The Kochi-Muziris Biennale is providing a major international platform to lesser-known Indian artists to showcase their work, according to CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury.
On his visit to the main Aspinwall House venue of the festival, the ex-parliamentarian said he was impressed with the mix of foreign and Indian artists at the ongoing fourth edition of the biennale. “I particularly liked Bapi Das’s embroidery work,” he said. “I am really happy to see works by up-and-coming Indian artists.”
Recalling that his association with the biennale dates back to 2010 when the idea of such a pioneering event in the country was proposed. “I was a member of the standing committee which also had the Ministry of Culture under it,” he said. “Since it was a large-scale project, the Centre was involved. People had questions on the feasibility of a biennale and its sustainability in Kerala.”
Today, all such questions have been answered, he added. As for the works at the current biennale, Yechury made a special mention of the work by South African artist William Kentridge. “I have heard about him; this is the first time I got a chance to see his work. I really liked the multi-layered nature of the work which touches upon so many important aspects of South Africa.”
When quizzed about the possibility of the 19th-century Aspinwall becoming a permanent venue of the biennale, he noted that the V S Achuthanandan government (2006-11) had tried to acquire the sprawling sea-facing space, but couldn’t owing to legal complications. “The world over, famous museums are built in spaces that were warehouses. I think Aspinwall is a perfect venue for Biennale,” he added.
Jyotika Kalra of the National Human Rights Commission also praised the biennale for its curatorial theme based on a non-alienated world. “I feel everyone is part of the biennale,” she said.