Kochi: In yet another gesture which proves that a mega space like the Kochi-Muziris Biennale is inclusive of art practices and artists of all statures, the Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF) has tied-up with cancer support charity, 'Canserve', to host an exhibition of paintings by cancer patients and survivors. The programme has been designed in the backdrop of the World Cancer Day which falls on February 4.
The seven-day exhibition at Fort Kochi’s Cochin Club, which features works by about 25 young and old people who have battled cancer, was inaugurated on Thursday by film director Major Ravi.
He said meeting cancer patients is a humbling and elevating experience, and one is forced to put aside one’s anger, pride and greed.
“I used to visit hospital patients with my son on his birthday every year,” said the former Army-man. “I think it has served to make him an empathetic human being. I offer a pat on the back and a hand of support to anyone who works to spread happiness among cancer patients.”
A number of pictures at the exhibition are works by children who had underwent treatment at the oncology ward of the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences in Ernakulam. “Some of the patients, and particularly the parents, who come to our oncology ward are very fearful, so while the children are waiting for their radiation therapy, we get them to draw and paint,” said Dr M Dinesh.
“Today, leukemia is 90 per cent curable in the early stages, so an important aspect is to build a child’s strength of mind.”
Some of the paintings convey these fears, but hearteningly, most are bright depictions. Sara Mammen, a cancer survivor and one of the artists displayed, is thrilled that she has received this opportunity under the biennale banner.
“Cancer makes you aware of your mortality, and then you feel that you want to do things without wasting any more time,” said the 74-year-old. “My early pictures are themed around fear, but my later ones are not.”
KMB ’14 director of programmes Riyas Komu said it is wonderful to see art being used to heal. “We are proud to join hands with the Kochi-based Canserve, which is undertaking this noble venture for cancer patients,” he said. “It is a small gesture that we hope will spread happiness and relief among them.”
The exhibition is open to the public from 10am to 6pm until January 28.