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It is a thrilling work in progress

Special Correspondent
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Depicting history: Joseph Semah's installation on the theme of the 72 copper plates awarded to religious communities by the Chera kings. — Photo: K.K. Mustafah
Depicting history: Joseph Semah's installation on the theme of the 72 copper plates awarded to religious communities by the Chera kings. — Photo: K.K. Mustafah

The morning after the Kochi Muziris Biennale opened with fanfare, the venues looked a little weary. Organisers heaved a sigh of relief and artists tried to shrug off the previous night’s hangover.

The crowd had thinned from that on Wednesday. But there were gallerists and art administrators from aboard sizing up India’s first biennale.

A section of artists, including Vivan Sundaram, looked a worried lot, as there were too many issues with electrical connections and video projection. As night fell, Mr. Sundaram was still waiting in a dark room in Aspinwall House trying to get his video installation up and running. It forms part of his work Black Gold created using exhumed terracotta shards from the erstwhile Muziris region.

Paris Viswanathan voiced similar concerns. “Yes, I got time to go around and see Vivan’s reconstruction of the vanished port city of Muziris, Subodh’s work on migration and Valsan’s [Korma Kolleri] philosophy on recycling. There are so many interesting things to see, but there have been some technical failures through the day and my film couldn’t be run. Hopefully, they will soon fix it up,” he said.

Work was still going on to mend walls, put up facades and fix an odd floor wooden plank. Bangalore-based Vivek Vilasini, whose best-known Last Supper-Gaza and a series of photographic works are on display at Aspinwall House, sneaked out of Fort Kochi in the evening to see what was going on at Durbar Hall.

Hint of talent

“Malayali T. Ratheesh’s painting here is extremely good. German Thomas Florschuetz has displayed some terrific photographs and Rahul S. Ravi’s photographic work is pretty interesting. There is a hint of talent in these works,” he told The Hindu .

Fort Kochi on Thursday evening witnessed a performance by Joseph Semah where people from diverse religious denominations read out, back-to-back, from their scriptures/books of influence in an impromptu fashion.

On Friday, the Aspinwall House will witness a rare rendering of the ritualistic “Thira” performance, an ethnic art form unique to the Malabar region. The annual “Rafi Nite” this time around will be presented by the MM Orchestra in collaboration with the Kochi Muziris Biennale at Town Hall in Mattancherry at 7 p.m. This apart, beginning mid-January, 10 such Ghazal evenings will be organised by the biennale to offer the visitors a memorable musical experience.

Theatre Sketches , a series of short plays in Malayalam under way for over a month now, has been extended for an indefinite period thanks to popular demand.

The plays, staged by the Thrissur Natakasangham, will entertain biennale visitors at Aspinwall House, Pepper House, David Hall and Durbar Hall.

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