It was a mini-carnival of sorts as the city bid farewell to the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in true Fort Kochi style on Sunday.
The first edition of the Biennale in India, scheduled to close on March 13,had been extended till Sunday to allow a few more visitors to catch the event.
The public did not disappoint as Aspinwall House in Fort Kochi and other venues saw a steady stream of visitors on the closing day.
The Biennale flag, hoisted on 12/12/12, was lowered at 6 p.m. at Aspinwall House. Union Minister of State for Food and Consumer Affairs K.V. Thomas, Mayor Tony Chammany, MLAs M.A. Baby, Hibi Eden, and Dominic Presentation were present at the venue along with artists, volunteers of the three-month event, and art enthusiasts.
The group then set out from the venue to the Fort Kochi beach on a ‘Thank You walk.’ Noted artists who were part of the Biennale accompanied the legislators and Biennale Foundation trustees on the walk, which winded through the streets of Fort Kochi amidst loud cheering. Mr. Chammany expressed the city’s support for the coming editions of the Biennale. Following the cheerful group taking out the walk was a group of men carrying out the ‘bird’s nest’ – artist Srinivasa Prasad’s nest-like installation titled ‘Erase.’
The wooden structure, which had been the centre piece of Aspinwall House for the last three months, was taken out of the venue to the Parade Ground. A large group of men carried the giant ‘nest’ on their shoulders to the ground, where it was lit in a bonfire much like the effigies of Santa Claus are burnt in Fort Kochi on New Year’s Eve.
To complete the carnival atmosphere, a music concert started up on Vasco da Gama square. As the ‘nest’ continued to burn, bands Kaav, Backwater Blues, Third Eye, and Green Folio played into the night. Even as the crowd enjoyed the evening, there was a tinge of sadness among artists and organisers of the contemporary art event.
“There’s going to be this vacuum now,” said artist Vivek Vilasini. “But the quality of art here is definitely going to improve. This has been a game-changer,” he said.
For the Biennale organisers and volunteers, however, the work still continues as the city looks forward to 2014 for the next edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale.