The Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2012
, the largest international contemporary art event ever to take place in India, is underway thanks to collaboration between artists, Government, private art patrons and international cultural organisations.
Artists traveled to Kochi, Kerala, from across India and the globe to conduct research, select spaces and develop proposals for site-specific projects. Artists from Australia, Afghanistan, UAE, South Korea, Argentina, Netherlands, UK, and all over India have worked on projects for exhibition at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2012 which opened to the public on December 12.
Artists who are presenting new commissions include Sudarshan Shetty (India), Sanchayan Ghosh (India), Subodh Gupta (India), Hossein Valamanesh (Iran/Australia), Ariel Hassan (Argentina), Amanullah Mojadidi (Afghanistan), Anita Dube (India), Tallur LN (India), Vivan Sundaram (India), Sheela Gowda (India), Joseph Semah (Netherlands), Nalini Malani (India), Atul Dodiya (India), UBIK (Dubai), Rigo 23 (Portugal), Jonas Staal (Netherlands) and performing artist M.I.A (UK).
The inaugural Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2012 has been granted use of over 260,000 square feet of mixed-use space by local Government, businesses and private land owners.
Primary Biennale venues include the 150-year-old Durbar Hall in downtown Kochi, recently renovated by the Kochi Biennale Foundation, and David Hall, a restored Dutch bungalow in Fort Kochi. Spice warehouses, heritage structures, theatres, halls and public spaces are also on the map of this city-wide festival of art.
Aspinwall House is a large disused trading compound which contains a wide variety of structures including offices, warehouses and a residential bungalow totalling 160,000 sq ft of exhibition and event space. The use of Aspinwall House has been donated to Kochi-Muziris Biennale by DLF Limited in association with the Gujral Foundation.
Pepper House is a historic spice trading godown with Dutch-style clay roofs and a large courtyard, once used to store goods for loading onto ships anchored in Kochi harbour. Pepper House provides Kochi-Muziris Biennale with 16,000 sq ft of exhibition space and artist residency studios.
Kochi-Muziris Biennales aim is to establish an enduring platform for contemporary art in India. In support of that aim, Government, businesses and land owners have granted use of all venues free of cost to the Biennale, a not-for-profit event. Value in-kind of over Rs 6 crore (approximately 1.1 million USD) in event space only makes Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2012 a cultural project of significant scale for India.
These grand heritage properties are located on the Kochi harbour waterfront and have never been open to the public. Now work is on track to make them ready to host exhibitions of contemporary visual art from around the world, symposiums and educational workshops.