KMB 2016 Receives Around 20,000 Visitors During Free Entry on Monday

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Kochi: The first in a series of free entry Mondays at the ongoing third edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) saw a record one-day turnout of around 20,000 people.

Winding queues of visitors, including several families with young children, at Aspinwall House stretched out into the street between 11 am and 5 pm. In order to accommodate everyone waiting to get in, the Biennale kept its doors open until after the scheduled closing time.

“The record crowd at the Biennale is a reflection of its reputation as the ‘People’s Biennale’. Besides providing a boost to art and culture, it has revitalised the State’s economy and tourism sector, which had been on a downward spiral due to demonetisation,” said Kadakampally Surendran, State Tourism Minister.

The scene inside the Biennale’s primary venue mirrored that at its gates with long lines at the artworks. Slovenian artist Aleš Šteger’s installation ‘Pyramid of Exiled Poets’ proved especially popular with people standing in line for almost an hour to enter the structure.

“I thought P K Sadanandan’s mural based on an interesting piece of mythology was wonderful. I had seen something similar when I was visiting temples in Kerala, but the scale of the work and the pains he is taking to stay true to his vision as an artist is extraordinary,” said David Cartu, an Israeli tourist.

Other big draws on the day were Lundahl & Seitl’s performance-based work, ‘Symphony of a Missing Room: The Mnemosyne Revolution’; Camille Norment’s sound installation ‘Prime’ and Wu-Tien Chang’s illusive video exhibit ‘Farewell, Spring and Autumn Pavilions’.

For families, there was fun to be had putting together graphic artist Orijit Sen’s jigsaw exhibit ‘Going PlayCes’, taking in the Art by Children exhibition, buying collectibles from the Biennale shop. The cafe at Aspinwall House was kept busy as well.

“I think it is a wonderful initiative by the Biennale to have free entry on Mondays. I would not have been able to afford to bring my whole family otherwise. It is a good idea that makes the internationally renowned art event open to more people,” said Riyadh Ali, from Kochi.

On an earlier visit to the Biennale, K Mohammed Y Safirulla, Ernakulam District Collector, highlighted that the works had inspired him to think about ordinary things in different ways.

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