An international photography festival specialising in site-specific installations, GoaPhoto was established in 2015 with the aim of displacing fine art photography from the gallery setting to more accessible spaces. The festival incorporates the landscape of Goa, the influences of its former Portuguese colonies and its current status as an international holiday destination, inviting visitors to engage with the artworks as well as the communities and cultural heritage of the state.
GoaPhoto was founded by Nikhil Padgaonkar, Frank Kalero, Ishan Tankha and Lola Mac Dougall, who is also the co-director of the festival along with Akshay Mahajan, who also co-founded Blindboys. Mac Dougall is also the artistic director of the similarly themed JaipurPhoto festival.
GoaPhoto’s inaugural 2015 edition focused on portrait photographs and was set across public spaces in Panjim and the nearby Reis Magos Heritage Centre. Thematically named The Other, the exhibition referred to the photographer and the subject’s sense of “otherness” when making a portrait. Participating artists included Max Pinckers, Argentinian photographer Alejandro Chaskielberg and Spanish photographer Cristina de Middel.
The second edition of the festival, held in November 2017, moved to the village of Saligao and had as its theme the domestic realm and “living heritage” of the community, with photographs exhibited in homes with Goan architecture which retained their furniture and personal memorabilia. These included the Quinta Serena, a Goan home erected in 1835, whose rooms served as backdrops to display works by the participating photographers, including Claudia Lopez Ortega, Roberto Tondopo and Elisa Gonzalez Miralles. Another site was the home of filmmaker and scenographer Aradhana Seth, whose home contained paraphernalia from the films she has worked on.
The December 2019 edition of GoaPhoto was held in the village of Aldona, with featured artworks by Rajyashri Goody, Pamela Singh and Simon Brugner installed across six residential homes. A notable project of this edition was Aldona, Through Family Eyes, where participating artists explored the history of Aldona through photographic archives, highlighting the domestic history and local culture of the region and its people, as well as their relationships with the artworks. The exhibition highlighted narratives of cross-continental migration, with the Indian and Portuguese history of Goa materialising through personal anecdotes, family records, recipes, songs and stories.
Through their work, GoaPhoto has enabled a deeper understanding and appreciation for art among locals by combining site-specific landmarks and cultural history with the exhibited artworks.
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