Monday, December 05, 2016

The Kochi Biennale is primed for the December 12 inaugural

By Shevlin Sebastian

Kochi: The anticipation among the people is rising, as the December 12 opening of the Kochi Muziris Biennale draws near. Even the city police are getting ready. At a gathering of stakeholders of the festival, Mattancherry Assistant Police Commissioner S. Vijayan said, “There will be a picket near Aspinwall House [the main venue at Fort Kochi]. Apart from that, there will be 10 bike patrols around the clock. We are also setting up a special control room. In a couple of days we will be holding classes to sensitise bus and autorickshaw drivers, homestay owners, and employees about how to interact properly with the guests.”

Earlier, Riyas Komu, the secretary of the Kochi Biennale Foundation said that there will be 97 participating artistes, including 36 from India who will be taking part. The Kerala artistes include Anand, Bara Bhaskaran, C. Bhagyanath, KP. Sunil, P.K. Sadanandan , T.V. Santhosh  and Tony Joseph.

This Biennale is a diverse one,” says Komu. “There are craftspeople, performers, writers, film-makers, theatre people, muralists, painters and sculptors. And to ensure that the public will enjoy the event, more than 100 'Interpretation Guides' have been receiving training for the past two months.”

Curator Sudarshan Shetty said the theme is titled, 'Forming in the pupil of an eye'. “When a sage looks at the world, he draws in all the multiplicities through that one moment of vision,” says Sudarshan. “This is a Biennale of multiplicity.”

Professor KV Thomas, Ernakulam MP, spoke about the initial resistance by local artistes about the setting up of the Biennale. “It was the media in Kochi who cleared the way,” he said. “Now this Biennale has become very big and is known all over the world. It also has made a huge economic impact.”

The others who spoke included Ernakulam MLA Hibi Eden, writer Sethu, artist K. Reghunadhan, and Cochin Corporation stalwart KJ Soman.

Meanwhile, unlike many other biennales, the Kochi Biennale is involved in multiple programmes: a Students' Biennale, a History Now Project, a film festival, a video lab, Art by Children, Arts and Medicine and a 'Let's Talk' programme. “We are the only Biennale which is involved in so many projects,” says Komu. 

(Published in the state edition, The New Indian Express) 

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