Kochi: The Kochi-Muziris Biennale is comparable to London’s Tate gallery, said Catherine Carlton, the mayor of California’s Menlo Park. Ms Carlton, who is in Kochi to sign a friendship agreement between the cities on culture and economic relations, congratulated the organisers for “putting up a world-class exhibition” and offered support on several fronts including to organise a fund-raiser in the heart of the start-up region of Silicon Valley.
“It is wonderful to see that the state government has the vision to be pro-active in setting Kerala up as a global IT hub and at the same time to support this big artistic endeavour,” said Catherine, the administrator of the affluent US city. “We are proud to be working with a government which has the insight to work not only on knowledge projects, but also to put together this amazing collection that inspires people to think out of the box.”
Ms Carlton and former Menlo Park mayor Ray Mueller were given a tour of Aspinwall House by former Kochi mayor K. J. Sohan. They are in Kerala on a state-sponsored six-day visit, ahead of the signing of a twin-city agreement, that aims to build economic, IT, social and cultural collaboration. The signing of the MoU will be done at Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s office on February 11.
“Culturally, the biennale is one of the biggest events for us to showcase,” said Dr Rajan Chedambath, international coordination officer at the Kochi Municipal Corporation. “The delegation is very much impressed by what they have seen here. They say that they will bring more people here. We will now discuss how to take this forward.”
Apart from a fund-raiser, the mayor discussed with biennale organisers an exchange programme for artists between the cities and an educational tie-up with the prestigious Stanford University’s art department.
Kochi Biennale president Bose Krishnamachari said that it was “gratifying to welcome visitors like mayor Carlton, who understands and appreciates this venture”.
Menlo Park, which is home to social networking giant Facebook, already has collaborations with Startup Village. This new agreement will make for a smoother working between the cities.