Pranab Mukherjee Makes First-ever Presidential Visit to Biennale

Kochi: Making the maiden visit by a sitting Indian head of state to the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB), Pranab Mukherjee, the President of India, the other day  viewed the diverse array of artistic production on display at the third edition of India’s only Biennale.

After inaugurating a seminar at Cabral Yard, the President undertook a guided tour of the primary venue, Aspinwall House, accompanied by Sudarshan Shetty, Curator, KMB 2016.  P Sathasivam, the Governor of Kerala; Pinarayi Vijayan, State   Chief Minister; Kadakampally Surendran, State Tourism Minister and Soumini Jain, Mayor, Kochi Corporation were also present on the occasion.

The President first visited the epic mural ‘12 stories (of the 12 Progeny)’ being worked on by participating artist P K Sadanandan. Taking an interest in the 15-metre-long and three-metre-wide wall painting, he listened attentively as the master muralist explained the story behind each panel of the artwork as well as his exclusive use of natural colours.

After looking over the space for theatre practitioner Anamika Haksar’s stage production ‘Composition on water’ and visiting artist Gauri Gill’s photo exhibition ‘Traces’, the President listened in silence as Shetty explained the intent behind Chilean poet-revolutionary Raúl Zurita’s installation ‘Sea of Pain’.

The group, together with Bose Krishnamachari and Riyas Komu, KMB co-founders, concluded the tour with a visit to American artist Camille Norment’s sound art installation ‘Prime’.

Sharing a bench – equipped with exciters that generate vibrations in sync with sounds played over loudspeakers – with Pinarayi Vijayan, the President looked out over the sea. Others in the group, including the Governor and Surendran, shared the experience as well.

Earlier, the President, who arrived at the Cochin Navy Airport, was welcomed by the Governor, the Chief Minister, the Mayor and, the Tourism Minister part from   Ramesh Chennithala, the Opposition leader; Oommen Chandy, former Chief Minister; Loknath Behera IPS, State Police Chief and Bonny Thomas, Kochi Biennale Foundation Trustee.