Samsara Art Festival (SAF) simultaneously features visual art and music. Aiming to create an interactive and diverse artistic realm within a public sphere, the festival sheds light on the unconventional approaches, strong views, individualism and dynamism of the artists. The first edition of SAF took place at Santiniketan Society of Visual Art & Design (SSVAD) on November 23rd, 2018. SSVAD was founded by the eminent Indian artist Jogen Chowdhury.
Santiniketan is undoubtedly one of the most culturally rich places in the subcontinent. Established by Maharshi Debendranath Tagore and later expanded by his son Rabindranath Tagore, who was the founder of Visva-Bharati University, this place is also an attraction for the Bengali community.
Promising artist Promiti Hossain, also the artistic director and organiser of SAF, talked about the festival.“We feel that Santiniketan is the best place to introduce an art festival, inside the natural environment, away from metropolitan life,” she said. “As residents at Santiniketan for the last few years, we have noticed that most of the institutional art forms are conventional and practised separately. We wanted to create a space for multidisciplinary art forms, bringing together alternative music and visual art on a single platform. Our aim was to focus on “totality”; how musicians and visual artists interact with each other through individual art forms.”
They organised musical performances, live art shows, performance art, outdoor exhibitions, installations and interactive art sessions in the presence of art enthusiasts, observers and the general audience. “We selected most of the artists and musicians through open call submissions. Our selections brought forward twenty promising visual artists and six musical acts from all over India, Bangladesh and China. Their artistic endeavours, practices and performances focused on socio-political issues, natural menaces, gender issues and other matters,” added Promiti, the daughter of Nisar Hossain, Dean, Faculty of Fine Art, University of Dhaka.
The essence of the festival was augmented with a collaborative performance by the guest musicians, Shubhayu Sen Majumdar on esraj and Professor Biswajit Sahu on tabla, from Sangit-Bhavana, Visva-Bharati University. Sanghamitra Das Banerjee was the guest visual artist while the guest of honour was the Principal of Kalabhavana, Visva-Bharati University, Professor Gautam Das. Neel Sarkar was the festival director and organiser.
“This year we are planning to incorporate some new ideas and expand artistic disciplines. We will organise the upcoming festival around December, this year. We will soon announce the open call for SAF 2019 on our Facebook page,” concluded Promiti.