Kochi-Muziris Biennale is India’s largest contemporary art exhibition held every two years in Fort Kochi, Kerala organised by Kochi Biennale Foundation.
Kochi Muziris Biennale in Fort Kochi in Kerala is India’s largest exhibition of art held every two years for a period of three-four months. Previous editions have seen a cross section of works curated by the likes of Anita Dubey and Sudarshan Shetty, and presented by individuals and groups like Edible Archives, Sister Library, Anamika Haksar, Yoko Ono and a host of other artists from India and around the world. Fort Kochi’s lineage as a cultural melting pot finds its expression in this biennale making it the perfect time to visit.
Visitors, a lot of them young and curious, are queuing up eagerly to engage with a wealth and volume of art that has probably never been showcased in one place in India at the same time. Rs. 50 ticket gets you single-entry access to five ticketed venues (entry to the rest of the venues is free) as well as a nifty map to help you locate the venues and the artworks within. There are volunteers everywhere, eager to assist and share historic lore (as well as gossip).
The Biennale is a melting pot of local and international talent and the art expresses itself in many ways. Apart from canvas, there’s video, even sound. Visitors are encouraged to peer and prod (occasionally) and even climb into attics. Apart from the main exhibits, of which there are a lot, there are a bunch of collaterals (art from the BRICS nations, for instance), arresting wall murals, talks, and so on. Art apart, what’s cheering is the revival of several old buildings—the grand Aspinwall House, the charming Pepper House and the artily grungy former warehouse now christened ‘Moidu’s Heritage’. It’s interesting to see how the artworks engage with their settings, these not being conventional galleries in any sense. Centrestage at Moidu’s and not-to-be-missed is the loud yet lulling ‘Desert of Pharan/Adam’, Ahmed Mater’s stunning large scale images and videos of Makkah and the Haj pilgrimage.
The art, eclectic as it is, is bound to catalyse debates, discussions and critiques. Is it good or bad? That’s hard to say. There’s just a lot of it, and that’s a good thing. See kochimuzirisbiennale.org.
Location : Kochi Biennale Foundation, 1/1903, Kunnumupuram, Fort Kochi, Kochi, Kerala 682001
Phone : 91 484 2215297