Unable to see, they touch, smell and hear Biennale

Visually challenged visitors at 'Backbone', the work of Shanthamani Muddaiah at Aspinwall House.

Kochi: The Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) 2014 proved yet again today that the contemporary-art festival is for everyone to enjoy, as a group of visually-challenged visitors took a tour of the venues—touching, smelling, hearing and grasping overall the essence of the exhibits.

The Ernakulam-based Society for Rehabilitation of the Visually Challenged brought about ten students who are being equipped with job-oriented computer and English-language skills at the Chavara Cultural Centre. “Most people here are visually challenged when it comes to art, because we do not get the experience of art in our country,” said director of programmes Riyas Komu, introducing them to the works. “You will perhaps get a better feel of it than many others.”

The students, between the ages of 20 and 40, were given a guided tour of the installations at Aspinwall and Pepper House in Fort Kochi.

“It was a wonderful experience,” said Girish Kirti, the visually-challenged admin in-charge of the NGO. “Your eyes make up only one of the senses; we can get a feel of the creativity of the artist through our other senses. The assistance and guidance that KMB’14 volunteers provided also helped a great deal.”

The visitors enjoyed ‘Pythagoras’, the sound and video work of Ho Tzu Nyen, Anish Kapoor’s ‘Descension’ and Shanthamani Muddaiah’s ‘Backbone’, which they were able to “get a feel”, also using their hands.

The members of the 2002-registered NGO are keen to participate in cultural events and felt that the biennale was “not to be missed”. The NGO, which has a skills-development programme at Infopark, also boasts an eight-piece orchestra, which tours the country, a football team and athletes.