Kochi, March 29: Describing the Kochi-Muziris Biennale as a rallying point against intolerance and infringements on freedom of expression, Kerala Culture Minister Shri A.K. Balan said today that the state government understood the value of India’s only Biennale as an agent for change.
“The Biennale, which is the most popular and best attended cultural event in India, is a canvas for humanity, art and learning. The face of Kochi and Kerala has been changed over the past three editions of the Biennale. The government recognises both its cultural and economic -- importance and will provide all support going forward,” Shri Balan said.
The minister was speaking as guest of honour at the closing ceremony of KMB 2016 at Durbar Hall, Ernakulam. The evening function saw the Kochi Biennale Foundation announce renowned contemporary artist Anita Dube as the curator for the fourth edition of the Biennale, beginning December 2018 before fusion rock band Thaikkudam Bridge took centre-stage.
Terming the occasion a “new beginning”, KMB 2016 curator Sudarshan Shetty said, “My vision for the Biennale reflected the flow of conversations before it started, during its run and after its conclusion. Once again I ask, ‘What does it mean to be together in time? To be contemporary.”
It was a conversation the incoming curator Dube said she hoped to continue over the next year and half and take forward into the next edition.
Kochi Mayor Smt. Soumini Jain said the Biennale had “changed perspectives and definitions of art, illustrating how artists perceive the world around them with its diversity of styles: from traditional Kerala mural art to more abstract forms”.
The function also heard former education and culture minister Shri M.A. Baby describe the Biennale as an “organic interaction between artists, cultural personalities, state leadership and a vibrant society”.
Delivering the welcome address, KMB co-founder Riyas Komu said, “Where KMB 2012 marked the birth of a new movement in the history of Indian contemporary art, KMB 2016 reasserted Kochi's position as a site for insights and a place for multiple concerns and perspectives.”
“The Biennale has reasserted itself as a radical force and alternative platform for contemporary art in India," he added.
After proposing thanks to the Biennale’s artists, sponsors, partners, patrons and back-end staff, KMB co-founder Bose Krishnamachari said, “The KMB is a 'People's Biennale – both in terms of its attendance and its engagement with the public. Just as we begin together, we end together.”
Also addressing the gathering were Ernakulam Collector Shri K. Mohammed Y. Safirualla, Ernakulam Sub-Collector Dr. Adeela Abdulla and former Kochi mayor Shri K.J. Sohan. The event also honoured former KBF Trustees Shri Subhas Chandran and Shri Hormis Tharakan.
Prior to the closing, visitors had six hours – from 10 am to 4 pm – on Wednesday to view the more than 100 artworks on display at the Biennale’s 12 venues, which have received more than six lakh footfalls since KMB 2016 got underway 108 days ago on 12/12/16.
The biggest celebration of contemporary art in South Asia, which featured 97 artists from 31 countries, wound up at 4 pm when the Biennale pennant at main venue Aspinwall House in Fort Kochi was ceremonially brought down in the presence of M.A. Baby, curator Sudarshan Shetty, Krishnamachari and Komu, a host of KBF Trustees among others.
Following the function, Thaikkudam Bridge brought their unique genre-bending rock stylings after an opening set by Suraj Mani and The Tattva Trip.
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