Former Supermodel Tinu Verghis  to Emphasise on a Holistic Approach to food at the Serendipity Arts Festival 2022

From walking the ramp for luxury designers like Manish Malhotra and Rohit Bhal across the nation to immersing herself in the agricultural lifestyle of Goa, former supermodel-turned-farmer, Tinu Verghis has come a long way on her journey to finding her solace. Leaving the glamorous life of fashion was a tough decision in itself but Verghis doesn’t regret that turning point in her life one bit. 

The agriculturalist now lives in Neura where she has turned a piece of land into her ultimate sanctuary. With a house, artistically decorated in a boho-chic fashion, to a large piece of land devoted towards the cultivation of rice, she has created, what she lovingly refers to as, ‘The Art Farm’.  “On this farm, I have a group of 30 families which come to learn the art of growing rice. I think growing our food organically is the way to bring people closer.” Bringing this belief to a larger platform, Tinu has been selected as one of the 7 grantees for the Public Art Grant of the Serendipity Arts Festival 2022, titled, ‘The Island That Never Gets Flooded’. 

As her contribution to the festival, she will be inviting children and teaching them the nitty gritties of rice cultivation. The kids will be encouraged to grow their own rice sapling and nurture the plant. “Not many people have ever seen a rice flower blooming. It’s a glorious phenomenon. Its fragrance is extravagant and I want more people, especially children, to experience it. Only when children know the painstaking process and work that goes into the food they consume, will they know the importance of giving it the respect it deserves.” says Tinu. She will also be hosting a workshop for adults to introduce them to the traditional methods of rice milling like the workings of a mortar. 

Tinu further explains why this message is of great importance by saying, “Art is meant for social change. I believe in art being about experiences. Bringing people closer to food is the need of the hour. With the excessive consumption of processed food and irresponsible eating habits, we are constantly straying away from traditional methods with the passage of time. Even the way we eat holds so much meaning. The Yogic mudra known as Samana mudra, which is used when eating with the hands, stimulates the generation of digestive juice in the stomach.”

The reason Tinu believes that food brings humans closer is because she originally started out quite clueless as an agriculturalist. It was the elderly women in the community who taught her the basics and contributed overall to her evolution as a farmer. “I owe a lot to the women in my community. If I had any inquiry about the tools, the seeds or the seasons, they would always be available to help in any way they could. I feel very lucky to have been invited into this family. I have grown with them.” 

The beautifully organised Art Farm is truly a delight to visit if one is close to nature. The land is used to grow not just rice but a myriad of other local produce like watermelon, zucchini, tomato, etc. A section of the land is reserved for a lively chicken coop and a piece is squared off for a flock of quacking ducks. The Art Farm truly is a self-curated haven for a family that is one with nature. 

According to Tinu, Serendipity does a lot of cultural experiments and the inclusivity they bring into their festival is something that she entirely agrees with. According to her, “It’s the way we should be moving forward”.  She adds, “Art is for social change. It can be used to spread a message and that is exactly what I aim to do with my work at the festival. I feel like this public grant is a great platform for me to bring together people from all walks of life and encourage them to inculcate some common teachings in their lives which will only aid in the betterment of life for all of us.”

Every artist wishes to convey a message, an emotion,  and to Tinu, the art she indulges in, helps her spread awareness about her goal. She says, “Through my project at Serendipity Arts Festival this year, I hope to reignite that passion people once had towards an authentic nurturing of food and the processes of cooking. I hope people understand how far we have strayed with the modern approach to food. Everything is processed, everything is stuffed with chemicals and most of what we consume is so unhealthy. That needs to change. I primarily hope that this project brings people closer to good, nutritious food and I hope people begin to consider going back to our roots when it comes to our eating habits.” 

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Author: Planet Goa Team
For us at Planet-Goa, our team is driven by that feeling of exhilaration that one gets when discovering that something ‘unique’ and ‘new’ about Goa for our ever-so-discerning readers.

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