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Hearing and Speech-impaired Students Take in the Spirit of Biennale

In Kochi
March 06, 2019

KOCHI:
Young Solomon Robertin particularly enjoyed the photographs on display at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale; so much so that he wants details of each of them captioned. His campus-mate Vishnu V S, after a round of the main Aspinwall House venue, came out with an off-beat observation regarding installations in wood.

Solomon and Vishnu were among 56 students who visited the fourth edition of the 108-day biennale from the National Institute of Speech and Hearing (NISH) in Thiruvananthauram. As hearing-impaired students pursuing BCom, BSc and BFA degrees, they were accompanied by five teachers as part of a two-day trip to the event being held in 10 venues of Fort Kochi, Mattancherry and Ernakulam.

At the sea-facing Aspinwall, the team was split into five groups and taken around by the biennale’s art mediators. The trained volunteers explained each work to the NISH teachers, who would communicate the matter to the students through sign language. Those with some hearing capacity were served with oral communication as well.

Earlier in the forenoon on Tuesday, artist Bose Krishnamachari, president and co-founder of Kochi Biennale Foundation, gave an introduction about the ongoing festival, while welcoming the NISH students and the faculty members. A few students had hearing aids, while some others were able to speak. The keener in the lot were seen jotting notes about the artworks on display.

The 1997-founded NISH, devoted to the education and rehabilitation of individuals with impairments in speech-language and hearing impairments, is an autonomous organisation located in suburban Sreekariyam of Thiruvananthapuram, 210 km south of Kochi.

Solomon, doing final-year BSc (Computer Science) at NISH, said this was his first brush with the biennale. “I really loved the works, more so the photos” said the youngster, hailing from Thrissur. “But I felt that they should accompanied by the photographer’s name and the place and date of the click.”

Vishnu is also on the verge of completing his graduation, but is a student of Fine Arts. “This is my second biennale; I had come for the previous (2016) one too,” he revealed. “The wooden sculptures are different this time. This time I see more glasswork.”

For Vishnu’s teacher Rakesh P S, this was his third biennale at Kochi — all of with students from NISH. “However, this is for the first time that our students from Bsc and BCom are taking part in the biennale visit,” he informed. “We are pleased that many of them were getting their doubts clarified about the works here. Also, they were able to interpret the works in their own way.”

Another NISH student, Madhur Arora, was from Uttarakhand upcountry. “I have visited many art exhibitions, but this is my first biennale,” said the under-graduate in Fine Arts.