Biennale needs to be replicated across the country’: Pranab Mukherjee

Honourable President of India made maiden visit to Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2016 on Thursday

Press Release

‘Biennale needs to be replicated across the country’: Pranab Mukherjee

Honourable President of India made maiden visit to Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2016 on Thursday

Kochi, March 02: Noting that the Kochi Biennale Foundation was a good example of what is possible when different agencies come together to pursue profound goals, the Honourable President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee said here today that the Biennale model needed to be replicated across the country.

“The collaborative nature of the partnership between the government and the KBF, and the very successful result of that partnership, is proof of what can be achieved when a government invests in culture. Public funding for the arts provides support, offers certainty and the opportunity to touch the lives of vast numbers of people,” the President said.

“Public funds have the power to act as seed funding, giving others the confidence to invest in the creation and innovation of cultural organisations like the Kochi Biennale Foundation which, along with the Kerala government, is providing cultural stewardship and playing host to global artistic ideas on our own ground. When you partner that with innovative ideas and a unique point of view, the results can be staggering and beautiful,” he added.

The President was speaking at the inauguration of a KBF seminar, organised in collaboration with the tourism department, titled ‘Importance of Sustainable Culture-building’ at the Pavilion in Cabral Yard, Fort Kochi, on Thursday.

The event was attended by Honourable Governor of Kerala Justice P. Sathasivam, Honourable Chief Minister of Kerala Shri Pinarayi Vijayan, Kochi Corporation Mayor Smt. Soumini Jain, Honourable Minister for Tourism Shri Kadakampally Surendan, Prof. K.V. Thomas MP and Shri K.J. Maxi MLA.

 “Contemporary art is one of the most significant ways of expressing thoughts, emotions, concerns and ideas that are current, that are relevant to us in the time we live in. The fact that Kerala, this land of history and tradition, now hosts the largest show of contemporary art in the region, and that too a show that was seeded by government, speaks to the unique ways of this state and its people,” the President said, in his inaugural address.

“Kerala has always been known for its secular approach towards art and culture. The Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) is a proud symbol of this approach and the sense of oneness and inclusivity that exists here. The KMB, which is today known as the People’s Biennale, has become an integral part of the cultural calendar of our country. It has rejuvenated Kerala’s longstanding contribution to visual arts and culture, and cemented Kochi’s status as a cosmopolitan city brimming with potential and ideas,” he added.

Observing that the Biennale had “transformed ‘God’s Own Country’ into a paradise of the world of art”, the Governor said, “Besides being a place for the convergence of contemporary art, the KMB is a laudable attempt to sustain the peaceful co-existence that has always marked Kerala society and culture.”

In his address, the Chief Minister reiterated the state government’s resolve and commitment – previously articulated at the KMB 2016 opening ceremony – to finding India’s only Biennale a permanent venue in the state.

“Both inside and outside the state, the Biennale is a symbol for freedom of artistic expression. It represents the fair face of Kerala’s art scene to the outside world and enhances not only the glory of Kochi’s cosmopolitan heritage but that of the state as well. The increase in the number of visitors with each edition bears this out,” Shri Vijayan said.

Delivering the welcome address, Minister for Tourism Shri Surendran said the “Biennale was “not only an important art platform, but also a vital entity to tourism in Kerala. It has became an important indicator that interest in the state has surged”.

KBF President Bose Krishnamachari delivered the vote of thanks at the ceremony, which saw in attendance a host of dignitaries including Kerala Tourism Principal Secretary Dr Venu V. and former minister M.A. Baby, among others.

KBF Secretary Riyas Komu presented a memento to the President during the function.



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