be a teacher that is remembered to be one that gave a tiny prod from behind that made you touch the sky. She believes that no amount of technology can ever contest with the deep learning that stems from an artistically rich education.
The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is one of the greatest platforms where creative learning takes place. She believes she is one of the fortunate people who is a part of team that is responsible for creating a deeper appreciation of our rich cultural heritage on a colossal level.
2018 will mark a decade of curating the Children’s Workshops for Nuriya Rao, who joined in 2008 and this will be her 10th consecutive festival. From her very first festival, as a Children’s workshop curator, she has strived to make this space a ‘mini’ fest by itself, involving workshops of all the arts – visual, music, dance, literature, theatre and more – which have been fun, relevant and educating for the young. Coming from a school, where she had been teaching art, Nuriya was keen that students from across the city’s schools should be invited to put up their work at the festival and it wasn’t long before this idea was implemented. With each passing year, the festival now has more schools joining in not only from Mumbai but Pune and Lonavala too and now has a packed Art Installation Exhibition at the Children’s venue.
Mayank Shekhar is a writer, film-critic, and festival programmer/curator. He’s programming consultant with the annual Jagran Film Festival, India’s largest travelling film festival, spread across 16 cities over 3 months, showcasing the best of regional and world cinema. He’s worked on various film festivals, including IFFI (International Film Festival of India), Goa, MAMI, Mumbai, and served on several juries, including the National Film Awards. Shekhar is the first recipient of Ramnath Goenka prize for films and television journalism, and is currently entertainment head with Mid-Day. His latest book ‘Name Place Animal Thing’ on cinema and pop-culture is a critically acclaimed bestseller.
Karan Agarwal has over 13 years of experience in television, advertising and web content, as a writer, director, producer, show creator and podcaster.His most notable work includes the critically acclaimed shows ‘Laakhon Mein Ek’ and ‘Shaitaan Haveli’ on Amazon Prime, the award-winning youth crime-thriller series ‘Gumrah’ on Channel V, the Indian adaptation of the iconic Sesame Street, titled ‘Galli Galli Sim Sim’, India’s biggest reality television show Bigg Boss, and Disney India’s first live-action show ‘Kya Mast Hai Life’. In addition, Karan has also directed ads for brands like eBay, Portico India and Orra Jewellery, under his production house, Kitanu Films. Karan lives in Mumbai, and is currently writing an international TV series.
DR. ANONNA GUHA
Dr. Anonna Guha is a double doctorate in Sociology and in Human Relations. Anonna Guha is a Visharad in Kathak, graded artiste of Doordarshan and a recipient of the Menaka Award for Kathak from Mumbai University. A corporate trainer, she is a recipient of the Woman of Substance Award from Young Environmentalists Group Hiranandani Foundation. Anonna Guha is trained in Hindustani sangeet, drama, ballroom dancing and performs Folk Dances of India based on Nrityanjali’s intensive research of 32 years. As dance curator of the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival for the third year, her desire is to give back what she has received at the Festival as a danseuse – Love, Joy, Romance and Excitement.
Roxanne is a writer based in Mumbai whose main interests are food and travel. She expresses her love for all things edible along with all her travel tales on her website – www.thetinytaster.com. Apart from her own website for which she has won awards and accolades, she write for various publications and lifestyle websites as well about food and travel. She’s currently the lead critic ( for Mumbai ) at Eazy Diner, a restaurant reservation app and website spearheaded by Mr Vir Sanghvi and has hosted and curated a number of food events in the city. She’s had the pleasure of meeting international chefs through her travels and was the only Indian media to meet Chef Marco Pierre White on his trip to Sri Lanka last year. She’s been a part of the Kalaghoda team and has curated the food section for the last 5 years.
Kruti Garg is a practicing Conservation Architect in Mumbai with 12 years experience in the field of heritage conservation. She strongly believes that conservation is an attitude which can be harboured to work with development and not against it, achieving the best of both worlds. Creating awareness towards heritage is as important as it is to work in the field of conservation, and she has been associated with curating and heading the Heritage walks section for Kala Ghoda for 9 years. She designs her heritage walks as interactions and exchange of stories which are woven in the city’s heritage with the idea of instilling a sense of pride in our built heritage. They are not just limited to fact learning’s but on familiarising the audiences with a finding that develops their own relation with their heritage and a bond with their own city.
Anjali Purohit is a writer, poet, translator, curator and an artist. She is the author of Ragi-Ragini: Chronicles from Aji’s Kitchen (Yoda Press, 2012). Her next book, Go Talk to the River: the ovis of Bahinabai Choudhuri will be published early 2018. Anjali is the founder and curator of Cappuccino Readings, an initiative aimed at promoting a literary cafe culture in Mumbai. She holds a PhD in Philosophy from the Bombay University and is now looking forward to HTKGAF in her first coming as curator of the Literature section.
LITERATURE – CHILDREN
Yashasvi is a freelance writer and content developer. She has worked on various festivals for children including Peek-a-book and Mumbai Film Festival. She loves reading and can be found with a book in one hand and a cup of tea in another on most days.
After having finished her graduation from H.R College of commerce and economics and a diploma in Social Communications Media from Sophia college, Nayaab set out to build her own career. Geared with loads of innovative and fresh ideas, she wanted to pursue something, which would keep her close to media, entertainment and people.Event management was thus the natural choice and that’s where The Event Co. was born. Since its inception, The Event Co., under the Nayaab’s watchful eye, has set many a stage on fire both India and abroad. At Kala Ghoda Arts festival, Nayaab has been responsible for acts like Sukhwinder Singh, Shilpa Rao, Rahul Sharma, Parween Sultana and many more.
Naveen’s introduction to the music industry began in 2000 when he along with some friends started organising shows in Pune under his first company Noiz Gate Events. Naveen has seen the music scene evolve from a motley crew of people to a small-scale industry over the decade that he has been involved with it. Having worked with Only Much Louder – where he managed bands like Pentagram, Raghu Dixit Project, Shaa’ir + Func – Naveen today oversees a team of people who help run Mixtape and maintain the same standards of efficiency and dedication that he is known for within the music industry. This is his first year curating Music at HTKGAF and is looking forward to the festival with equal parts trepidation and excitement.
Vidula Warawdekar has studied Economics and has been the chief economist for India in an investment bank. She took a sabbatical from her job that proved to be permanent. Currently she is involved in building vineyard estates in Nashik. Simultaneously, she explored her love for Indian philosophy and art forms and did a diploma in Indian Aesthetics from the University of Mumbai. She has been the curator of stalls since 2011. Her vision is to contemporarise the Indian traditional arts and crafts so that they adapt for a more contemporary space and also to give a platform to new designers who use Indian aesthetics in newer formats.
VARSHA SHIRESH KARALE
Varsha Karale is an art curator and is actively involved in Kala Ghoda Arts Festival committee. She is also the Director OGN Productions.
Varsha started her career by designing coffee table books at Marg Publication as an Assistant Design and Production (1992 – 1995). She then went on to successfully develop a brand ‘Touchstone’ at Tata Press, as a creative head (1995 – 2004) after which she worked as a National Creative Head and Communication Head with WWF India, supporting their projects of conservation (2004 – 2009).
She continuously works on different ideations right from corporate interiors to events, designing coffee table books to curating art shows. She is deeply passionate about Indian art and culture and she brings this passion to he role as curator for the Street section.
Stand Up Comedy
JUUHI BABBAR SONII
2018 is Juuhi Babbar Sonii’s 5th year as the theatre section curator. Juuhi is the recipient of the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puruskaar, the highest national award for the youth towards body of work in theatre. With a lineage like hers and almost 20 years in the profession, she has definitely been an asset to the KGAF Theatre Act! From folk theatre hailing from Rural India to the swankiest performances studded with stars, Juuhi Babbar Sonii has got all of it under Kala Ghoda theatre roof. The years between 2014 and 2017 showcased more than 50 performances each year and this year with more than 60 performances, it is yet another celebration of the best in theatre that the city has ever seen.
Urban Design And Architecture
Born in Mumbai, Kaiwan Mehta, is a theorist and critic in the fields of visual culture, architecture, and city studies. Mehta has studied Architecture (B. Arch), Literature (MA), Indian Aesthetics (PGDip) and Cultural Studies (PhD). He recently completed his doctoral studies at the Centre for the Study of Culture and Society, Bengaluru, under the aegis of Manipal University on ‘architectural ornaments and its relationship to the city and metropolitan experience, with a specific focus on Mumbai’. He authored Alice in Bhuleshwar: Navigating a Mumbai Neighbourhood (Yoda Press. New Delhi, 2009) as well asThe Architecture of I M Kadri (Niyogi. New Delhi, 2016) Since March 2012 he has been the Managing Editor of Domus India (Spenta Multimedia) – the India-edition of the international Domus magazine on Art, design, Architecture and City Studies; and writes prolifically on architecture, aesthetics, and cities. He constantly teaches across universities and academies, while continuing to set up many and varied spaces for para-academic engagement and learning.
Tripti Ayyar, a true blue Mumbaikar, manages her family’s charitable foundation, designs Indian clothes, is an avid reader, a movie buff and enjoys meeting people. This is the 5th year she is curating workshops at HTKGAF. It is her passion for bringing the arts to a wider audience that drives her.
Ami Patel is a visual artist with a master’s degree in Fine Arts from Sir J.J. School of Art. Her works predominantly consist of paintings, installations and murals. She has worked on a number of solo and group shows nationally and internationally. Her love and passion can be seen in her functional art. She also enjoys curatorial projects and this is evident in her work at HTKGAF as she marks her 8th year with the festival this year.
A dental and Oral Surgeon by profession, Tarana is also an avid art collector and patron and started her journey as a Gallerist in 2003 with Gallery Art & Soul. With over 250 art shows of an exceedingly high calibre, she has set her sights on public art projects, wherein she has consulted and procured the art, collaborating closely. These have included Mumbai and Bangalore Airports, the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Bangalore, the Leela Palace, Delhi to name a few.This passion finds its outlet as Curator of Visual Arts for the hugely popular Kalaghoda Arts Festival held annually in Mumbai at the historic Kalaghoda district. Tarana has patiently mentored countless young artists, students and photographers, over 10 years in this role and continues to do so.
From spending 15 years as an advertising professional including working as a Senior Creative Director at Ogilvy, and winning many international and national awards and creating the Kala Ghoda Festival brand identity during her 12 year tenure at Ogilvy: it’s been a full circle for Heeral Akhaury and Kalaghoda. She came back to the Kala Ghoda festival in 2013 as part of the festival team and has been curating the Visual Arts section for the past 4 years.
Heeral has her own brand, Ullu Ke Pathe, which designs eclectic, hand-painted home and furniture collections.