‘KMB among best in the world’

Spellbinding: A Malaysian group presents a performance-oriented printwork at Kochi-Muziris Biennale on Sunday.  

The celebratory mood was at its peak at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale on the first weekend of its fourth edition on Saturday and Sunday, as art enthusiasts and others turned up in large numbers at Aspinwall House, the main venue in Fort Kochi.

Apart from diplomats, scholars and celebrities, common people who were curious to learn about exhibits and artists at the 108-day event turned up to see the 94 art projects that are spread across 10 venues in Kochi.

Andre Aranha Correa Do Lago, Brazilian Ambassador to India, was among the viewers. “Several of the works are interesting and thought-provoking,” he said, particularly praising South African artist Sue Williamson’s installation on the slave ships from the west coast of her continent. “Well, Brazil also received a large number of African slaves. I am also happy that one of Brazil’s artists has made it to this biennale,” he added, referring to Vivian Caccuri, who works with sound and uses the humming of mosquitoes to address the travails of colonialism.

Deepa Rajeev, an engineer from Kochi, found Malayali artist Vipin Dhanurdharan’s works especially fascinating. “I liked his idea of an open kitchen where people can come and cook,” she said.

Actor Shriya Saran said the biennale was one of the best ways to connect with the world. “I must congratulate the team for putting together an amazing show.”

Jo-Annie Birnie-Danzker, Director and CEO of the Biennale of Sydney, said the KMB helped her trace parallels in the colonial histories of her native Australia and India. “Both remnants and consequences of foreign powers who ruled the place come in powerful depiction at the Biennale here,” she noted adding “this is one of the best biennales you have anywhere on the globe.”

The KMB is of “high international standards,” more so with its “very relevant theme this time. This edition features works that are provocative, philosophical, aesthetic and topical. It addresses all the serious issues, political or social,” said author-journalist Anita Pratap.

Robin K, a US-based professional from Aluva, said he liked the work on transgender rights by Aryakrishnan at the Aspinwall. “It made me think about the various problems the LGBT community faces in society.”

Theatre person and filmmaker Anamika Haksar, whose artwork featured in the 2016 KMB, lauded the resilience of the people to come back with an art festival, barely four months after floods and landslips ravaged Kerala.

‘Transformational event’

Among the diplomats who visited KMB on Sunday was P. Harish, India’s Ambassador to Vietnam.

Mr. Harish said the KMB was a great transformational event. “I met a Vietnamese artist too here. It is a great way to showcase India’s soft power and Indian artists as part of a global community of artists. Kochi provides a perfect backdrop, since it is steeped in history, is cosmopolitan and has a creative space,” he said.

For Malaysia’s Pangrok Sulap, community engagement is a key artistic practice. The art collective based in Borneo Island, consisting of indigenous Dusun and Murut artists, musicians and social activists, is gaining increased noticeability at the biennale — for a unique reason. They have created a woodcut work that engages with the lives and stories of Kerala. They did this in collaboration with the people of Kerala.

Free entry today

Entry will be free for visitors to all the venues of the biennale on Monday.

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Printable version | Jul 28, 2021 4:11:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/kmb-among-best-in-the-world/article25761636.ece

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