After months of preparation, much debate, controversy, and excitement, the Kochi Muziris Biennale has opened. For three months, starting now, art lovers and others can view art works in spaces in and around Kochi. But, has the biennale struck a chord? The Hindu MetroPlus Team talks to city folk to feel the pulse

It is a prestigious event coming to Kerala. I always welcome such initiatives whether in technology, science or art. I am sure there are lots of dedicated people behind this. This should be the beginning of a cultural impetus to the State and to Kochi. Any society when it progresses looks into culture, art and music. Controversies are being highlighted more in the media than the positive aspects of such an event.

Gastroenterologist Padmashri Dr. Philip Augustine

It is a wonderful thing that is happening but there is a general lack of awareness about the art festival. The people in the mainland, Ernakulam, are not aware about the happenings. There should be more events this side of town. All activities are concentrated in one area so I wonder if it is only a tourism event or for the public at large.

Noted dancer Shyamla Surendran

I think the biennale is good for the artists and for the students of art. The students study on the various aspects of world art, now they get a chance to see it. The event also allows them to interact with the esteemed artists who will be here. Yes, I’m aware of the controversies about the event and its politics. I’m not interested in it. As a practising artist I look at the biennale only from the perspective of art. Nine students from The RLV College of Music and Fine Arts will be part of a project at the biennale. And in January the post-graduate students of the college will present a show, curated by me, that will showcase the cultural face of Tripunithura to the visiting art world.

K. Sidharthan, HOD, Dept of Painting, RLV College of Music and Fine Arts.

Let me tell you frankly this is not to my interest. I have been reading about this in the newspapers but I don’t know anything about it. This event, this subject does not interest me.

Kochouseph Chittalappilly

Entrepreneur

Yes, it’s happening. But basically it is confined largely to the art commune. I think the organisers should have attempted to extend it beyond this. Of course, it is a great opportunity to showcase Kochi to the world. The last time such an opportunity came was when Queen Elizabeth visited the city. Kochi found a definite place on the world map. It’s an honour for Kochi to be chosen as a biennale city.

Riaz Ahmed

Hotelier-President, Kerala Travel Mart

I am aware that Kochi Muziris Biennale is a different kind of art and cultural event that is happening in the city in the context of something that I read about Riyas Komu. I, frankly, don’t have a clear idea as to what the biennale is all about. And I usually read anything related to art

Shalini James

Entrepreneur/Fashion designer

Of course I am aware of what the Kochi Muziris Biennale is. The biennale is an excellent opportunity for local artistes. So many different artistes converging in the city will be an excellent opportunity for them (local artistes)… look at the exposure they will get. Students of art will gain from the shows. As an artist I like the concept, it is a good one. The tourism industry stands to gain from the people who will come for the shows. I am aware of the controversies too. I believe, irrespective of the controversies, the Biennale should go on. It shouldn’t be abandoned.

Baiju Dharmajan

Musician

The biennale has mainly helped in bringing to light the rich history of Fort Kochi, the significance of which has not yet been fully unravelled. It showcases Fort Kochi in all its glory. An event of such magnitude bringing together outstanding artists and cultural institutions is something to be welcomed. It is an opportunity to show the world how the past and the present of Kochi have been beautifully integrated and presented in the global arena.

Venugopal C. Govind

Chartered Accountant and Managing Partner of Varma and Varma

The biennale? I have not heard of something like that. If an event is being organised on such a large scale, where are the visible signs in the city? Are there banners and posters or something of that sort announcing the event? I haven’t seen any.

Aparna. R

Student, Government Law College and member of All India Democratic Students’ Organisation