The Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art is delighted to announce that the project The Carnival of St.Inez Creek by Goa-based artist Vishal Rawlley has been chosen for the FICA Public Art Grant 2016.

The Carnival of St.Inez Creek is a project that artist Vishal Rawlley will develop from his ongoing community-based work in Goa focused aroundthedeteriorating  ecology of the St.Inez creek that runs through the heart of Panjim. Once a bio-diversity hotspot, an storm drain, and an important water-body running across various heritage bridges in the city, today this natural water-body stands classified as a ‘nala’ or sewer drain accumulating garbage and sewage. The project seeks to galvanize the people of the city (the community living near the creek and other stakeholders) into taking ownership of the creek through getting everyone to work towards a community-led carnival of floats that will travel down the length of the creek. Through a series of engagements with each other and with experts (like environmentalists, sanitation experts, urban planners and scientists) the project seeks to mobilise various communities towards imagining, designing and building floats in collaboration with local artists and students.

The jury this year included Ravi Agarwal (photographer, environmentalist, and founder of Toxics Link; Tushar Joag (artist and Associate Professor at the Department of Art Design and Performing Arts, Shiv Nadar University); Jagannath Panda  (artist and founder of Bhubhaneshwar-based Utsha Foundation); along with FICA Team member Bhooma Padmanabhan.

The jury felt that this project offered an exciting proposition of working with various communities living in the city of Goa and along the St.Inez creek to develop a discourse around ecology, sustainability and community’s responsibility towards their immediate environment, mediated through collaborations with local artists and other experts. The jury was also excited about the proposal of engaging with local visual cultures and practices to develop a vocabulary for public art. Vishal’s prior experience of working on public installations, and his ongoing work around the creek, further strengthened his proposal for the grant.

Vishal Rawlley has a Diploma in Film and Video Production from Xavier’s Institute of Communication, Mumbai. He started his career as a storyboard artist for feature films, before he moved to making documentary films. He has worked for the last decade as a media-practitioner, and on research projects and teaching. He worked with Khoj in 2009 and designed workshops that explored the interjections of digital technologies, public engagement and the arts. He was initiated into the redevelopment programme of the St. Inez creek when he was invited as a consultant by civic authorities in Goa, following which he has been involved in the popular social-media campaign ‘#CampalCreekSelfie’ (St Inez Creek aka Campal Creek) with the NGO Goa ForGiving and Studio7, and initiated a Google mapping project of the walking routes along the St. Inez Creek.