The Kochi-Muziris Biennale is Back After a Covid Induced Hiatus

Home » The Kochi-Muziris Biennale is Back After a Covid Induced Hiatus
“Ode to Kochi Biennale” by Pangrok Sulap

The pandemic had led to the rescheduling of the 2020 edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale to the dismay of artists and art aficionados around the world. Kerala became one of the worst hit states during the Covid 19 outbreak and went through a turbulent period. Now the pandemic clouds have cleared and the Biennale is back. It is set to begin on the 12th  of December 2022 and will go on till the 10th of April 2022 in the historic city of Kochi, Kerala. While the festival exhibits contemporary art in the form of installations, murals, sculptures and so on, it also serves the larger purpose of disseminating contemporary visual art theory and practice to India. The emphasis on the contemporary and the cosmopolitan in the mission statement of the festival finds its roots in the history of the port of Kochi and the numerous identities it has harboured and continues to harbour.

The Biennale aims to tell the story of the local practices, traditions, art and culture of India that are shaping the idea of what India is. Coexistence and egalitarianism lie at the heart of what the Biennale stands for and the inclusivity it aims to promote that emerge from democratic and liberal belief systems. “All that is required for an impossible ideal to exist is for enough people to live, think, and work as if it already does” writes Shubigi Rao in her curatorial note. This edition of the Biennale is titled, ‘ In Our Veins Flow Ink and Fire’ and will bring together 80 artists.

 

Song Dong, Water Temple Installation view at Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2018 Source: Art Africa

Shubigi Rao, a Mumbai-born Singaporean contemporary artist, is the curator for this year. She successfully embodies the values reflected in the mission statement of the Biennale with her multidisciplinary art projects and writings. Her curatorial note is thought-provoking but also moving because of its emphasis on the collective in a time of deep division and polarization in India. In her own words, she envisions this Biennale to be “a persistent yet unpredictable murmuration in the face of capriciousness and volatility comes from my unshakeable conviction in the power of storytelling as strategy, of transgressive potency of ink, and transformative fire of satire and humour.” The Biennale under Rao’s curatorial gaze seems to hold the promise of not singular but multiple stories reflecting various agencies with embedded geographical, theological and political concerns.

Shubigi Rao, Curator for Kochi Biennale 2022-23 Source: The Hindu

 

Shilpa Gupta, For, In Your Tongue, I Can Not Fit — 100 Jailed Poets, Installation view at Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2018 Source: Art Africa

This edition of the Biennale like its previous editions will be a visual and sensory experience like no other. With December around the corner, it is time to start planning your visit to a thought-provoking trip to Kochi.

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