Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a shepherd. Without innovation, it is a corpse.
These pearls of wisdom by Winston Churchill, aptly fits by the descriptive description of PAGo, Public Arts in Gopalpur.
Brahmapur Development Authority organized a two day Festival, PAGo (Public Arts in Gopalpur) on 25-26 March 2017. The PAGo Fest was designed as an initiation into making Gopalpur an Art Town cum Eco-Retreat Hub of Odisha. The abbreviation PAGo in Odia referred to our intangible heritage of practices around food as it means to spice up a curry to make it more delicious. It, in its highest grandeur was also an attempt at spicing up Gopalpur to make it more attractive to travelers.
PAGo focused on the heritage and rich cultural traditions of Gopalpur and Ganjam and attempted to reinvent and re-present them in a contemporary idiom. The rich cultural traditions of Ganjam were duly highlighted and showcased. Old to older forms were revived and presented in a grand manner such as the Bagha Nacha, crafts such as the Brass Metal fish of Bellaguntha, the Ganjapa playing cards and textiles such as Berhampuri Silk. It also played a key role in highlighting Gopalpur’s maritime and trade history as well as its more recent history of Phailin.
PAGo covered unconventional horizons vividly, with some of the spotlight stealing shows being the Murals, Installations, Participatory art activity, Ethnic cultural performances, Clay modelling workshops, Sand casting and many more.
One of the best things about PAGo was the strong attempt to engage with the local community and involve children (both local and tourists) in the workshop to not only learn but understand art and craft of our state.
The festival was made huge with the dedication of people like Mr. Pratap Jena, who created a mural using sand casted figures of fish to recreate the eye of the cyclone shelter adjacent to the PAGo site and Mr. Dibyush Jena, who paid tribute to the ecological spirit of rural Ganjam, where the villagers religiously protect the black bucks found in the nearby areas.
The two day street art festival ended in style with vibrant entertainment programmes rocking the art town. Popular artists from odisha enthralled the visitors with splendid music and dance programmes. An interactive session named ‘Vision for Gopalpur’ was conducted, discussing various potentials, issues and opportunities for developing the destination as a new hub towards Wellness. MLA Berhampur, Prof. Bishnu Charan Chaudhary, Prof. S. Rama Rao and other panelist gave their views about the same. The Brahmapur Development Authority has envisioned to develop “Eco Retreat on Sea” Project on PPP mode and has invited expression of interest from investors for the same.
This initiative was partly supported by Department of Handloom, Textile and Handicraft and Department of Tourism, Odisha (Govt of Odisha). Bakul Foundation took the charge of curating and coordinating the Public Arts component of PAGo and deftly conceptualized the festival and mobilized artists and curated the art works. Detour Odisha took the charge of managing social media for the entire event.
[Courtesy: Brahmapur Development Authority PMU]