Biennale visitors get to savour ‘cooked’ art, literally


Community kitchen is part of an artist project ‘Sahodarar’

The year-end crowd that thronged Aspinwall House, one of the key venues of the biennale, on Sunday, was bound together by the love of food.

A community kitchen that was a work of art had people cook in large numbers and serve the fare to whoever was around. Around noon, the leafy environs of the old warehouse was filled with the scent of boiled tapioca and fish curry, courtesy a policewoman.

“She chose to try her culinary skills here,” said K. Sarath, a B.Tech. student, after savouring the combination with relish.

“That was soon after an Australian boy of 11 years made chapattis for all.”

The food at the kitchen seldom stays for long around. “For such is its demand…and popularity,” adds Sarath, who also doubles as a volunteer.

It’s all part of an artist project, named ‘Sahodarar’, by Vipin Dhanurdharan, a self-trained Malayali artist who had been with the biennale as a volunteer and supporting hand from its inception. Inspired by the historic community feast held by Sahodaran Ayyappan at Cherai in northern Kochi a century ago to counter untouchability, the Kollam-born artist ensures that the kitchen at Aspinwall has enough ingredients for any casual visitor to light on the burners of the stoves at the Biennale. And prepare the kind of dish or beverage one finds feasible as well as interesting. “The idea stems from the feeling of equality and brotherhood,” notes Vipin.

“In fact, community feasting had for ages been part of our culture,” says Vipin, at his installation. “It’s another matter that sentiments of caste and class linger in society even today. My work seeks to dilute it.”

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 4:16:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/biennale-visitors-get-to-savour-cooked-art-literally/article25867978.ece

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