The 4th edition of the Kochi–Muziris Biennale, South Asia’s biggest art festival concluded on 29th March 2019 at Fort Kochi. Stretching for almost four months from the first week of December 2018 to end of March 2019, this extraordinary art bonanza attracted creative artists and the general public alike from within India and abroad. Curated by Delhi based artist Anita Dube around the politically loaded theme of “Possibilities of a non-aligned life”, the show featured installation works of 100 artists from 36 countries. The art works on display made use of a wide variety of media to convey their messages. The art works stood out not only for their uniformly high quality of aesthetics, but even for their innovative constructions and underlying thought provoking themes. In the words of the organizers, the Biennale is a “happy conjecture of organized chaos, diverse identities and contrasting perspectives for a unified purpose – art, where unabashed expression leads to the liberation of thought and stimulation of consciousness.” What added to the grandeur of the Biennale were the ancillary events like Students Biennale, Srinagar Biennale and several big and small art and painting exhibitions, and stage shows of performing arts planned around Biennale. These art shows happened all around the city of Kochi giving the “Queen of the Arabian sea” an unusual aesthetic appeal for the tourists.
100 Jailed Poets
This profoundly moving installation by the Mumbai based artist Shilpa Gupta features 100 speaking microphones that are hung over a 100 metal spikes which illuminate poems on paper written by 100 poets who were jailed over the years for their free expression. The microphones recite the poets’ work in a synchronized chorus.
A nearly three decade labour of love by the UK based artist Lubna Chawdhary, this installation features a thousand ceramic toy like sculptures in a variety of designs and shapes, laid out in what looks like a giant-sized anthropological display. Whichever angle one looks at the display, it provides a new perspective.
This stunning creation by Song Dong from China draws inspiration from the childhood memories of his father who had encouraged him to practice his handwriting without wasting ink and paper. This interactive glass installation invites the viewer to do the same with brush pens. It is a meditation on the impermanence and alienation that we are steeped in.
Winter in Tembisa
This creative display of photographs by Santu Mofokeng, one of South Africa’s celebrated anti-apartheid photographers, highlight different landscapes in townships, framed in relation to ownership, power, ecological effects and memory.
As ode to the poor mosquito, this multi-media installation by the Brazilian artist Vivian Caccuri, features a mosquito net, chimes and speakers that emit the sound of mosquitos mating. The play is on the theme of why mosquito noise causes such distress in tropical countries. The artist believes that the fear of mosquitos was instilled in us by our colonial masters in another era. Before their arrival, the natives and indigenous people were never really bothered about mosquito or its bite.
More Sweetly Play the Dance
A video installation with eight giant synchronised screens that feature a long cast of refugees in silhouette, walking and dancing across the screen to the music of a brass band, carrying a variety of human belongings. The emaciated ones are on IV drips, while some are being lugged in body bags.
Credit : mansworldindia.com