Published on : Tuesday, February 5, 2019
The idea for the Kochi-Muziris Biennale came from a meeting that was organized in 2010 with Malayali artists living and working in Mumbai. The Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) offers people the opportunity to see original, international contemporary art practices, however, it is also an attempt to educate and develop a kind of consciousness that would make people, particularly children, proud of their culture. The late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru envisioned infrastructure building for culture, initiating the various councils like Lalit Kala Akademi.
The first International Triennial was set up by critic and writer Mulk Raj Anand and like-minded artists. However, just after a couple of editions, it soon shut down. There were also other attempts later, including in 2005, to start a biennale, but they never took off.
Kochi was the ideal place for it, as it had a couple of art galleries. Through ancient trade in Kochi and Mattancherry, and before that in the legendary port of Muziris, the city had a history of multi-culturalism, and a cosmopolitan nature that needed to be developed. The city’s name is very important in a biennale, as it becomes the distinguishing factor, like Venice, Liverpool, São Paulo, Sharjah Biennial or the Biennale of Sydney.
In January, International Biennale Association hosted its annual general meeting and symposium in Kochi. That was indeed a great opportunity for the city. Kochi has become an important junction of site of learning in the art route and map.