Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2012- A Curtain Raiser

Vidhya Vijayan | Oct 01, 2012 | Vol. 4, Issue 4
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The Kochi- Muziris Biennale 2012 festival will be a platform for the international and national artists to showcase their talents in contemporary visual arts forms including painting, sculpture, various performance art and visual or digital media.The event is planned to be held from 12.12.12 to 13. 3.13. The Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2012 festival showcasing the unlimited possibilities of art and culture in God’s Own Country.

On 12 Dec 2012, the illumination of the world of art and culture will shine bright on two places in Kerala, Muziris, considered the world's greatest trading centre east of Rome and Kochi, the beacon of history and heritage of modern India. The day will be marked with the inauguration of the first ever Biennale festival in India, the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2012 festival showcasing the unlimited possibilities of art and culture in God's Own Country. While Muziris represents the gateway to India for cultures world over including the Buddhists, Arabs, Chinese, Jews and Romans, Kochi welcomed the Portuguese, Dutch and finally the British bringing in the culture and religions of these parts to the country. The fact that Christianity, Islam and Jewism found the way to India through Kerala, and particularly through Muziris and Kochi has bench marked the cultural and religious confluence that Kerala is today.

The Kochi- Muziris Biennale 2012 festival will be a platform for the international and national artists to showcase their talents in contemporary visual arts forms including painting, sculpture, various performance art and visual or digital media. The objective of the Biennial Foundation is 'to facilitate links between organizations and practitioners operating within the global biennial community by providing resources and an open platform for exchange, collaboration and research.' The foundation is a non-profit international initiative making its debut in India, in the cities of Kochi and Muzris of Kerala. The event is planned to be held from 12.12.12 to 13. 3.13.

History

Biennale is an Italian word which means 'every other year'. Venice Biennale of 1895 was the first Biennale of the kind and thereafter many cities like Isthanbul, Sydney, Havana, Moscow and Berlin have hosted this prestigious event over the years. The Biennial Foundation is based in Athens and it seeks to provide a common avenue for artists all around the world to exhibit their talents. Over the years, this festival of contemporary art and culture is playing a significant role in shaping the art scenario of the world.

The launch of the Biennale was officially declared at Durbar Hall Ground, Kochi, on Thursday 17 February 2011. Under the able guidance of India's leading artists, Bose Krishnamachari and Riyas Komu, the event is envisaged to make a mark in the diverse and vibrant canvas of Indian art and culture. The State and Central Cultural Ministry and other private enterprises have embraced the event and provided the necessary financial support. The founders of the Kochi-Muziris Beinnale expect that the event will substantially make up for the absence of permanent venues like museums and art houses in India.

Events and venues

The cultural feast, Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2012, will span over a period of three months and will be a stage for contemporary art, exhibitions on a variety of mediums like film, painting, sculpture, new visual media and performance art. This biennale will be one of India's largest art events and it will be a common platform where visitors will get to see the works of world class established artists alongside the creative works of the local artists. Alongside the exhibitions, the Biennale will offer a rich programme of talks, seminars, screenings, music, workshops and educational activities for children. More than 80 artists from 35 countries together with 40 artists from India will display their artwork on different mediums. In the inaugural year, Kochi-Muziris Binnale expects over 8 million visitors from across the globe.

The Biennale will be spread across the geography of Kochi, Muziris and surrounding islands. The talents of the artists will on display in existing galleries and halls, and site-specific installations in public spaces, heritage buildings and disused structures. The event will be set up over 260,000 square feet obtained through an arrangement with the local Government, businesses and private land owners. Prominent amongst the locations are the Durbar Hall, David Hall, Aspinwall House, Kochi Parade Ground and Mattancherry Bazaar Road.

Durbar Hall, which is being transformed into museum gallery of international standards, is one of the primary venues. The renovation work of Durbar undertaken by the Biennale Foundation has gifted Kochi with a world class exhibition space equipped with all modern technological amenities. Aspinwall House, a marvelous heritage building in Fort Kochi will host exhibitions and seminars during the festival. The David Hall, a Dutch bungalow will host the exhibitions and the beautiful gardens surrounding the building will be used for seminars and workshops. Cochin Club, Parade ground and other public places will be utilised to install sculpture works and to conduct a variety of people oriented cultural events and outdoor functions.

The biennale celebration will highlight the rich cultural heritage and the historic significance of Kochi and the ancient port of Muziris. It will etch Kochi on the cultural map of the world and also propel the ever vibrant and cosmopolitan Kochi to emerge as a cultural hub of India. The event would be conducted once every two years and the organizers anticipate that it would provide the much needed fillip to traditional art work from Kerala and India. 'The Kochi Muziris Biennale' is the only destination in India mentioned in the '13 cultural events to be seen' by Forbes and it has also found mention in various other acclaimed magazines and tourism lists world over. Apart from promoting cultural tourism and a sustainable platform for contemporary art, this cultural treat envisages to open a new path of social cohesion and cultural integrity.

For info:
Kochi Biennale Foundation
1/1903, Kunnumpuram
Fort Kochi PO, Kerala 682001, India
T: +91 484 2215297, F: +91 484 2215287
info@kochimuzirisbiennale.org
www.kochimuzirisbiennale.org

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