Samsara Art Festival

A unique celebration of music, visual art

Cultural Correspondent | Published: 00:00, Aug 23,2019


Glimpses of Samsara Art Festival 2018.

Samsara Art Festival began its journey in Santiniketan, India, in November last year.
The festival, founded by young artists Neel Sarkar and Promiti Hossain, features musical performances, performance art, installation, outdoor exhibition and more.
Promiti Hossain, founder and artistic director of SAF, recently spoke to New Age about the festival.

NA: Tell us about Samsara Art Festival.
Promiti Hossain: SAF, a joint venture of music and visual art, is an endeavour to create a realm of artistic divertissement within a public sphere. The festival focuses on the unconventional approach, strong view, individualism and dynamism of the artists.

NA:  What is the primary purpose of the event?
Promiti Hossain: Santiniketan is a dynamic place for art and culture. We observed all the art forms are conventional and practiced separately. So we manifested the idea of introducing alternative and unconventional art forms on a single platform. Also, to come out of the idea of ‘gallery’, we organise the festival in an outdoor space within a natural environment. The festival is open to all. We do not focus on commercialising any of its aspect.

NA: How did the festival begin its journey?
Promiti Hossain: The festival started in November 23, 2018. We felt, Santiniketan Society of Visual Art & Design (SSVAD), a recognised art centre and art residency, established by the eminent Indian artist Jogen Choudhury, was the perfect place to start the festive journey. With the support of Gautam Das, the principal of Kalabhavana, Visva-Bharati and SSVAD committee members, the festival successfully took place.

NA: What are the segments featured in the festival?
Promiti Hossain: We organise musical performances, performance art, installation, outdoor exhibition, live art and interactive art sessions with general audience and observers. Each musical act and performance art performance takes between 45 minutes to 1 hour. The festival is a one day event held from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm. We are hoping to organise the second edition this year around the first week of December.
NA: How does the festival benefits its participants?
Promiti Hossain: Each artist, who apply for the festival holds immense love for Santiniketan and Rabindranath Tagore. We provide invited artists with food and accommodation during the festival. We are also planning on publishing a catalogue briefly featuring each artist and musical group. We focus on Tagore’s vision of Santiniketan, a place where there is no division among people coming from different backgrounds. So we provide each artist with equal facility. Samsara is really an unconventional event in this way. Because Santiniketan is a university town, most art festivals are organised by Visva-Bharati University and as an outsider, people can be involved as audience mostly. This festival is a chance for the selected artists from different cities, to participate with the local students and residents who are selected for the festival.

NA: Tell us about the outcome of the festival.
Promiti Hossain: We select artists and musicians who spread social awareness through their work. Since any event involves local people, we feel it is important to bring meaning to the festive environment. Topics like, natural hazard, gender issues, feminism and other socio-political issues are encouraged for the event.

NA: Tell us about your future plans regarding the festival.
Promiti Hossain: Since we have a limited budget for the festival, we have to think within a limited capacity in planning the event. We would like to expand the festival in future while keeping its simplistic approach intact.

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