IIAD Students Spotlight Goan Cuisine, Craft and Culture through Visual Storytelling at Serendipity Arts Festival 2023

Packaging IIADMumbai, 23 December 2023: Serendipity Arts Festival 2023 (8th Edition), one of South Asia’s largest annual interdisciplinary cultural extravaganzas, collaborates with IIAD for its ‘Village Project’. IIAD’s contribution to ‘The Village’ project aims to authentically capture and bring awareness to the essence of local village life at the festival through the power of visual storytelling. This collaboration offered a platform for cultural exchange, celebrating the diverse grassroots traditions of North and South Goan communities as IIAD Communication Design students played a pivotal role & used visual mediums to promote awareness around traditional Goan cuisine, craft, and culture. The festival from December 15th – December 23rd provides a unique opportunity for the industry, academia, and other local entrepreneurs to come together to celebrate the lesser-known cultural nuances and intricacies of the Goan rural communities.

The Serendipity team forged a partnership with The Locavore team for the duration of the culinary experience, the Indian Institute of Art and Design (IIAD) for visual storytelling, and Goa Livelihoods Forum (GLF) for mobilising the local communities. Together, they orchestrated a transformative design experience at Art Park’ The Village’, one of the highlights of the Serendipity Arts Festival 2023. For IIAD students, the aim and intention of this project was to bring community stories and the experiences shared with them to the visitors at the festival. This initiative offers a meaningful opportunity for visitors to engage with and learn from the local communities as they try out food at the live community kitchen.

IIAD Communication Design faculty and students conducted an initial recce to remote Goan villages, engaging with semi-urban to tribal communities and understanding their way of life and philosophy around food. They attempted to draw attention to traditional Goan nuances through design intervention suited for the contemporary context.

This project involved creating distinct visual identities for each region and community within Goa, ensuring that every design element tells a compelling story. From the visual merchandising of stalls to the packaging of products, they were all based on documented references. Students also worked on enhancing the experiential aspect of the venue by creating banners that seamlessly aligned with the ‘The Village’ theme. They created a set of postcards as souvenirs for various communities, narrating their journey and highlighting their uniqueness. They designed menus featuring traditional Goan dishes and re-created packaging labels and tags for various products, developing a comprehensive visual system.

The students’ multifaceted involvement also extended to creating a detailed map of Goa, marking various regions and communities. This map served as a guide for festival goers and offered insights into each community’s geographical and cultural context.

Prof. Usha Patel, Director-Academics, IIAD, said, “At IIAD, we ensure the ‘learning-by-doing’ ethos is followed, mentoring students to engage in hands-on work on live projects to gain relevant practical experience. The collaboration with the Serendipity Arts Festival 2023 has provided students with an opportunity to learn and contribute meaningfully to the dynamic fabric of the local Goan community. This multi-disciplinary social initiative and collaboration brings together industry and academia. Under the mentorship of faculty, select students of Communication Design had an opportunity to work on a live industry experience, creating illustrations, logos, and other collateral that capture the spirit of the Goan communities for the ‘The Village’ project.”

Under the direction of Ms. Aarti Uberoi, Course Leader, Communication Design, IIAD and Oshin Vipra Sagar, Lecturer, Communication Design, final-year Communication Design students Anindita Banerjee and Muskaan Jain diligently worked together to design over 100+ illustrations, menus, logos, maps, postcards, and brand collaterals. Notable contributions were also made by second and third-year students. Amartya Chakraborty was involved in the initial stages of creating the Goan cultural map, while Vaalini Gupta helped to illustrate the preparation of cuisine. Sia Kakkar, Ruhi Vij, Vrinda Gupta, and Aashna Nayak are among the other students who deserve recognition.

In the context of small-scale self-help groups (SHGs), branding becomes imperative to strategically uplift the perceived value of their handcrafted products, creating an appreciation of their cultural legacy amongst the visitors. ‘The Village’ project at Serendipity Arts Festival is poised to be a vibrant celebration of Goan diversity, honoring tradition and embracing the future through IIAD’s sensitive design intervention.