Kochi: Despite being from Kochi, noted businessman M.A. Yusuff Ali had not visited the Kochi-Muziris Biennale which is on here for over 50 days. Hence, when the younger generation of the UAE royal family and business magnet Lakshmi Mittal, who were impressed by the current edition of the artistic extravaganza, asked him whether he had visited the exhibition, it was a wakeup call for him. And he not only visited Fort Kochi’s Aspinwall House, the main venue of KMB’14, on Friday but also promised to help the organizers in all possible way.
Highly impressed by the programme, the businessman, known for his philanthropy, has offered a sum of Rs50 lakh for this year and Rs1 crore for next year as monetary support to the current edition of the Biennale.
Asked about his favourite work among the ones he visited, he had no doubt to choose Adrian Paci’s The Column a video installation which narrates the voyage of a group of Chinese stone carvers transporting a marble block from China to Europe. “As a businessman, I find the work interesting because the carvers in the video carry out their work even during their journey, saving a lot of time. It’s a very practical model,” he interpreted the work.
Apart from the monetary help, he has also offered the Biennale Foundation with a space in the Bolgatty Convention Centre which is under construction here. He said he would offer some space in the Convention Centre once its work is finished as a venue for the next Kochi Biennale.
Kochi Biennale Foundation president Bose Krishnamachari said: “It is an exemplary contribution from a businessman like Mr. Yusuff Ali who is the pride of India.”
Of the importance of an event like the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Yusuff Ali said: “Kerala has only controversies and it’s not going to help the state grow. It’s the events like the Biennale that help the state to develop.”
He added that not only the government but also the business community should come forward to support such programmes.
Yusuff Ali, who thronged the venue along with his wife Shabira, said that he would bring his friends too for the next edition of the event.