After a four-year hiatus, Kochi-Muziris Biennale opens on December 12

The exhibition at Dutch Warehouse, one of the main venues of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, will take art lovers back to the bygone era, bringing to the table the historic region of Muziris, an ancient port town somewhere north of Kochi believed to have been a hub of commercial activity. 

The fifth edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, called off in 2020 owing to the pandemic, will get under way on Monday. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will inaugurate the international festival of contemporary art at Fort Kochi parade ground at 6 p.m.

Titled ‘In Our Veins Flow Ink and Fire’, the art potpourri featuring about 200 major art projects done by 90 artists from different countries will be on show across 14 venues in Fort Kochi, Mattancherry and Ernakulam, till April 10 next year. Parallel to the main event curated by Singapore-based artist Shubigi Rao will be invited exhibitions, Students’ Biennale, and Art by Children programmes which will run through the length of the main biennale.

State ministers K.N. Balagopal, P. Rajeeve, V.N. Vasavan, P.A. Mohamed Riyas, and K. Rajan, Kochi Mayor M. Anilkumar, Hibi Eden, MP, legislators K.J. Maxi, K.N. Unnikrishnan, and T.J. Vinod, Kochi Biennale Foundation patron M.A. Yusuff Ali and Foundation adviser and former culture minister M.A. Baby will attend the inaugural.

Kashi Art Café, one of the venues of Kochi-Muziris Biennale.

Kashi Art Café, one of the venues of Kochi-Muziris Biennale.

In the 10th year of its inception, the biennale’s focus has changed largely from site-specific installations to audio and video projects, thanks to the pandemic that posed multiple challenges to artists and art administrators. However, large installations and sculptures are not entirely a thing of the past, as visitors are greeted to Aspinwall House, a prime venue of the event, by a large work titled ‘Improvise’ done by Asim Waqif using bamboo, coir and screwpine leaves. The over 20-ft-high installation comprises musical instruments made of bamboo and even light-emitting objects, full with a swinging cradle.

‘Improvise’, an installation by Asim Waqif, getting ready at Aspinwall House, a key venue of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale.

‘Improvise’, an installation by Asim Waqif, getting ready at Aspinwall House, a key venue of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale.

Entry fee to the biennale is ₹150 for adults, ₹100 for senior citizens, and ₹50 for children. A full-week’s ticket is worth ₹1,000 while a ticket with a month-long-validity comes at ₹4,000.

As in the previous editions, West Kochi will be the hub of the biennale with works displayed besides Aspinwall House, at Pepper House, Cabral Yard, TKM Warehouse, Dutch Warehouse, Kashi Art Café, Kashi Town House, David Hall, and Anand Warehouse.

Pepper House

Pepper House

The Durbar Hall Art Gallery in Ernakulam will display around 150 art works by 34 artists from Kerala curated by Gigi Scaria, P.S. Jalaja, and Radha Gomati. They say the exhibition captures the fact that the changes in global contemporary art get reflected in Kerala as well.

The exhibitions at Kashi Art Café and Dutch Warehouse will take art lovers back to the bygone era, bringing to the table the historic region of Muziris, an ancient port town somewhere north of Kochi believed to have been a hub of commercial activity.

The temporary pavilion, raised using scrap materials, at Cabral Yard will host seminars, discussions, cinematic art, and performances. It has a seating capacity of 150 people.

Young talents from 60 art institutions across the country will display their works at the Students’ Biennale at Arman Building, VKL Warehouse, KVN Arcades, and Trivandrum Warehouse.


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