Kochi: Deepening its ties with India’s showpiece contemporary art event, the multi-billion-dollar LuLu Group of Companies, owned by internationally known NRI businessman M A Yusuffali, has donated Rs. 2 crore to the fourth edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB), which is scheduled to commence next year-end.
The LuLu Group forged its association with the KMB with a donation of Rs. 50 lakh to the second edition of the Biennale in 2014. Yusuffali, who hails from Nattika in Thrissur district and is the Chairman of Abu Dhabi-headquartered LuLu Group, also donated Rs. 1 crore in 2016 for the third edition of the mega art event. LuLu Group Director Nishad M A and Manager V Peethambaran presented the cheque for Rs. 2 crore to Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF) President Bose Krishnamachari at Ernakulam Press Club. Also present on the occasion were LuLu Group’s Commercial Manager Sadik Kassim and Media Co-ordinator N B Swaraj and KBF Secretary Riyas Komu.
In his message, Yusuffali said, “I appeal that everyone should help, support and promote this international event that is happening in our state and bringing so many visitors and accolades for Kerala and for our country.” “When the Ruler of Sharjah first landed in Kerala, the desire of His Highness was to meet the organisers of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale which is attracting great attention from all over the world. Before leaving Kerala, His Highness made it a point to meet Bose Krishnamachari, the President of KBF. On different occasions, while attending international events, I have personally heard people speak very high of our Biennale. The KBF has truly succeeded in giving our present and future generations an international event to be extremely proud of. Personally and on behalf of our Group, I assure my continued support to this great event happening in my Kerala state,” he added.
Lauding the contribution of LuLu Group, Krishnamachari said, “We are extremely thankful to Yusuffali for reaffirming his faith in the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. It is a salutary example of industry patronising an art event that has made India proud in the cultural firmament.” It would definitely give an impetus to the sustainability of India’s only Biennale that has garnered acclaim from art connoisseurs and commoners alike, he said, adding: “It is also a testament to the KBF’s expertise to hold a front-ranking contemporary art exhibition that has brought huge social and economic benefits for the State.”
Komu, who co-founded the KBF with Krishnamachari and also co-curated the first edition of the Biennale with him, said financial support from the government, industry and people is a prerequisite for holding an event of such magnitude. “The KBF tremendously appreciates the gesture of Yusuffali, who has emerged as a stellar figure for promoting and patronising art and culture. Such a gesture underscores his faith and confidence in the robustness of the Biennale and its emergence as a durable art event of great import,” he noted. “It is a productive bonding between art and commerce,” Krishnamachari added.
Earlier, in March this year, the Kerala government announced that it would sanction a working fund of Rs. 2 crore for the upcoming Biennale and also allocate five acres of land to set up a permanent venue for the KMB in recognition of its impact in popularising art. Anita Dube, a contemporary artist, is to curate the fourth edition of KMB, which begins in December 2018. She takes over from Sudarshan Shetty, who, during his stint as curator of the Biennale’s third edition, got 97 artists from 31 countries to showcase their works.