Art Goa: a creative migration

Sunday, 27 April 2014 - 7:00am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

In recent years metropolis' like Delhi and Mumbai have witnessed a steady move of the art community to the sandy beaches of Goa. Let's face it, overcrowded spaces, hectic schedules and through the roof studio rents don't make for the best inspiration. Artists like Minam Apang, Munir Kabani, Nikhil Chopra, Shivani Gupta and Tejal Shah; Dayanita Singh and Aradhana Seth spend over 6 months of the year in Goa and curators like Kanchi Metha and Nivedita Magar are a few names on the long list of creative's that have shifted base to Goa.

So what is about the place that seems to attract the art community? I caught up with artists Tejal Shah and Nikhil Chopra to find out.

Nikhil Chopra
Do you think there is a community moving to Goa?
I am definitely not alone in my desire for space and a quality of life that includes the beach and good food. A few of us moved together. We are all closely knit and are each other's support system. Goa is also an extension of Bombay and Delhi in the winterseason. E.g. it is not unusual to land up at the beach and find Tejal Shah and Gitanjali Dang sipping fresh limes, or bumping into Subodh Gupta at La Plage, the French bistro.

Why and when did you move from Mumbai to Goa?
After 6 years in Mumbai, I along with my wife and son got the opportunity to live in Berlin for a year on a fellowship. The year away from Bombay put in to perspective my relationship with it. I could not have lived in a European city, the cold and the grey was not an option but the next step was obvious. We flew from Berlin to Goa before going home to Bombay. The time to move was now and we together with a few artists from Bombay, took the plunge. We moved here in July 2012.

Has being there influenced your practice?
The line between life and work, or studio and home is quite blurry for me. I am very sensitive to the space that I occupy. Living in a large space has allowed me to go back to some of the large drawings and installations that I have made.

What are you currently working on?
At the moment I am working on looking at the transformative aspect of performance and doing a series of pieces using, time, space, my body and material to make marks with.

Tejal Shah
Do you feel like there is a community moving to Goa?
I feel that there is already a very strong community that has already moved to Goa from different metropolis' and these are all people mostly involved in arts, culture and creative living.

Why and when did you move from Mumbai to Goa?
There are several reasons for this move. Primarily I was finding it increasingly difficult to live in a large Indian metropolis and all that comes with it. As my desire was shifting towards large open spaces, living closer to nature and in a more environmentally conscious way, so were the concerns of my artistic practice shifting towards a deeper investigation of interspecies, nature-culture and queer ecology. Goa seemed like the perfect alternative and a place to meet other like minded people pursuing various forms of alternative living.
I moved to Goa in March 2013, so it's quite recent and I am still settling in!

Has being there influenced your practice?
Immensely. In the early months that I was here and still setting up my studio and other basic infrastructure, I made more flat works in the form of drawings and collages (Anonymous Life Series and Lucid Dreaming Series, 2013. Some Kind of Nature is shot in Goa and takes it's inspiration from some of the unique geological landscapes here as well as rocks and trees - natural or formed with the intervention of humans.

What are you currently working on?
Right now I in a more exploratory phase. I am working a lot with live foods and natural farming as well expanding my skill set by working with clay, paper mache and other natural materials.

Artesign with a cause
Make a Wish Foundation held a charity fundraiser yesterday for children with life-threatening conditions at the Palladium Hotel. Artists, designers and jewellers like Senaka Senanayake, Sabyasachi, Anamika Khanna, Nirav Modi and Abu Jani - Sandeep Khosla among others created 'teddies' for the fundraiser. It was a pleasure curating their creations not to mention seeing the overwhelming response the event received from eminent personalities from across the city.

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