‘Biennale has enriched my understanding of art and India’: Aruna Roy

Social activist was among a number of high-profile persons to visit KMB 2016 over the weekend

Kochi, Feb 06: A host of notables conducted visits to the third edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) over the weekend. They praised the Biennale for reviving the city’s urban spaces and for actively engaging with the public.

For renowned social activist Aruna Roy, the Biennale was “a great space that combines many things India is struggling to place back in the centre of priority”. The Magsaysay award winner visited on Saturday and said that “art and culture” were coming under threat around the world.

“Art is a strain of culture that we are losing rapidly. The Biennale allows spaces of tolerance and freedom of expression for perspectives different from ours and discovering extraordinary new languages in terms of visual arts and other forms of artistic expression,” Roy said.

“The Biennale is important to India in a critical sense in that it is an intersection of politics, culture and art. There is a wide range of narratives at the Biennale, from very personal to highly political artworks. KMB has enriched my understanding of art and India,” she added.

Following a visit to Aspinwall House on Sunday, leading economist and member of the 14th Finance Commission Dr Sudipto Mundle said he was “totally overwhelmed by the Biennale and wondered if anything like this exists elsewhere in India”.

“The location of the Biennale with different historic sites, including colonial era warehouses, being put to use and converted into a space to hold an art experience is a wonderful example of recycling unused city spaces. It facilitates the expression of artistic vision from across the country and the world in one space,” said Dr Mundle, who was on his first visit here.

After three visits to the Biennale, Principal Secretary (Revenue) Mr P.H. Kurian said, he had gained a better appreciation for art. “When you allow your imagination to open up, art is no longer just paintings, photographs, installations and sounds,” Mr Kurian said.

“I have been to art museums and fairs during my travels, but this is a place where it all comes together in my own surroundings. As an ordinary person, this is an extraordinary opportunity to see art from around the world. At both the government and personal level, I have been supporting the Biennale for the past three to four years,” he added.


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