Kochi: Theatre personality and daughter of actors Shashi Kapoor and Jennifer Kendal, Sanjana Kapoor, commended biennale directors Bose Krishnamachari and Riyas Komu for their “dogged stamina in pulling it off in spite of the financial setbacks. She was visiting with her husband, conservationist Valmik Thapar, and their son.
“Curator Jitish Kallat has made the spaces alive,” said Sanjana, who set up Junoon for greater engagement between people and theatre workers. “It is lovely to walk down the streets and see that the whole area is caught up in the biennale spirit. I wish all Indian cities, or at least the metros, could be like this.”
Curator and art historian Chaitanya Sambrani, who teaches at the Australian National University, came down to Kochi specially for the biennale. “I have seen several art exhibitions in the world, and this has a different gravity to it; it is a very strong show,” said Sambrani, who teaches on Indian, Indonesian, Chinese and Japanese art in the capital city of Canberra.
“The good thing about this biennale is that it has big names, but you can also hear the voices of people who are working in Kerala and India. There are also remarkable projects by young people.”
Sambrani feels that people are engaged at a more complete level here, than anywhere else in the world. “Maybe because people in Kerala have a deeper understanding of politics, cinema and art, the visitors here take the time to read about the exhibits and sit through long video pieces. It is also a very special public here,” noted Sambrani, who curates shows in India.
KMB’14, with 100 main works by 42 Indian and 52 foreign artists, is on across seven venues in Fort Kochi besides in Durbar Hall in Ernakulam. It has already received over 80,000 visitors and has extended opening hours up to 6.30 pm, owing to popular demand.
Commissioner for Rural Development K V Mohankumar IAS, who is also an author and National award-winning filmmaker, felt that “people can imbibe the message of how to break convention, and think and do things differently”. “After visiting the biennale, your thinking goes through an upheaval,” said the civil servant under whose administration Kozhikode came to be known as ‘city of sculptures’. “The works show how artists think differently; how they break the conventions of light, form, shape and scale. People too, could imbibe this message.”
KMB’14, curated by Mumbai-based artist-scholar Jitish, concludes on March 29.