Kerala village set to host seventh edition of annual national art camp

An artist paints a graffiti heralding the beginning of Ni Fest 7 at Enkakad in Thrissur. Photo: Special arrangement

Thrissur: At a time when Kochi is hosting the state’s biggest art expo, the Kochi Muziris Biennale, a small village in the neighbouring Thrissur district is gearing up to hold a national art camp. Curtains will go up on Ni Fest 7, seventh edition of the annual national art camp and village art fest, at Enkakad, a sleepy village near Wadakkanchery, 21 km from Thrissur, on December 21. The event will be on till December 25.

It is organised by Niracharthu Art and Cultural Society, a village collective founded in 2014 with the objectives of reviving the artistic spirits of the people, grooming next generation artists and building the culture of art appreciation among common men.

The national camp, curated by artist S N Sujith, will have 20 visiting artists. They are Aji V N, Anjaneyulu Gundu, P S Jalaja, Jyothi Basu, Leon K L, Madhav Imartey, Madhu Das, Mahula Ghosh, Parvathi Nayar, Ratheesh T, Reghunadhan K, Santhan Velayudhan, Sarika Mehta, Shahul Hameed, Sharmi Chowdhury, Shyam Sunder, Sudayadas, Sumesh Balakrishnan, Unnikrishnan C and Vinod Balak. Many others from nearby localities will also join the camp.

Niracharthu camps are structured on open avenues in the village, with artists getting the opportunity to choose their place of work anywhere in and around the hamlet. Further, artists are accommodated in the houses within the village, thus providing them an opportunity to have the touch and feel of the village’s local culture and hospitality.

The five-day camp is associated with village art festival with folk and classical art performances that lights up the evenings. “Mizhavil thayampaka”, (instrument percussion) by Kalamandalam team, “Charadu kuthi kolkkali” (folk performance with sticks and threads) by a women’s group from Kannur, Theatre sketches by Thrissur drama team, “Sangeetha Samanwayam” (Musical notes) by Kavalam Sajeevan and team and performances by local artists are the performance art programmes planned as part of Ni fest 7.

BFA students of Raja Ravi Varma College, Mavelikkara, are conducting a print exhibition, based on the theme, “Indian architecture”. A photo exhibition by Renjith Raveendran, Kannur, featuring Theyyams, is also included. Ni fest is dedicated to the fond memories art historian and author the late Vijayakumar Menon who was a mentor of Niracharthu. Malayalam literary stalwart Prof M K Sanu will declare the event open at a function to be held on December 23 evening programme.

Niracharthu has conducted six national camps and village art festivals till 2020. The team regularly conducts programmes including children’s painting workshops, art camps, art exhibitions, portfolio presentations by artists, film festivals and public graffiti. Niracharthu runs an art residency, Nidarsana, in the same village premise where artists from all parts of the country stay and work. Ni talks, an online art presentation series initiated during lockdown times, presented 60 artists and their works, including Sudhir Patwardhan, Rekha Rodwittiya, Shibu Natesan, Aji V N, Bose Krishnamachari, Sunil Gawde, Shakuntala Kulkarni, Arun Kumar H G, Tom Vattakuzhy and T Venkanna.

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