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.
2020 will mark 12 years of curating the Children’s Workshops for Nuriya Rao, who joined in 2008. From her very first festival, as a Children’s Workshops 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
KGAF 2020 marks Dr.Anonna Guha’s 5th year as the Curator of the Dance Section.
Anonna Guha is a double doctorate in Sociology and in Human Relations. She is a Visharad in Kathak, graded artiste of Doordarshan and a recipient of the Menaka Award for Kathak from Mumbai University. Anonna is trained in Hindustani Sangeet, drama, ballroom dancing and performs Folk Dances of India based on Nrityanjali’s intensive research of 32 years. She is a TED X speaker on ‘Importance of Performing Arts in Education’. Anonna Guha is also a corporate trainer, counselor, author and a recipient of the Woman of Substance Award from Young Environmentalists Group Hiranandani Foundation. She is the author of ‘21 Mantras for People Management : Lessons from Buddha, Vivekananda and Gandhi’ published by Indus Source.
Roxanne Bamboat is a food and travel writer based in Mumbai. For the past 8 years she’s been actively travelling and dabbling in the city’s food space writing on her website – The Tiny Taster (www.thetinytaster.com) and has amassed a loyal audience that follows her travels and eagerly awaits her recommendations. She hosts her own travel tours to exotic locations and is the host of her own curated food walks in the city.
In 2016, BharGo (Bharat Gothoskar) gave up his corporate career to establish Khaki Tours with an aim to promote heritage awareness in an informative and fun way. He and his team of ‘Heritage Evangelists’ have covered enclaves during their walks which are not typically associated with the word ‘heritage’, so that Mumbaikars can understand the essence of their own city. The mission of Team Khaki is to generate awareness about heritage and encourage conservation.
Dr. Indira Chandrasekhar is a scientist, a fiction writer and the founder and principal editor of Out of Print, one of the primary platforms for short fiction based out of India. The magazine features work bearing a connection to the Indian subcontinent. In 2020, Out of Print will celebrate its 10th year of publishing a range of the strongest short stories focussing on South Asia. Indira’s writing has appeared in anthologies and literary journals across the world. She co-edited the short story anthology, Pangea, Thames River Press. A collection of her short stories Polymorphism was published by HarperCollins.
Indira participated in curating the Bangalore literary gathering, Lekhana, for many years and curated the first Mysore Literature Festival in 2017.
She is the main author of a volume in production commemorating forty years of the International Music and Arts Society on whose Advisory Committee she sits. She has been closely associated with the G5A Foundation for Contemporary Culture and is an honorary consultant and a member of its Academic Council.
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.
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.
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 first year she is curating stalls at Kala Ghoda Arts Festival. Her passion for bringing the arts to a wider audience is what drives her to continue working for the festival.
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 her role as curator for the Street section.
Stand Up Comedy
Rohan Desai is a college dropout who is now a writer and a stand-up comic. He won the Melbourne international comedy festival RAW open mic in 2014 and was invited back to perform in 2015. As a writer he recently wrote for On Air With AIB season 2. His style of comedy is often off beat and political but he loves his fair share of silly jokes.
Shreemayee is a stand-up comedian and writer. She organises comedy shows for The Grin Revolution.
JUUHI BABBAR SONII
2020 is Juuhi Babbar Sonii’s 7th 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 the Kala Ghoda theatre roof. The years between 2014 and 2019 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
DR. KAIWAN MEHTA
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 as The 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.
Curating WORKSHOPS for KGAF over the years, Tripti has always found it fascinating and a huge learning experience. Despite its 21 years, she believes, there is new promise, potential and opportunity for each coming year, from our great country and her wonderful people who continue to surprise with their innovation and enthusiasm.
For Ami, KGAF with its myriad facets, events and art forms has been an extension of her being as an artist. Curating WORKSHOPS has been a wonderful learning experience for, enhancing her life and growth as an artist and she is looking forward to this twenty first colourful year with the same enthusiasm and vigour.
As an artist Ami is always looking for new thoughts, different perspectives and varied experiences to foster her growth. Having curated WORKSHOPS for the past 10 years, curating VISUAL ARTS for KGAF2020 for the first time is a wonderful step in that direction for Ami.
Meeting a whole host of talented artists with innovative thought processes and methods ,using new materials and techniques has gone a long way. The theme THREADS brings together variety which blends seamlessly into unity and harmony, binding multilateral ideas into a unique one.
VISUAL ARTS AT JEHANGIR ART GALLERY
Sonal Motla has expertise in contemporary art, design, education and the social development sector. Her experience includes being a gallerist, an art curator and an educationist. She has pioneered many pathbreaking art shows. She has had experience working with the leading artists in the country.
Nicole Mody possesses over a decade of experience in marketing and brand building. Backed by her expertise in conceptualizing, creating and marketing large-format public events, Nicole joined the event-management team at Seventy EMG that is credited for two of India’s finest festival properties: India Bike Week and Zambhala. Having worked for three years in the capacity of Senior Manager – Marketing at the company, Nicole sharpened her skills in marketing and content creation.
Nicole Mody currently serves as the Festival Coordinator for the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival – one of Asia’s largest open-to-all multi-cultural street festivals. She is also the curator for food at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, a section she has helped create and popularize in 2012 with Mumbai’s most loved chefs and restaurateurs. She has authored ‘Flavours of Kala Ghoda’ – a book of compiled recipes from her 5 years as curator of the food section at the Festival. The book was conceptualized, written and edited by Nicole and released in February 2016.
In addition to her endeavours associated with leading culture festivals in the country, Nicole is intimately involved with Forsyth Lodge – a beautiful eco-wildlife lodge nestled in the buffer zone of Satpura National Park. She also actively campaigns for Wildlife SOS – an NGO that is dedicated to eradicating the problems of captive elephants in India.
She enjoys food, reading, writing, travelling, and spends a large part of her day sating updated about the latest trends in food, wildlife, and holiday destinations.
Assistant Festival Coordinator
Bhavika Thakkar chucked up a full-time job in TV production in 2015 after 8 years to become a freelancer with no specific direction in mind. Since then she has found many passions which include running, writing and handling events that want to maker her tear hair out! Bhavika has written a feature film script, endless TV show scripts and regularly contributes to some websites where she writes about her love-hate relationship with Mumbai, the city she calls home. This love-hate relationship with Mumbai is also what drove her to work on the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival starting 2017. Having worked with the stalls section her first year, Bhavika jumped at the chance of a larger role at the festival. The energy, the people, the warmth, the passion and the chance to give back to the city is what makes KGAF occupy the most special place in her heart and she looks forward to a long and enduring relationship with the people, the association and the festival.