Monday, December 17, 2012

Crowds happy, but organisers in sombre mood

The Kochi-Muziris Biennale needs an inflow of funds

Photo: Riyas Komu (left) and Bose Krishnamachari

By Shevlin Sebastian

It is a sunny Saturday morning. And people are streaming into Aspinwall House, the main venue of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. As could be expected, there are all types. There is teacher, A.J. Devasia, who has come all the way from Kottayam. “I read a lot about the Biennale and wanted to see for myself what it is like,” he says. 

Clad in a white shirt and dhoti, he admitted that it is the first time in his life that he is seeing installation art, mud sculptures, and a cocoon made of dry wood pieces. “Yes, I have never seen such works before,” he says. “But it is great. And on my next visit, I will be bringing my family along.”

On the other end of the knowledge pole is Ratna Bhusan, an art critic and historian from Hyderabad. She has kaajal-rimmed eyes and flowing black hair and is clad in a bright red blouse and brown slacks.  

The biennale is absolutely exciting,” she says. “There is something beautiful and different about it. I was sure that Bose [Krishnamachari] and Riyas [Komu] would come up with something solid. And they have. Both have every reason to be proud.”

But Bose is not in a proud mood at all. He tells frankly, “I am happy the people are streaming in and enjoying the show. But I am rapidly running out of money. I have no idea how I will be able to run the show for the next three months.”

It casts a sombre mood, and local resident Robert D’Costa casts a further pall of gloom. “Many food stalls have come up on the seashore, against the violations of the High Court,” he says. “It is unfortunate, especially since the Cochin Corporation had removed all these stalls earlier. Sadly, the people are littering the place, and spoiling the landscape.”

But Sarah Windermere (name changed) from London is not spoiling the landscape. She is wearing a tiny skirt and shows off shapely blonde legs. And not surprisingly, a photographer, who is busy shooting an installation art motif, takes in her legs as well in the shot.

(The New Indian Express, Kerala edition) 

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