Students’ Biennale to feature works of 470 budding artists

KOCHI: Running parallel to the main biennale will be the Students’ Biennale (SB), an art education initiative without parallels, featuring works of some 470 budding artists from 55 art schools across the country.

Minister for Education C. Raveendranath will open the Students’ Biennale, an outcome of the art outreach campaign undertaken by the last edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB), at the biennale pavilion at Cabral Yard on December 13 (Tuesday) at 11 a.m. It will remain open to visitors till March 29 when the main biennale draws to a close.

SB is run in collaboration with the Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA) and the Foundation for Indian Art and Education (FIAE) and is supported by Tata Trusts.

Driven by 15 emerging curators, the project reaches out to art schools throughout India, to encourage art students to reflect on their practices and showcase their works on an international stage.

SB-2016 will be presented across seven venues in the historic Mattancherry-Jew Town area of Fort Kochi — M.K. Trades, Kotachery Brothers & Co., Arjuna Art Gallery, Heritage Arts, Mattancherry Temple Property, Mohammed Ali Warehouse, and Fadi Hall.

“With the Students’ Biennale running concurrent to KMB 2016, students and curators have the perfect avenue to showcase their works to an audience of roughly half a million over its near four-month-long duration. SB will channel the energies of the biennale platform into the Indian art education system, challenging students to go beyond constraints imposed by both curriculum and exhibition,” said Bose Krishnamachari, president of the Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF).

SB-2016 curators are Adwait Singh, Aryan, Ajit Kumar, Faiza Hasan, C.P. Krishnapriya, Harshita Bathwal, Naveen Mahantesh, Noman Amouri, Paribartana Mohanty, Rajyashree Goody, Sarojini Lewis, Shatavisha Mustafi, Shruti Ramlingiah, Sumitra Sunder, and Vivek Chockalingam.

They were selected in November last year from among hundreds of aspirants by a panel of project mentors that included Krishnamachari, KMB director of programmes Riyas Komu, education consultant Meena Vari, and FICA director Vidya Shivadas.

Over the course of the year, they reached out to 45 government and 10 private art schools – three to four schools per curator – across India, conducting institution visits, organising workshops and interventions, and interacting with BFA and MFA students.

“The exhibition will be the culmination of their individual journeys, research, insights, and interests. The significance of SB lies in the building of learning spaces and niches of creativity between the academic and the professional worlds,” said Riyas Komu, KBF secretary.

The student curators of SB 2016 had access to an expert advisory team including Sudhir Patwardhan in Mumbai, Jeebesh Bagchi, Shukla Sawant, and Belinder Dhanoa in Delhi, Sarada Natarajan in Hyderabad, Rakhi Peswani in Bangalore, Siva Kumar in Santiniketan, Indrapramit Roy, Akkhitam Vasudevan, and B.V. Suresh in Vadodara.

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