KMB 2016 Gets Underway; CM Moots a Permanent Venue for the Biennale

Kochi: Noting that the lack of a permanent venue for the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) was a serious issue, Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala Chief Minister, said that the State Government would implement a project to provide a home to India’s only Biennale.

Speaking at the inauguration of the KMB’s third edition the other day at Parade Ground at Fort Kochi here, the Chief Minister said that the Biennale had gained significant credibility in the international contemporary art world and the government was looking to develop it along the lines of the Venice Biennale.

“The ancient history of Kochi is marked with adventure and the idea to organise the Biennale here tells us that there is adventure in its present too. Just as the Biennale created history in Kochi, a permanent venue for the Biennale will also create history,” he said.

“Already, the LDF Government has allocated a sum of Rs. 7.5 crore in its budget to organise the Biennale. This is the highest ever funding allotted to an art event by a State Government in India,” Vijayan said, pointing out that the concept for the Biennale was announced in 2010 – during the tenure of the previous Left Government, which had sanctioned the first disbursement of funds towards the event’s operational expenses.

The Chief Minister termed the Biennale a gateway between Kerala and the world through which the diverse expressions of international art and culture move freely and are brought together under one umbrella. He also called Kochi the perfect place to host the Biennale owing to its rich cosmopolitan heritage and multi-layered cultural tapestry.

“Though the Biennale is primarily an art event, it has economic and social benefits too. It has energised the tourism sector. The statistics show that lakhs of cultural enthusiasts surged to Kochi from around the different corners of the world to view the first two editions. Both Kochi and Kerala benefit from this influx,” he said.

Kadakampally Surendran, State Tourism Minister, also spoke on the occasion.

“The Biennale has become a pilgrimage site for art lovers around the globe and it has become a space for artists from Kerala to interact with foreign artists,” Surendran said.

K J Maxy MLA; M A Baby, former Education Minister; Soumini Jain, Kochi Mayor; Nalini Netto IAS, Additional Chief Secretary (Home); Dr. Venu V IAS, Principal Secretary (Tourism) and Mohammed Y Safirulla K IAS, Ernakulam District Collector were also present.

Yousuffali M A, Lulu Group founder and Managing Director, and a committed long-term patron of the Biennale, pledged Rs. two crore to the next edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale on the occasion.

Sudarshan Shetty, Curator, KMB 2016 outlined his artistic vision for the Biennale. Bose Krishnamachari, President, Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF) proposed a vote of thanks while Riyas Komu, Secretary, KBF delivered the welcome speech.

“In a time of ideological and cultural upheavals, the Biennale is an inspirational force. The stories that the KMB tells us instill a sense of pride in culture and stokes our creativity,” Komu said.

Manju Sara Rajan, CEO, KBF was present as were a host of KBF Trustees and Patrons.

Prior to the inaugural function, a ‘chenda melam’ of 150 percussionists led by Peruvanam Kuttan Marar welcomed the dignitaries and the public to the venue. Following the ceremony, there was a concert by noted singer Suman Sridhar and The Black Mamba.