‘Biennale helped Kerala imbibe culture of art appreciation’: writer Sethu

Kochi, March 5: For its showcase of artworks ranging from traditional mural paintings to a variety of contemporary forms, renowned Malayalam writer Sethu described the ongoing third edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) as a comprehensive art festival.

“Though from an ancient tradition, artist P.K. Sadanandan’s wall painting has relevance in the present context as well. The characters in the Parayi Peta Panthiru Kulam mythology can be seen in the light of today’s world and the story can be interpreted in different ways. Even though it is a contemporary art show, the Biennale has integrated traditional styles as well as modern audio-video installations,” Sethu said, after a tour of Aspinwall House recently.

The Kendra Sahitya Akademi winning writer also highlighted the pivotal role played by the Biennale in building a culture of art appreciation in Kerala. “Ever since Raja Ravi Varma, Keralites have been talking a lot about art, but no one really accepted it as a culture. The Biennale helped us imbibe the culture of art and its appreciation,” he added.

Sethu also lauded curator Sudarshan Shetty’s inclusion of literary works in KMB 2016. “Sergio Chejfec’s work ‘Dissemination of a novel’ is a strong statement that writers don’t need a pen and paper to publish a novel. Just space can be more than enough. These are all new perspectives and sights for us,” he said.

For noted documentarian and filmmaker Nishtha Jain, the Biennale – unlike other art fairs and galleries – transforms its spaces. The director of the documentary Gulabi Gang (2012) made her second visit to India’s only Biennale over the weekend.

“Here, it is really about the spaces. I have been to the last edition as well. So I know how the artist-curator in the previous edition used it and how it has been transformed into a new space with Sudarshan’s perspective. It attracts a wide range of people, several times more diverse than the galleries,” she said.


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