How the Biennale changed a budding artist's life

How the Biennale changed a budding artist's life
Vipin Dhanurdharan (R) with one of his models.

Kochi: The renowned Visva-Bharati University in Shantiniketan remained shut for a talented youth who aspired to study art at the renowned institution founded by Rabindranath Tagore. He dreamt of becoming an artist of great repute after completing his school education and tried in vain twice to gain admission to the art school there. During his third bid, he got a chance to work as a volunteer at the first edition of Kochi-Muziris Biennale in 2012 and that proved to be a game-changer for him.

Vipin Dhanurdharan, who didn’t give up despite the odds, is set to exhibit his art creations in the current edition of Biennale, which opened on Wednesday, after being an employee with it for the last two editions.

“The first biennale was an eye-opener for me and learnt a lot from it,” said Vipin.

The art exhibition encouraged cultural interface and art discourses, and my aim was to interact with noted artists from India and abroad in the first three editions of the Biennale, he noted. And this experience augured well for Vipin, and finally he landed up as an artist in Biennale 2018.

His works for the fourth edition of Biennale take inspiration from the philosophy of social reformer Sahodaran Ayyappan. Vipin puts focus on Sahodaran Ayyappan’s ‘Panthibhoganam’ (communal feast), which was a powerful statement against the crippling caste system that prevailed in Kerala.

Vipin was selected to Biennale 2018 after successfully completing a training programme conducted by the Kochi Biennale Foundation. Eleven artists participated in the training module, known as Mattanchery, and Vipin presented a video documentary by the name of ‘Petrichor’ in which he told the story of canals in and around Mattancherry.

Biennale 2018 curator Anita Dube was full praise for Vipin as his work detailed the sorry state of affairs of the polluted canals, which were once used for taking bath and drinking water, and their social ramifications. Anita has an open mind towards novel artistic ideas, noted Vipin.

After the first Biennale, Vipin continued with the Biennale Foundation and was part of the residency programme of the Fort Kochi Pepper House. Vipin said that he would be returning to the creative side once the exhibition starts.

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