Festive Sunday wraps up first week of excitement and discovery at third edition of Biennale
Kochi, Dec 18: Winding queues and a festive air were defining features at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) today as the public came to its Biennale in strength. Visitors to several venues in Fort Kochi and Mattancherry were greeted by lines stretching into the street to secure entry.
With the ‘Opening Week’ programmes drawing to a close on Sunday, the Biennale saw more than 30,000 visitors – the figure tallying ticketed and non-ticketed entries, programmes and events across venues – attend. The individual performances drew crowds that averaged about 300 visitors daily through the week.
Much as they did for the final showing of Anamika Haksar’s theatre production ‘Composition on Water’ on Saturday, crowds swelled to catch the Zuleikha Chaudhuri’s play ‘Auditioning the Plaintiff (Kumar Ramendra Narayan Roy); Rehearsing the Witness: The Bhawal Court Case’.
Visits to David Hall also had the opportunity to catch danseuse Padmini Chettur’s three-hour performance ‘Varnam’, which was also in its final run. Among those watching the show was Mohiniyattam student Akshara Soman who hoped to pick up a few pointers.
For families, there was learning to be had putting together graphic artist Orijit Sen’s jigsaw exhibit on Mapusa Market in Goa, taking in the Art by Children exhibition, buying collectibles from the Biennale shop. The cafes located at Aspinwall House and Cabral Yard were kept busy.
More sober experiences were to had in treading water at Chilean poet-revolutionary Raúl Zurita’s ‘Sea of Pain’, walking through Slovenian essayist Aleš Šteger’s ‘Pyramid of Exiled Poets’ or even taking in an erudite lecture by eminent Malayalam litterateur Anand.
“I was glad to be able to hear one of my favourite authors Anand voice his thoughts. And to meet the great cartoonist E.P. Unny was another high point. To think I almost didn’t come here today!” said Paul Mathew Varkey, a student at Sacred Heart College, Thevara.
The excitement continued into the evening as a number of visitors chose to stay back in Fort Kochi instead of getting caught up in the traffic snarls and mass of people at the boat jetty – all looking to head into the city for the football game.
The long evening commute wasn’t for Reji Kuriakose. The cinephile had ridden the train in from Thiruvananthapuram on Friday to catch the selections in the ‘Artist’s Cinema’ programme screened this past week at the Biennale Pavilion in Cabral Yard: Cinema Travellers by Shirley Abraham and Amit Madheshiya on Friday and Stephen Page’s Spear on Sunday.
“The Artist’s Cinema films are the perfect cure for my post-IFFK (International Film Festival of Kerala) hangover. I saw Cinema Travellers just a few hours after catching the morning show in Thiruvananthapuram. Tonight, I will give the match a miss for Spear before heading back,” Kuriakose said.
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