: The Kochi Biennale Foundation has set the ball rolling on the second edition of India’s first biennale, due to get under way here December this year.
Eminent artists Francesco Clemente, Aparna Rao, Siren Pors, Benitha Perciyal, Gulam Mohammed Sheikh and Prajakta Potnis have already made trips to the biennale city to look for venues, the same old ones that hosted the first edition, where they will put up their works. “Like last time, they took time off to interact with the local populace, understand the cultural heritage of the region and visit places of interest like the Pattanam excavation sites,” said Bonny Thomas, the Kochi Biennale Foundation trustee.
Though the controversy-ridden maiden edition ended in the first quarter last year, in no time the foundation began holding educative and interactive programmes in the true spirit of biennales. While socio-cultural programmes under the foundation began by the end of last year, they gathered momentum early this year with eminent medical practitioner Dr. Iva Fattorni, Chair of Global Arts and Medicine Institute at Cleveland Clinic in Abu Dhabi, talking to doctors and medical students on the role of art, being expression of intense human emotions, in healing during ‘Arts and Medicine’ session.
The ‘Arts and Medicine’ project thus opened at the Government General Hospital has so far witnessed eminent artists from various fields showcasing their talents, providing entertainment and relief from pain to patients admitted to the hospital. The project, done in collaboration with the district administration, most recently had music composer Jerry Amaldev’s 20-member choir performing there.
Australian caricaturist Daniel Connell, who shot to fame in the biennale city with his street caricature of local people of Fort Kochi, had his works exhibited on the hospital premises.
Simultaneously, a series of art talks jointly organised with the Greater Cochin Development Authority, also got under way, with artists Pors, Rao and Perciyal discussing art in a session moderated by the curator of the next biennale, Jitish Kallat.
While GCDA considers artists arriving in the city for biennale as ‘Kochi’s guests’, quite a few diplomatic missions in India have evinced interest in the grand festival of contemporary art, too. Mr. Thomas said several countries like the US and the UK had taken a keen interest in the biennale. “Recently, a team from the British Council visited us. Though nothing concrete has been worked out, it appears some of these countries would be interested to collaborate with the biennale,” he said.