Art upholds diversity, resists monolithic forces, says CM Pinarayi at Kochi-Muziris Biennale launch

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurates the fifth edition of Kochi-Muziris Biennale on Monday. Photo: Manorama

Kochi: The Kochi-Muziris Biennale gives strength to the resistance against the moves to impose regressive ideas of monolithism, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said here on Monday. The chief minister highlighted the political dimension of the mega art event as he launched its fifth edition here after it had been stalled for four years since the Covid pandemic.

“These are times when different forces are trying to impose regressive ideas like ‘one race, one language and one attire’ by crushing pluralism. The political dimension of Biennale is that it gives strength to the resistance against such moves through its representations of cultural diversity,” Vijayan said. “These art fests show us how diverse our world is. They include cultural diversities also. They share with us art works of different lands, their historical as well as personal experience,” he said.

On the artistic side of the event, the chief minister said beyond being a mere means of entertainment, art is looked upon as a means of consoling grieving people and expressing solidarity with them. “The thought of art as a compassion is being discussed nowadays. I hope the artworks in this event will reflect such thoughts,” he said.

A person in the audience captures the inaugural function of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale at Fort Kochi on Monday. Photo: Manorama

Hailing the Kochi Muziris Biennale for growing up to international stature, the chief minister said the state government allotted a monetary aid of Rs 7 crore for the event as a recognition of its growth. “It’s one of the biggest sums given to any cultural event in the country,” he said.

“The government is trying to accelerate social progress by making effective intervention in cultural sphere,” the chief minister said listing out the schemes for the promotion of arts and culture.

In his introductory remarks, Kochi Biennale Foundation President Bose Krishnamachari said over the years the event has evolved to be a ‘people’s biennale’. Recollecting the origins of the biennial event, a first in the country, Krishnamachari said “it was more of a dream and a hope to bring the best of international artists to the doorsteps of Kerala.

State Finance Minister K N Balagopal, Tourism Minister P A Muhammed Riyas, Industries Minister P Rajeev, Hibi Eden MP, MLAs K J Maxi, T J Vinod and K N Unnikrishnan and Kochi Mayor Anil Kumar were among the dignitories who attended the event. French Ambassador to India Emmanuel Lenain, Coast Guard Commander N Ravi, Lulu Financial Group MD and Kochi Biennale Foundation trustee Adeeb Ahamed also attended.

Though the event was officially inaugurated, it will be opened to public on December 23 only. Student's Biennale will open as scheduled on December 13.

Singapore-based artist Shubigi Rao is curating the current edition of the event. Themed ‘In our veins flow ink and fire’, the biennale will showcase more than 200 main artworks of 90 artists from about 40 different countries, across the 14 venues, until April 10, 2023.

Children's Biennale would also be featured as part of the 2022 edition of the art potpourri, besides cultural programmes and performances.

This is the 10th anniversary of the Biennale, the biennial international art festival. The international art exhibition is expected to revive the tourism sector of Kochi and the whole of Kerala.

Biennale Art would be exhibited at Darbar Hall Art Gallery, besides the venues at Fort Kochi and Mattanchery. The works of artists from Kerala would only be showcased at Darbar Hall.

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