The city is all set for the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, the three-month cultural extravaganza that Chief Minister Oommen Chandy will inaugurate on December 12.

Beginning with the Venice Biennale in 1895, the grand spectacle of art has been held over 150 cities around the world. This is for the first time that it is getting an Indian edition.

Former Kochi Mayor K.J. Sohan, who currently heads the Corporation’s Standing Committee on Town Planning, said the Biennale would be a tool for reviving and reinventing the ethos of old Kochi and its predecessor Muziris, the ancient seaport that was the gateway for trade with as many as 39 countries.

Kochi can regain much of its vibrancy in the wake of the event, he said, noting that ancient buildings of heritage value were being restored to their pristine grandeur as the venues for the event.

The Kochi Corporation is a key supporter of the event and has already declared Kochi as a ‘Biennale City’.

Union Minister for Food and Civil Supplies K.V. Thomas pointed out that the Biennale should be turned into an unqualified success. It will give an international branding to the city, he said.

Close to 90 artistes, half of them from abroad, will exhibit their work through visual art mediums including painting, sculpture, indoor and outdoor installations, film, digital media and performance art.

Jose Dominic, who is a trustee of the Kochi Biennale Foundation, is of the view that the Biennale will be an Olympics of art. It offers tremendous opportunities for investment in culture. The Better Kochi Response Group, an umbrella body of business magnates and socially active professionals, said that the Biennale is expected to boost the State’s economy. It must happen every two years as the name suggests, S.Gopakumar, head of the organisation, said.

sajeevkumar.v@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on November 25, 2012)
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