World of art rises for flood-hit Kerala

Artist Subodh Gupta’s work which will be up for auction.  

The art world is launching a figurative Noah’s Ark, a live art auction titled ‘Art Rises for Kerala’ (ARK), to save Kerala society, which is picking up the pieces after a devastating flood.

Steered by the Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF) in partnership with the art auction house Saffronart, the auction featuring about 40 works by renowned artists will be held at Grand Hyatt in Kochi on January 18, during the course of the forthcoming edition of the Kochi Muziris Biennale (KMB) – a 108-day-long contemporary art jamboree getting under way on December 12.

‘A first’

“It is for the first time that a live art auction is coming to Kerala,” says artist Bose Krishnamachari, president and cofounder of the biennale. “While we have helped the State get back on its feet in our own smaller ways, we thought we should show the confidence that we can make it happen.”

A good start

Renowned British artist Anish Kapoor — whose work ‘Descension’, a bottomless whirlpool, was a major draw in the 2014-biennale — was the first to get a call from Mr. Krishnamachari with the idea of a fund-raiser auction to support Kerala.

“He was very happy to offer a work. That gave us a good start,” says Mr. Krishnamachari. There will be quite a few high-value works going under the hammer and on the list are prominent names like sculptor Subodh Gupta, photo artist Dayanita Singh, Italian contemporary artist Francesco Clemente, and T.V. Santhosh.

Saffronart, which has held two previous auctions to raise corpus funds for the biennale, will not be charging buyer’s premium or any other fees and the proceeds will be donated towards the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF).

“The goal is to raise anywhere between ₹5 crore and ₹10 crore,” says Mr. Krishnamachari.

Dinesh Vazirani, CEO and cofounder of Saffronart, says that like all its live auctions, ARK will follow a “hybrid model where bidding will happen both within the room as well as online and via the Saffronart mobile app, allowing people globally to view and participate in the auction.

According to Subodh Gupta: “Kerala has deeply felt the consequences of this catastrophe due to climate change and the limitations of our infrastructure. My support is a drop in the ocean.”

KBF secretary V. Sunil says that a total of 18 works have arrived so far for the sale. The foundation plans to display the works in the government-run museum at Bastion Bungalow in Fort Kochi till January 17.

S. Anandan

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Printable version | May 13, 2021 2:50:39 AM |

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